Now entering its second year, Southern Constellations is a curatorial initiative that supports the creation of experimental new works at the 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 fore front, on the one hand, the process by which new art objects and practices emerge, and on the other, the way that art practices guided by local conditions develop new social frontiers.
The 2014 Southern Constellations Fellows are: Izel Vargas (Boynton Beach, FL), Hillerbrand + Magsamen (Houston, TX), Martha Whittington (Atlanta, FL), Stacy Lynn Waddell (Chapel Hill, NC), Lee Deigaard (New Orleans, LA), and George Jenne (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 alongside Production Curator, Jennie Carlisle, to design this years program. Valentine has a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University and a MFA at Stanford University. She has had fellowships and residencies at the Santa Fe Art Institute, Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture and the Atlantic Center for the Arts, New Smyrna Beach, FL. Her work has been exhibited at the Fleisher/Ollman Gallery, Philadelphia, PA, Steve Turner Gallery, Los Angeles and the Drawing Center in New York City, 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.
2014 Southern Constellations Fellows
Izel Vargas, Painkiller, 2013, mixed media on panel, 13″ x 13″
Izel Vargas (Boynton Beach, FL)
Izel Vargas was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. A native of Alamo, TX, his upbringing along the US – Mexico border plays an important role in his art making process. Vargas received his BFA in 2004 from the University of Texas – Pan American and his MFA from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill in 2007.
As an arts educator, he has worked with college students, at- risk youth, and taught courses at public art centers to both children and adults. Vargas has been invited to lecture at several notable institutions including Duke University, the Mint Museum in Charlotte, NC, and Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. The artist currently resides in South Florida and teaches courses at Florida Atlantic University.
Onsite : June 11-July 9
Artist Talk: June 12, 8:30pm
New Work Premiere: June 27, 5:30pm
Hillerband + Magsamen, Comfort. 50″ x 60″. polar fleece blankets, printed through Walmart
Hillerbrand + Magsamen (Houston, TX)
Hillerbrand+Magsamen are a collaborative husband and wife visual artist team made up of Stephan Hillerbrand and Mary Magsamen. Based in Houston, Texas their work draws upon the rich Fluxus practice of incorporating humor, performance, video art and everyday objects. Expanding their personal family life into a contemporary art conversation about family dynamics, suburban life and American consumer excess which they call “suburban fluxus”.
Hillerbrand+Magsamen have presented their videos in prestigious international film and media festivals including SCOPE Basel, WAND V Stuttgarter Filmwinter, Taiwan International Video Art Exhibition, New York Underground Film Festival, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Boston Underground Film Festival, LA Freewaves New Media Art Festival.
Their cinematic based installations have been seen in Hong Gah Museum in Taiwan, the Hudson River Museum, Woodstock Center for Photography, Museum of Fine Art Houston, Light Factory Contemporary Museum of Photography and Film, and Houston Center for Photography. They have been awarded grants from Austin Film Society’s Texas Filmmakers’ Production Fund, Ohio Arts Council, Houston Arts Alliance and a Carol Crow Fellowship from the Houston Center for Photography.
They live and work in Houston, TX with their two children Madeleine and Emmett.
Onsite: July 30 – August 13
Artist Talk: July 31, 8:30 pm
New Work Premiere: August 8, 5:30pm
Martha Whittington, deus ex machina performance, 2012
Martha Whittington (Atlanta, GA)
Martha Whittington received her B.F.A. in Sculpture from the Kansas City Art Institute. She received her M.F.A. in Sculpture from Tyler School of Art, where she studied with sculptor Winifred Lutz. Ms. Whittington has been the recipient of artist residencies at the Bemis Center in Omaha Nebraska and the Hambidge Center-Creative Arts in Rabun Gap Georgia. In support of her work, she has been awarded grants from the Museum of Contemporary Art Georgia, Office of Cultural Affairs Atlanta and Austin Green. She has exhibited her work both nationally and internationally with shows at Moot Gallery, Hong Kong, Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville Florida, Museum of Contemporary Art Georgia,and the AMOA-Laguna Gloria Austin Texas. Her work is held in the collections of Jim Leedy of Leedy Voulkos Art Center, Susan Bridges, Museum of Contemporary Art Georgia and Savannah College of Art and Design. Ms. Whittington is a Professor of Foundations Studies at the Savannah College of Art and Design.
