Southern Constellations is a curatorial project that supports the creation of experimental new works at Elsewhere’s museum and connects contemporary art practices in the South.
Funded in-part by the National Endowment for the Arts, the program embeds six fellowship artists into Elsewhere’s artist residency for the production of site-specific projects and participation in dialog on the conditions of experimental art production. It is grounded in Elsewhere’s commitment to promoting local wisdom and regional participation in global contemporary conversations. We aim to forefront the process by which new art objects and practices emerge and the way that art practices guided by local conditions develop new social frontiers.
The 2015 Southern Constellations Fellows are: Regina Agu (Houston, TX), Rachel Debuque (Washington, D.C.), Jana Harper (Nashville, TN), George Jenne (Chapel Hill, NC), Iman Person (Atlanta, GA), and Hong-An Trung (Chapel Hill, NC).
Jina Valentine, an artist and Assistant Professor in the Department of Art at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill is the program’s consulting curator this year. She is working with Elsewhere Program Curator, Jennie Carlisle, to design this year’s program. Valentine has a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University and an MFA at Stanford University. She has had fellowships and residencies at the Santa Fe Art Institute, Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture, Sculpture Space, the Cité International des Arts in Paris, the Women’s Studio Workshop, and the Atlantic Center for the Arts. Her work has been exhibited at the Drawing Center, The Studio Museum in Harlem, Marlborough Gallery, CUE Arts, and the Elizabeth Foundation among others.
Throughout the season Southern Constellations Fellows participate in process talks, exhibitions, member events, public studios, and first friday events that connect audiences directly with artists. The curatorial initiative culminates with an annual convergence event that brings together critical perspectives on experimentation in the South from across the region for an afternoon of focused conversation and intensive collaboration.
Iman Person, Atlanta GA
On site: July 8- August 12
Artist Talk: July 9, 8:30PM
Opening and Reception: August 1, 8PM
Regina Agu, Houston TX
On site: July 8-August 12
Artist Talk: July 9, 8:30PM
Opening and Reception: August 1, 8PM
Rachel Debuque, Washington, D.C.
On site: August 5- August 26
Artist Talk: August 6, 8:30PM
Opening and Reception: August 22, 8PM
Jana Harper, Nashville, TN
On site: August 5- August 23
Artist Talk: August 6, 8:30PM
Opening and Reception: August 22, 8 PM
George Jenne, Chapel Hill, NC
On Site: September 9 – September 30
Artist Talk: September 17, 8:30PM
Opening and Reception: Sept 26, 8:30 PM
Hong-An Truong, Durham, NC
On Site: September 9 – September 30
Artist Talk: September 17, 8:30 PM
Opening and Reception: TBD
About the Artists
Regina Agu lives and works in Houston, TX. Agu was born in Houston and raised in transit throughout Africa and Europe. She is a graduate of Cornell University. Agu’s work has been included in exhibitions, public readings, and performances at New Museum, labotanica, Project Row Houses, University Museum at Texas Southern University, Box 13, and Lawndale Arts Center, among other venues. She is a 2012 Houston Arts Alliance Individual Artist Grant recipient, and received a 2014 The Idea Fund grant for her collaborative project “Friends of Angela Davis Park” in Houston, TX. Agu is a partner at Alabama Song in Houston, TX, and a co-founder of paratext, an independent small press.
Rachel Debuque is currently an Assistant Professor and Foundations Coordinator in the Art department at George Mason University. She has exhibited extensively including, New York, Croatia, and Philadelphia. She was recently awarded to attend the internationally recognized Bemis Center for Contemporary Art’s residency program. Her research spans installation, sculpture, video, and performance. Debuque de-familiarizes space and objects using common decorating design strategies such as pattern, paint, and the arrangement of objects. Her work purposefully plays with two and three-dimensional realms, creating a push/pull in perceptions. Vibrant colors to create directional line patterns that suggest dimensional space and flatten objects with matte paints.
Jana Harper is an interdisciplinary artist whose work explores material transcendence, chance encounters and human willfulness, relationships on both micro and macro scales, and the natural world. Originally Harper was trained as a printmaker, but materially her work takes many forms: drawing, printmaking, artist’s books, sculpture, photography, installation, social practice, and video. She divides her time between teaching, research, and creative activity: working both individually and in collaborative settings. A native of Washington D.C., Harper taught at Washington University in St. Louis for 12 years before moving to Nashville in 2013. She teaches part time in the Vanderbilt Department of Art. Her work has been shown in group and solo shows both Nationally and Internationally and is held in several collections including the Library of Congress, the Sackner Archive for Visual and Concrete Poetry, Proyecto Ace Print Collection, Buenos Aires, Argentina, and the Janet Turner Print Collection at California State University.
