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Priyanka Dasgupta, “pairi-daêza”, February 15 – April 15, 2015

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single channel video installation (silent)
5’23” (loop)
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pairi-daêza, or ‘paradise’ as we know it today, signifies a place of harmony and contentment, removed from the miseries and suffering of human strife. Across cultures and religions, the word evokes a state of bliss, an utopia. A literal translation of this word however, means ‘to build a wall around’, where pairi translates to ‘around’ and daêza, from diz, to ‘build (a wall)’. This video, in its presentation of an apparent paradise, draws attention to this dichotomy – leaving the viewer with an oasis, that is ultimately just a mirage; an ephemeral, digital image.

Indian born artist, Priyanka Dasgupta’s installations comprise of multiple­channel video and sound pieces, interspersed with large­scale flat sculptures, reminiscent of shadow puppets. The work results from her transcultural identity and the conflicts that arise from this situation. Combining digital and traditional media, Priyanka works across disciplines, making use of multiple, visual language systems to layer the c​ross­​cultural dialogue that is implicit in the themes she explores.

Priyanka is the recipient of an N​EA g​rant (2004). She has participated in the T​ransparent Studio​residency at Bose Pacia (2012), A​ljira Emerge with Creative Capital​(2007) and the AIM Program​(2005), in New York. Priyanka’s installations have been exhibited in the US, Europe and Asia, including the Queens Museum, International Center of Photography, Jersey City Museum, Galleria di Piazza San Marco, the British Film Institute, Lalit Kala Akademi, and Seoul Art Space. Her work has been reviewed by publications including the New York Times, the Times of India, Art India and Take on Art.

Priyanka has a Masters in Studio Art from New York University & the International Center of Photography, and a Bachelors in English Literature from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi, India. She lives in New York, and teaches Contemporary Art and Media at New York University and City College. Priyanka is represented by Shrine Empire Gallery in New Delhi.

http://www.priyankadasgupta.com

Faculty Projects #5, Gautam Kansara, “Wearing Through News”, February 15, 2014 – April 15, 2015

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“Wearing Through News” is an ongoing project that focuses on “important” headlines on the front-page of the New York Times. The importance of a story or headline is usually delineated by the font size. In this project I have focused on headlines that are of the utmost importance according to the editors, in that the font is large and all the letters are capitalized. Such large, capital, bold-faced headlines used to be, in years past, quite a rare occurrence. However, in recent history, as the pace of world events has accelaerated, so has the appearance of these headlines. In 2014 there were more than 10, while in 2001 there were only 2.

The headlines are transferred to T-shirts through the analog photographic process of Cyanotype, which is in fact one of the earliest photographic processes, first discovered in 1842. The process involves a liquid emulsion, which means one can paint it onto almost any surface, like cloth, paper, wood, metal, etc. After applying the emulsion and letting it dry, a contact print process is used to transfer the image to the clothing. The article is then exposed to direct sunlight for about 20-30 minutes. Cyanotype is a UV sensitive emulsion, so the sun is all one needs. After exposing, the article is then simply washed with water in order to develop the image.

In “Wearing Through News” the T-shirts have also been toned with various types and strengths of tea, a common toning agent, to deepen and separate the color. In addition these particular images have gone through an extreme bleaching process that has weakened the fabric. The cotton and the polyester have begun to separate, which means that through wearing and washing the images of the headlines will deteriorate and flake off over time, a reference to the temporary nature of any news story as it rises and falls within the confines of the 48-hour news cycle.