Onsite : July 16 – Aug 20
Artist Talk : July 17, 8:30pm
New Work Premiere: August 8, 5:30pm
Stacy Lynn Waddell (Chapel Hill, NC)
Stacy Lynn Waddell creates works that appropriate the power invested in linguistics, historical record and cultural leitmotifs. After earning her MFA from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2007, Waddell’s works and multimedia installations have been on view at the Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke University (NC), the Weatherspoon Art Museum (NC), The North Carolina Museum of Art (NC), The Gibbes Museum of Art (SC), The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PA), Project Row Houses (TX), The Studio Museum in Harlem (NY) and Koplin Del Rio (CA) among other venues.
Waddell’s works are represented in public and private collections across the country. She has been awarded a Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant, an Art Matters Grant and has been in residence at Project Row Houses. Currently, she is participating in When The Stars Begin To Fall: Imagination and the American South that originated at The Studio Museum in Harlem and will travel to the NSU Museum of Art, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. (Fall ’14) and the Institute of Contemporary Art-Boston, MA (Spr ‘15). She resides in Chapel Hill, NC.
Onsite : Oct 1 – 29
Artist Talk : October 2, 8:30pm
New Work Premiere: October 17, 5:30pm
PULSE, multi-channel video installation, side view, Acadiana Center for the Arts, 2013.
Lee Deigaard (New Orleans, LA)
Lee’s work explores animal protagonists and the emotional spaces and physical landscapes where humans and animals co-habitate. Circulatory systems, ecological processes and ideas of flow, immersion, and convergence inform much of her work.
Lee Deigaard graduated from Yale University with a major in fine arts and earned graduate degrees from the University of Michigan School of Art and Design and from the University of Texas at Austin where she held a Michener Fellowship in Creative Writing. In 2012 she won the Clarence John Laughlin Award for her series of nocturnal photographs of animals “Unbidden”. In 2013, she had solo shows of site-specific installations at the Alexandria Museum of Art, the Acadiana Center for the Arts, the University of New Orleans, and the Contemporary Art Center in New Orleans. Her solo show of photography “Trespass” and her video installation “PULSE” were on view at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in 2014. Her work has been featured on National Geographic’s blog PROOF. She is a member of the New Orleans-based artist collective The Front. Some of her curations there include the group shows “PhotoBOMB”, “You Beautiful Bitch”, and “Latin for Crab”.
Onsite : August 6 - 20
Artist Talk : August 7, 8:30pm
New Work Premiere:
Still from Spooky Understands, 2013, HD Video
George Jenne (Chapel Hill, NC)
George Jenne was born in Richmond Virginia to a father who, at age ten, watched George’s grandfather, a cold war spy, thread the buckles of a back brace which 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. George grew up in North Carolina where that same grandfather found him sculpting Grandpa’s clay likeness over the only armature he could find; a large breasted female mannequin, painted silver. The uncanny qualities of that sculpture 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 Big Bird. Then in New York, he made movie props by day and exhibited art by night in spaces such as Exit Art, PS 122, Jack the Pelican Presents, and Freight+Volume, trekking weekly to teach at his alma mater; the Rhode Island School of Design. George creates video and sculpture that examines the essence of his seminal biographic moments – fakery, transgression, and a story well told.
Onsite : August 27 – September 17
Artist Talk : August 28, 8:30pm
New Work Premiere: September 12, 5:30pm
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 based on the sophistication of their practice and their potential contribution to the discourse on experimentality in the arts. Other criteria for selection includes: the types of projects that applicants are involved with, their means of working with materials and conceptual concerns, and their positionality vis-a-vis the South. Southern Constellations Fellows are exceptional artists aligned with Elsewhere’s core conceptual concerns: process orientation, collaboration, critical play, material density, temporality, participation, and the integration of art with everyday life.
In selecting Southern Constellations Fellows we aim for diversity in terms of geographic location, racial identity, and modes of art making.
