Twist and Twine
Paradice Palase

Twist and Twine is Paradice Palase’s second annual summer exhibition, featuring selections of work by guest juror and curator Tiffany Smith. The exhibition features works responding to the theme of ‘roots’, weaving the various personal stories and heritages influencing each artist into a network of conversations surrounding immigration, loss, memory, family structures, personal identity, and the natural landscapes that surround us all.

Featuring artwork from Allison Maria Rodriguez, Angela Zhang, Anika Steppe, Ashley G. Garner, Bev Yockelson, Chellis Baird, Ciara O’Kelly, Dain DeltaDawn, Eva Redamonti, Georgia Hourdas, Gray Swartzel, Irina Rodnikoff, James Reeder, Jen Shepard, Jonathan Lee, Julia Gutman, Katie M. Westmoreland, Keavy Handley-Byrne, Kelley Donahue, Kierra Branker, Lauren Silberman, Leah Harper, Lila Freeman, Mahari Chabwera, Marin Leong, Melissa Eder, Mitchell Reece, Naomi Nakazato, Noémie Jennifer, Rene Gortat, Rina AC Dweck, Savannah Hardman, Seren Morey, and Tricia Townes.

Allison Maria Rodriguez is a first generation Cuban-American interdisciplinary artist that works predominantly in new media. She focuses extensively on climate change, species extinction and the interconnectivity of existence. She merges and blends mediums to create animated fantastical landscapes which serve to represent mental spaces. Rodriguez uses live video, performance, digital animation, photography, drawing, collage, and installation to create new, pictorial spaces for the viewer to explore aesthetically, conceptually and emotionally. She uses art to communicate beyond language, in a way that opens a space of possibility, for the viewer to explore alternate ways of connecting to the emotional realities of others.

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Angela Zhang has been painting things from her grandfather’s Beijing apartment over and over again for the past year. The exercise, always from memory, considers her family through its relationship to ownership. Guided by the character of things, the work wavers—it never quite concerns itself with representing likeness, but never quite escapes its obsession with the fetishistic qualities of owned objects either. Suggestions of forms from magazine cutouts, hollow linguistic signifiers, and spatial memories float in paintings that perform both as object and atmosphere. The work examines the mutable nature of cultural value, trying to find metaphor and meaning in distance

Anika Steppe turns to photography as a means of celebrating slowness, uncertainty, and queer joy. She take pictures to learn, as a process of sincere self-discovery, while also being aware of the romanticism and humor that is imbued in this notion. She emphasizes the contingency and multiplicity of her subjects as a way of addressing our ever-shifting relationship to the world around us. Through her work Steppe aims to create spaces where expectation, awe and disappointment converse, quarrel and make up, never quite settling on how best to confront the ineffable.

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Ashley G. Garner is a photographer and video artist based in Brooklyn, NY. Raised in the countryside of North Carolina and Georgia, her roots were founded in nature and childhood imagination. The work that she creates has developed from a place of personal therapy into work that is now specifically designed to help heal others. Integrating color and art therapy, scientific research, symbolism, and storytelling Garner creates videos and photos that take on different themes exploring how art therapy can lead to physiological, emotional, and mental wellness.

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Beverly “Bev” Yockelson is a nonbinary trans gay artist who currently uses it/he pronouns. Bev is a visual artist and a poet. Its body of work frequently revolves around themes such as Jewish identity + memory, trans bodies, body horror, and technology + transhumanism. Bev holds a BA in creative writing with a minor in film studies from the University of San Francisco, and is currently a graduate student at Maryland Institute College of Art in the Mount Royal School of Art MFA. Bev splits its time between Baltimore, MD and Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Chellis Baird Color is a constant source of inspiration for mixed media artist

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Chellis Baird was raised in a mill town from SC, holds a BFA in textiles from RISD, and studied at the ASL in New York City. The color looming in Baird’s vision is a response to her experiences and acts as a catalyst for each hand woven canvas. Her work blends elements of both sculpture and painting by using painted materials that become the canvas. The woven structure is her base to launch tangled compositions and emotional explorations of color and form.

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 Ciara O’Kelly is an Irish artist living in Brooklyn. Her work takes the form of video and large-scale installations incorporating both digital and physical entities. Throughout her process, she examines the systematic generation of cyberspace, aiming to critique our relationship to corporate bodies within a largely capitalist and digitised world. O’Kelly is interested in the individual’s dual role as a consumer and a product within the system of data capitalism and its free labour nature. She uses 3D modelling programs to create virtual environments to stage videos within, using these grounds to challenge the capabilities of digital forms through curated physical encounters.