George Jenne was born in Richmond Virginia to a father who, at age ten, watched HIS father, Herb, a cold war spy, the buckles of a back brace that curled his spine as a disguise on the days that he left their German flat to insinuate himself into tense exchanges behind the iron curtain. A generation later, Herb, retired from espionage, secretly watched George sculpt his likeness in green clay, over the only armature he could find: a busty female mannequin, painted silver. The uncanny qualities of that facsimile brought George to Jim Henson’s Creature shop in Hollywood where, as a plebe,he was expected to watch all manner of abject videotapes under the gaze of an eight foot tall Big Bird, during lunch. He escaped California for New York, where he made movie props by day and exhibited art by night in spaces such as Exit Art, PS122 and Freight+Volume, trekking weekly to teach at his alma mater, the Rhode Island School of Design. George currently lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where he creates video, sculpture and prose for the sake of fakery, transgression, and a story well told.
Iman Person is a visual artist and sculptor based in the Atlanta area. Her use of natural materials and ritual consciousness, create a hybrid reality between physical space and ethereal realms. Coupled with the concept of authentic nature; she embeds qualities of the feminine, primordial memory and anthropological customs to illustrate lineage and identity within the new, synthetic landscape. In 2010 she received her B.F.A from Georgia State University and has become a fixture both in exhibition spheres and public art arenas. In 2012, she was included in Barbara Archer Gallery’s, “Talent Loves Company”, and named one of the 30 most influential artists in Atlanta. She is a member of the Atlanta based collective, Dashboard Co-Op, is a 2011 Hambidge fellow and is 2013-2014 Walthall fellow.
Hồng-An Trương lives and works in North Carolina and New York. Her interdisciplinary projects examine structures of time, memory, and the production of knowledge by engaging with archival materials, individual and collective narratives, and histories that span cultural and national borders. Experimental collaborations include The Gramsci Project with students at Laguardia Community College, and Acting the Words is Enacting the Worlds with Huong Ngo and participants at EFA Project Space. Her work has been shown at the International Center for Photography, Art in General, Smack Mellon, The Kitchen, New York; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Monte Vista Projects, and Sweeney Art Gallery, University of California, Riverside among others. In 2013 she was recipient of an Art Matters Grant, a Franconia Sculpture Park Jerome Fellowship, and a Socrates Sculpture Park EAF. She will be an artist-in-residence at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in 2015. Truong was a studio art fellow in the Whitney Independent Study Program and is an Asst. Professor in the Art Department at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Nomination + Selection
With Southern Constellations we are building an expanded network of experimental, interdisciplinary art practices. Constellations Fellows are selected through a robust nomination committee composed of over 30 curators, gallerists, collectors, university educators, and artists from across the South. Fellows are selected based on the sophistication of their practice and their potential contribution to the discourse on experimentality in the arts.
In selecting Southern Constellations Fellows we aim for diversity in terms of geographic location, racial identity, and modes of art making.
Nominators this year include:
Devin Balara (Knoxville, TN), Artist
Mark Callahan (Athens, GA), Ideas for Creative Exploration (ICE), UGA, Director
Jennie Carlisle (Greensboro, NC), Elsewhere, Curator, Southern Constellations Admin.