Gautam Kansara (b. 1979, London) is an artist and educator based in Brooklyn, New York. Gautam’s video and photographic work is part of prestigious private collections including The Burger Collection, Hong Kong, The Shreya and Swapan Seth Collection, New Delhi, and the Permanent Collection of the Center for Book Arts, New York City. Since 2002 his work has been featured internationally in numerous exhibitions and screenings, including Alongside the Poison Dartz, Secret Project Robot: Institute for the Living Arts, Brooklyn, NY (2014); Faculty, National Academy Museum, New York City (2013); This is familiar, but I can’t remember now…, Dumbo Arts Festival, Brooklyn, NY (2012); Multiple, Unique, Limited: Selections from the Permanent Collection at The Center for Book Arts in New York City (2011); A Place of Their Own at BMB Gallery in Bombay (2010); No Soul For Sale at X-Initiative in New York City (2009), us between us at Real Art Ways in Hartford, CT (2008); Rencontres Internationales at the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid (2008); We Will Always Be There For You at Kunsthaus Dresden (2008); TV Dinners at LMAK Projects, New York City (2007); AIM 26 at The Bronx Museum of the Arts in New York City (2006). Gautam has been an artist-in-residence at Smack Mellon, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Swing Space, and the Center for Book Arts, all in New York City. Gautam is faculty at Manhattan College’s Visual and Performing Arts Department, and a adjunct professor at New York University’s Department of Art and Art Professions.

Faculty Projects #4: Gautam Kansara, excerpts from “Save As…”, November 2014 – February 2015

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In the video Save As…(Sculps #4) footage drawn from Kansara’s family life and social life vie for visibility. Each scene is repeatedly fragmented and rebuilt during a kind of tabletop performance, a back and forth of dominating elements. Throughout the process some sense of wholeness is restored to the imagery but it’s no longer the original, it’s not in it’s initial form. It’s been re-made through projection, performance and collage, through materials that include editions of the New York Times, mail/letters, flour, bleach, water, paper, glass, photographs, wood, film, and videos.

The impulse behind Kansara’s work is elusive. The imagery he has created is documentary based, a diaristic mix of memories that is both deliberate and arbitrary. More important than the images themselves is what becomes of them, the process of how they are altered, reconfigured, and overwritten. Put through formal and conceptual changes, the images are distressed, broken apart, reassembled, and rephotographed. Through an arsenal of analog transforming devices, maneuvers, and gestures the imagery as well as the soundtrack is continually fractured and repaired. Shapes that once indicated emptiness become architectural. Narratives are buried within noisescapes. Figures become tangles of line but still manage to emerge.

Untitled(Bleached, Erased, Forgot) consists of 12 bleached C-prints arranged in a partial grid. The images – analog color darkroom prints made by the artist – have been bleached to the point of erasure with only slight traces of the original photographs remaining. This act of destroying a previously made art object is double edged: it is violent, reckless, and sad, yet also an act of re-creation. Ultimately, Kansara positions this as a prism of actively forgetting, highlighting the transient nature of memory, of lived experience.

Daily life is increasingly mediated by recording devices that augment, replace, and alter how we experience events. The tendency to view and record live events through our cameras or phones is so ubiquitous that there is an inevitable negotiation between the experienced and the recorded reality in memory formation. Michael Specter, in his May 2014 New Yorker article, “Partial Recall”, tells us that “until memories are fixed, they are fragile and easily destroyed. It takes a few hours for new experiences to complete the biochemical and electrical process that transforms them from short-term to long-term memories. Over time, they become stronger and less vulnerable to interference. That process is referred to as consolidation by the psychologist Elizabeth Loftus from the University of California at Irvine.”

Elizabeth Phelps and Joseph LeDoux from New York University – according to Specter “among the nation’s leading investigators of the neural systems involved in memory” – posit that for memories to be recollected, the pathways in the brain in which the memory originated must be retraced, and that this act of recall actually changes the memory, a process scientists refer to as reconsolidation. Loftus expresses this with the analogy that “memory works a little bit like a Wikipedia page, you can go in there and change it, but so can other people”.

Specter says of the experiment by Karim Nader, conducted at LeDoux’s lab at New York University, that “Nader had demonstrated that the very act of remembering something makes it vulnerable to change. Like a text recalled from a computer’s hard drive, each memory was subject to editing. Whether the changes are slight or extensive, the new document is never quite the same as the original.”