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Dain DeltaDawn Spinning, weaving, dyeing, felting, and other ancient forms of construction repeat themselves Dain DeltaDawn’s work through performance, sculpture, video, and images, as familiar but mysterious in a globalized world. They use tutorials, diagrams, and instructional videos as a language meant to initiate an experiencing of the world with new queer eyes. Processing the world through disseminating languages and plainly envisioning the earth through the lens of itchy, woolen aliens is awkward, uncomfortable and perplexing. Their practice inhabits this spirit: ill-fitting incongruences that compose a new, beautiful, mystical world that sat below the surface of our plain one all along.

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Eva Redamonti’s artwork has developed over the years through the influence of life’s day-to-day experiences. Fantasy and imagination are important elements in her work – by combining movement, structure, symmetry and detail, she tries to obscure the lines between cosmic fantasy and reality while creating a three-dimensional space within two-dimensional media.

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Georgia Hourdas views painting as a form of Alchemy. Through painting, images become devices that undergo a process of psychological distillation that are ultimately made real in psychical form. The end result is a view of her internal landscape made into a physical reality. By mixing personal and cultural symbols created with physical medium the viewer is presented both visual pleasure of surface along with an invitation to acknowledge the inner self in relation to symbol.

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Gray Swartzel is a New York based artist who uses lens-based media & installation to navigate lived performativity, intersectional identities, and the real vs. the ideal as they interrogate their queer body in relation to the social construction of motherhood. Working specifically with their biological mother in the American South, Swartzel constructs new realities that toy with connectedness and isolation as well as the poetics of mortality. They hold a BFA and a Minor in Women’s and Gender Studies from UNC-Chapel Hill, an MFA from Carnegie Mellon University, and have shown nationally and internationally.

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Irina Rodnikoff feels a responsibility to address matters our society tends to neglect or deny, including the adverse environmental impact of our own activities. In her work, she seeks to make the viewer aware of the changing conditions of the phase we occupy as it draws to an end, and to ponder the question of whether we are ready to face this transition, or even survive it.

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James Reeder sources photographs from magazines and books to reassemble and re-photograph as objects in the studio. Source imagery includes hands in gestures of labor and artifacts from the history of photography. These reference the ritual of the analogue. Reeder reinforces the paradoxical relationship between substitute and original by building stands and other methods of display which remain visible in the final image.

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Jen Shepard’s paintings and installations are imaginary landscapes. They reference outer-space and aquatic themes while remaining abstract. The installations reimagine my paintings 3-dimensionally. The concept is inspired by discoveries in quantum physics suggesting that reality is multi-dimensional. The “worlds” she creates represent alternative realities. The existence of such realities has not been unequivocally proven, so the constructions are also jokes. The standing 2D objects could be fake, elements of a stage set that collapse when you touch them.

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Jonathan Lee’s work investigates memory’s impact on the creation and analysis of images, objects, and information. The discarded items, documents, and ephemera he utilizes contain secret histories of unknown consequence: a decision, gesture, emotion, or undertaking… a memory or moment with the potential to trigger another. These materials, both mundane and monumental, have the power to reveal things about our past, present, and future; not just because of what they are but who we are. By altering the original form and function of the materials used, Lee explores how visual information is interpreted and renewed through individuals, communities, and systems.

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Julia Gutman Centered around the Decorativas, a species of fictional organisms, Julia Gutman’s practice fuses textiles, sculpture and prose. Together they form a narrative that draws on the collective history of the objects used in their construction, exploring the gendered politics of consumption and ornamentation. The Decorativas embody the contradictions of consumer excess: they are an abject yet alluring mélange of crap, a dated imprecision of grandeur and a tongue-in-cheek impression of the frivolity associated with feminine taste. Rather than individual works to be contemplated, the Decorativas are autonomous individuals that together compose a community; one that values softness, empathy, recreation and care.

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Katie M. Westmoreland is interested in the way pictures form over time, how shadows change shape as leaves blow in the wind, and how we account for the experiential phenomena of such events. Her source material is gathered through extended studies of specific places and chance encounters with forms of dynamic light filtration, such as the alpenglow effect or light and shadows cast upon a sidewalk. She relies on a process of direct tracing and memory to construct artworks. Westmoreland draws from the traditions of psychogeography, the Support/Surface movement, alternative photography, plein air painting, and textile craft.

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Keavy Handley-Byrne’s current work, explores themes of familial flux and its specific iterations that occur as a non-binary trans person. Living with the reality that their relationship to their body is constantly in a fluid state creates a particular, and at times difficult, paradigm. Engaging with this perspective through photographing themself, their fiancée, and working with their combined archive of family photographs, Handley-Byrne explores the important grounding that they find within my their notion of “family.”