Invited nominators this year include:
Sam Anderson (Savannah, GA) The Ride Gallery, Director
Sarah Bancroft (Austin, TX) Fluent Collaborative, Assistant Director-Curatorial Affairs
Ragine Basha (Austin, TX), Test Site, Curator
Shana Berger (York, AL), Coleman Art Center, Director
Dan Brawley (Wilmington, NC), Cucalorus Film Festival, Director
Jennie Carlisle (Greensboro, NC), Elsewhere, Curator
Edie Carpenter (Greensboro, NC), GreenHill, Curator
Carol Cole (Greensboro, NC) Artist and Collector
Susannah Darrow (Atlanta, GA), Burnaway Magazine, Director
Anne Dennington (Atlanta, GA), Flux Projects, Director
Andrew Raffo Dewar (Tuscaloosa, AL), University of Alabama, Professor and Musician
Nancy Doll (Greensboro, NC) Weatherspoon Art Museum, Director
Trenton Doyle Hancock (Houston, TX), Artist
Xandra Eden (Greensboro, NC) Weatherspoon Art Museum, Curator
Cora Fisher (Winston-Salem, NC), SECCA, Curator
Nikita Gale (Atlanta, GA), Artist
Brendan Greaves (Chapel Hill, NC), Paradise of Bachelors Record Label, Curator
Stuart Horodner (Atlanta, GA), Atlanta Contemporary, Artistic Director
Kinsey Katchka (Raleigh, NC), Curator
Stacey Kirby (Durham, NC), Artist
Rainey Knudson (Houston, TX), Glass Tire, Director
Cary Levine (Chapel Hill, NC) UNC-CH, Art Historian
Jillian Mayer (Miami, FL), Artist
Ruben Millares (Miami, FL), Artist
Guido Maus (Birmingham, AL), Beta Pictoris Gallery, Gallerist and Curator
Sheryl Oring (Greensboro, NC), UNCG, Artist and Professor
Joey Orr (Atlanta, GA), Artist
Adrienne Outlaw (Nashville, TN), Seed Space, Artist and Program Director
Mark Scala (Nashville, TN), The Frist Center, Curator
Trevor Schoonmaker (Durham, NC), Nasher Museum of Art, Curator
Greg Shelnutt (Greenville, SC), Clemson University, Artist
Teka Selman (Durham, NC), Power Plant Gallery, Duke University, Gallery Director
Jody Servon (Boone, NC), Appalachian State University, Gallery Director
Cameron Shaw (New Orleans, LA), Pelican Bomb, Director
Gab Smith (Raleigh, NC), Raleigh Contemporary Art Museum, Museum Director
Anthony Spinello (Miami, FL), Spinello Projects, Director
Nick Szuberla (Whitesburg, KY), 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
Stephen Vitiello (Richmond, VA), Virginia Commonwealth University, Artist
Stacy Lynn Waddell (Chapel Hill, NC), Artist
Lee Walton (Greensboro, NC), Artist
Nia Wilson (Durham, NC), Spirit House, Artist
Agustina Woodgate (Miami, FL), Artist
Antonia Wright (Miami, FL), Artist
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.
This year, the Southern Constellations program will be featured at the 9/50 Summit, held at the Atlanta Contemporary in Georgia (June 20-22), and the Alliance for Artist Communities Conference (October 20-23), in Charleston, SC.
2013 – Year One
The Southern Constellations curatorial initiative began in the fall of 2012 when the Elsewhere team took a southern tour to eleven art production sites throughout the south to meet with art workers embedded in a wide variety of art spaces and practices–commercial galleries and museums, nonprofit art spaces, and university departments that support the creation of new, risk taking art. Destinations included cities throughout Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, and Texas.
Through this travel, a group of more than 30 nominators composed of southern-based curators, artists, and educators was formed to recommend individuals and artist teams to apply for fellowships at Elsewhere that would continue building support for experimental art practice throughout the region.
The first class of Southern Constellations Fellows came to Elsewhere in 2013. It 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), Project: LifeBox
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.
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.
A catalog presenting the projects created in year one alongside critical reflections by project participants will launch in summer 2014.