Digital media and apps like Instagram have brought us into an era of memory profusion, where the sheer quantity of images leads to a devaluing of the past’s hold on the present. Terabytes of digital memories make us care less, as the archive comes to supersede the actual event until ultimately the recordings alter our memories of the events themselves, which are reduced to viewing experiences, where the narrative is open-ended and ripe for a remake.

The works as a whole exposes the malleability and fugitive quality of memory, which modern media saturation accentuates. Our memories are now viewed through a lens that can be re-focused, as well as stored in a document that can be overwritten through the mechanism of Save As…. Kansara’s video and photographic processes mirror the activity of our neural pathways and synapses through which recollections are constantly saving, updating, and transforming along the way. Tinkering with our memories happens while brushing our teeth. The telephone game with ourselves, past, present, and future.

Gautam Kansara (b. 1979, London) is an artist and educator based in Brooklyn, New York. Gautam’s video and photographic work is part of prestigious private collections including The Burger Collection, Hong Kong, The Shreya and Swapan Seth Collection, New Delhi, and the Permanent Collection of the Center for Book Arts, New York City. Since 2002 his work has been featured internationally in numerous exhibitions and screenings, including Alongside the Poison Dartz, Secret Project Robot: Institute for the Living Arts, Brooklyn, NY (2014); Faculty, National Academy Museum, New York City (2013); This is familiar, but I can’t remember now…, Dumbo Arts Festival, Brooklyn, NY (2012); Multiple, Unique, Limited: Selections from the Permanent Collection at The Center for Book Arts in New York City (2011); A Place of Their Own at BMB Gallery in Bombay (2010); No Soul For Sale at X-Initiative in New York City (2009), us between us at Real Art Ways in Hartford, CT (2008); Rencontres Internationales at the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid (2008); We Will Always Be There For You at Kunsthaus Dresden (2008); TV Dinners at LMAK Projects, New York City (2007); AIM 26 at The Bronx Museum of the Arts in New York City (2006). Gautam has been an artist-in-residence at Smack Mellon, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Swing Space, and the Center for Book Arts, all in New York City. Gautam is faculty at Manhattan College’s Visual and Performing Arts Department, and a adjunct professor at New York University’s Department of Art and Art Professions.

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Alumni Projects #1: Mastaana Eraifej, The River Runs Black In Jordan, August 2014 – October 2014

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Mastanna Eraifej presents a series of digital prints that began as small-scale charcoal drawings. The images are presented as diptychs that pair an enlarged reproduction of the original drawings alongside impressions the drawing left on the opposite page of the drawing pad. These remnants of the drawing process imbues the work with a sense of time and decay, and let’s the viewer know that the imagery was constantly changing, even slowly disappearing before being permanently captured through digital photography.

“My artwork is a refection of the distinct relationships I share with men and women. My work engages nude figures in unconventional settings in order to highlight the distinct and often blurred definitions of intimacy and violence that exist between men and women when they are physically vulnerable to one another. The figures are depicted in compressed charcoal surrounded by an intense black. The sinister yet intimate setting created portrays the characters as defenseless, fleshy, and exposed, yet unharmed and as willing to participants.”

Mastanna Eraifej recently graduated from Manhattan College (Class of 2014) with a B.S. in Biology. She currently works at the VA Medical Center as a Research Coordinator and continues to work on research focused on parasites at Manhattan College. Mastanna plans on continuing her education in science and to also pursue a master’s degree in public health. She lives in Westchester, New York and uses her dad’s office as a painting and drawing studio.

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Karla Carballar, It’s the kind of story I often told about myself, March 20 – May 20, 2014

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The act of looking.
Even more, the act of observing.
The awareness of the present, light, temporality.
A ray of sun filtered through the tree outside the window and hitting a cracking wall.
A small, unassuming plant that’s growing again.
The fortunate combination of colors.
Wind, water, the everyday alive, mundane, unique.