Carol Cole (Greensboro, NC) Artist and Collector
Dean Daderko (Houston, TX), CAM Houston, Curator
Lee Deigaard (New Orleans, LA), Artist
Susannah Darrow (Atlanta, GA), Burnaway Magazine, Director
Xandra Eden (Greensboro, NC) Weatherspoon Art Museum, Curator
Cora Fisher (Winston-Salem, NC), SECCA, Curator
Jana Harper (Nashville, TN), Artist
Wassan Al-Khudhairi (Birmingham, AL), Birmingham Museum of Art, Curator
Nsenga Knight (Durham, NC), Durham, NC
Eric Kocher (Spartanburg, SC), Hub Bub, Director
Pedro Lasch (Durham, NC), Artist
Cary Levine (Chapel Hill, NC) UNC-CH, Art Historian
Beth Malone (Atlanta, GA), Dashboard Co-op, Director
Mary Magsamen (Houston, TX), Aurora Picture Show, Curator + Artist
Guido Maus (Birmingham, AL), Beta Pictoris Gallery, Gallerist and Curator
Greely Myatt (Memphis, TN), Artist
Joey Orr (Atlanta, GA), Artist
Marshall Price (Durham, NC), Nasher Museum of Art, Curator
Rachel Reese (Atlanta, GA), Atlanta Contemporary, Communications Manager
Michael Rooks (Atlanta, GA), The High Museum, Curator
Mark Scala (Nashville, TN), The Frist Center, Curator
Greg Shelnutt (Greenville, SC), Clemson University, Artist
Teka Selman (Durham, NC), Independent Curator
Bob Snead (New Orleans, LA), Press Street, Director
Todd Stewart (Rock Hill, SC), Artist
Ashley Teamer (New Orleans, LA), Artist
Shannon Turner (Atlanta, GA), Alternate Roots, Residency Director
Melissa Vandenberg (Richmond, KY) Eastern Kentucky University, Artist
Jina Valentine (Chapel Hill, NC), UNC-CH, Artist, Southern Constellations Consulting Curator
Izel Vargas (Boynton Beach, FL), Artist
Stephen Vitiello (Richmond, VA), Virginia Commonwealth University, Artist
Martha Whittington (Atlanta, GA), Artist
Stephanie Williams (Harrisonburg, VA), Artist
2014 – Year Two
2014 Southern Constellations Fellows included:
Izel Vargas (Boynton Beach, FL)
Project : Looking for Ghosts
Lee Deigaard (New Orleans, LA)
Project : Horses at the Museum
Stacy Lynn Waddell (Chapel Hill, NC)
Project : Leukerbad
The 2014 program culminated with a convergence held at Elsewhere in November.
See more : Convergence 2014 : Neighbors and Networks
2013 – Year One
The Consulting Curator for year one was Kinsey Katchka, an independent curator based in Raleigh, North Carolina who specializes in global contemporary arts and visual culture. Katchka was recently a Guest Curator at Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art for the production of the exhibition Lalla Essaydi: Revisions (2012). Other notable exhibitions include Far from Home (2008) and Julie Mehretu: City Sitings (2007-9), both for the North Carolina Museum of Art.
2013 Southern Constellations Fellows included:
Nick Szuberla of Appalshop (Whitesville, KY)
Project: Appalshop Goes Elsewhere
Melissa Vandenberg (Richmond, KY)
Project: Sew to Speak
Joey Orr + Wesley Chenault of John Q (Atlanta, GA)
Project: Untitled (Books)
Andrew Raffo Dewar (Tuscaloosa, AL)
Project: Material Music
Jillian Mayer (Miami, FL)
The 2013 program culminated with a convergence held at Elsewhere in November that raised questions about the nature and value of experimentation in the arts, as well as its formation within a Southern context. The convergence included a discussion and workshop lead by 2013 fellows Joey Orr (John Q), Melissa Vandenberg, and 2013 consulting curator Kinsey Katchka to reflect on the current constellation of southern artists.
Regional exhibitions, conferences, network gatherings, and publications serve as opportunities to share the work of Southern Constellations Fellows’ work and further program participation both regionally and nationally.
In 2014, the Southern Constellations program was featured at the 9/50 Summit, held at the Atlanta Contemporary in Georgia (June 20-22), at the Alliance for Artist Communities Conference (October 20-23), in Charleston, SC, and at Smith Gallery at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC (November).
January 27, 2015, “Visiting with Stacy Lynn Waddell at Elsewhere in Greensboro“, Burnaway.org
January 9, 2015, “Tenor Ren Barbera Ethnomusicologist, Andrew_Raffo-Dewar, and the New Winston Museum“, WFDD.org
December 19, 2014, “Life comes full circle for Hillerbrand & Magsamen“, Houston Chronicle
November 3, 2014, “Smith Gallery presents Southern Constellations“, Appalachian State University
June 28, 2014, “Lanzan campaña para aumentar el voto latino“, La Noticia
March 13, 2014, “Meet the Artist: Composer, Saxophonist, Educator Andrew Raffo Dewar“, WFDD.org
July 18, 2013, “Elsewhere’s Southern Constellations Artist-in-Residency Invites Audience to Become Performers“, WFDD.org
July, 19, 2013, “Triad Arts Weekend“, WFDD.org
July 24, 2013, “Race and Region Crop up Subly in Nikita Gale’s Work”, Yes! Weekly