Karla Carballar was born in Mexico City. Her work in video, photography and installation has been exhibited in the US, Mexico, Asia and Europe, including Ex Teresa Arte Actual Museum, Mexico City; Today Art Museum, Beijing; Luigi Pecci Center for Contemporary Art, Prato, Italy; Goliath Visual Space, New York City; MC Gallery, New York City; Jamaica Center for the Arts, New York City, and Dukwon Gallery, Seoul. She has participated in the Bienal de Yucatan, Mexico; and the Encuentro Nacional de Arte Joven, a year traveling exhibition around Mexico.

Karla Carballar holds a Master of Arts from the New York University, and a Bachelor in Graphic Design and Photography form Universidad Intercontinental in Mexico City. She is part of the multidisciplinary art group Lydian Junction.

She is an adjunct professor at The New York University and The National Academy.

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Faculty Studio #1: Gautam Kansara and Art 212-01, December 2013 – March 2014

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Faculty Studio is an ongoing collaboration between Professor Gautam Kansara and Manhattan College’s digital photography classes. In the last decade collaborative art practices have been catapulted  into the mainstream.  Teaming up and joining forces have proved to be integral to innovative cultural production, where skills and ideas are traded and nurtured within a collective. Faculty Studio aims to engage students with the professional art practice of their professor, ascribing to a philosophy of learning through practice. Elements from Professor Kansara’s studio have been temporarily relocated to the gallery space within Manhattan College’s Department of Visual and Performing Arts. In effect Kansara’s practice has been transferred to the college and opened to the academic community  à la an artist-in-residence. Using the classroom as a forum to create and develop works that utilize the visual and conceptual underpinnings of Kansara’s work, the students become active participants as they are instructed and familiarized with their professor’s practice.

Kansara’s current body of work addresses the changing nature of memory. As daily life becomes increasingly mediated by recording devices that augment, replace, and alter how events are experienced, the veracity of memory becomes malleable. The tendency to view live events through our cameras or phones is so ubiquitous that there is a negotiation between the way one remembers events in their own mind, and how these events are represented through various recorded media. The imagery goes through several iterations, first captured by a video camera, then corrected on a computer, then projected onto paper and re-photographed, pointing to memory as being increasingly fugitive, viewed through a lens that can be re-focused and overwritten.

“Artistic collaboration raises interesting and crucial questions about the nature of authorship and authenticity that inevitably disrupts the persistent and popular image of the artist as a ‘heroic’ solitary figure. Common to most collaborative practices is an implicit critique of the idea of the artist as a figure that stands outside of society engaged in an internal singular dialogue.”
-Mark Dunhill & Tamiko O’Brien, 2005
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Faculty Projects #3: Jacob Roesch, September 2013 – December 2013

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My work deals with the subtle relationship between imagined, perceptual and optically based occurrences. Fragments of the perceived world are explored in my paintings, teasing out the insignificant moments of beauty and chance that are encountered in daily life. These circumstances of beauty are often found in unlikely moments or locations and serve as a reminder of the precious and unexpected happenings of life. A constant struggle between reality and translation happens in my paintings; the process of their creation often becomes an exercise in allowing the material and action create instances which influence their outcome. These instances of minutia are meditative passages for me that can be carefully examined, revered and interpreted through material and surface.

Jacob Roesch is an artist and educator living and working in the tristate area. He received his BA in biology and fine arts from Hope College in Holland MI, MFA in painting from The Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester NY, and Ed.M in the college teaching of fine arts at Teachers College, Columbia University in New York, NY. He has taught courses in painting, drawing, contemporary art history and design at a variety of schools including Teachers College, Kean University and Long Island University CW Post. He is currently teaching digital drawing and graphic design at Manhattan College, and spends the remainder of his time in freelance design and illustration, painting and restoring his 130 year old house with his wife and dog Fergus.

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