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Kelley Donahue asks invisible things to describe themselves to her, and they arrive within her awareness through a semi-realized sensation that she creates and cultivates through (and for) her creative process. Firing clay turns a porous substance into a stable, vitrified object with a permanent molecular arrangement. This transformation is a reflection of manifesting thought-forms from the raw materials of creative energy through intentional manipulation of personal belief. Awareness of how physical matter exists in different states is a catalyst for understanding its connection to non-physical being-ness.

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Kierra Branker is a photographer based in Brooklyn, New York. She photographs the African diaspora aiming to dismantle the monolithic nature of blackness in American media. Her photographs consist of still life and portraits – constructing realities in intimate domestic spaces and creating images that parallel her own experience of the heritage of a distant home. She is interested in the relationship between object and body and how these are activated by one’s history, gesture, and ritual. Her recent project, “Sync”, aims to generate extended representations of the diaspora in American culture, seen through the lens of her Afro-Caribbean background.

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Lauren Silberman’s work examines notions of how the human condition expresses itself as manifest through community, identity, popular tradition and ritual. She cares about life and its celebration, and she sees these through the spaces people make for themselves, the homes they carve out, the rituals and traditions with which they engage, and the selves they present to the world. Finding beauty in disorder is present throughout much of Silberman’s work. It is the after and the in-between that interest her most and it is in those intangible spaces that these conversation happens.

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Leah Harper’s work is based on organic systems and structures, Influenced by her experience in architecture and design, she creates sculptures and installations that explore the balance between nature and the built environment, with a focus on climate change and rising seas, Her goal is to give these issues physical form and presence in order to help the viewer conceptualize and relate to their consequences. She often works in multiples that mimic the forms and ecosystems of living organisms, using organic materials like clay and plaster. She currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

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Lila Freeman’s work explores the nature of human attachment to the world around us, posing questions about the relationships between subject and artist, artist and viewer. She paints and draws from observation, composing arrangements of people and objects in her studio and outside of it. In portraits of strangers, acquaintances, and loved ones, viewers are offered unexpected and even voyeuristic insight into others. Still life images depict objects and settings chosen for both their aesthetic beauty and strangeness, and for their importance in the artist’s personal history. The resulting works can be read as both narratives and symbolic self-portraits.

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Mahari Chabwera didn’t come to earth to face and name reality, she came to create it. Her work is to understand what around her, and what within her, must live – and what must die. Our humanity is invested in our perception of the history of our bodies. Chabwera’s work is to remember that she is limitless: that the whole of the universe is bound within her body. Her work is to demonstrate that she has been breathed upon. In the wake of dense mountains of premeditated misinformation, and an emphasis on biased cannons of white glory and imperialism, this serves to remedy that which attempts to block her sun, her light, her internal abolition.

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Marin Leong journeys to find reflexivity between systems at play in the body and its environment. She is often unsure of where she is, where she exists, and becomes somberly fixated on the idea of existing in an anti-space, somewhere unapologetically undefined. This notion emerges through frequent disruption of landscape and temporality, a never-ending loop with movement too subtle, too slow, to indicate entrance and exit, creating things that contain both length and ephemerality, between video and still. She hopes to offer the viewer whatever space emerges.

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Melissa Eder is interested in documenting and exploring the complexities of issues related to female identity/her identity, popular culture and kitsch. As a visual artist, she creates photo-based works. She makes large-scale still life photos and digitally printed large scale vinyl banners. These works, however, have a twist. The objects used are atypical. Instead of the conventional apples and oranges of Cezanne, she may use junk food, plastic fruit, tchotchkes and items obtained from 99 cents stores.

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Mitchell Reece’s practice as a graphic designer and interdisciplinary artist encompass activism, pop culture media, and design as a means of theoretical expression through the use of typography, public art, screen printing, and reflective objects of choice. Structurally the materials used for his body of work correspond with the subject matter personally, spiritually, and physically to grant an audience insight on society as a whole through communities he chooses to represent.

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Naomi Nakazato’s multi-disciplinary practice is simultaneously a description and inquiry, examining her Japanese-American biracial existence from a western perspective and the fragmentary nature of belonging, location, and memory within a binary frame. The various media and images used are a conflation of sources and residual of a materials-based process, considering diametrically opposing geographies, languages, and selves. Often taking form as shrine-like objects and installations, Nakazato’s work is a practice in understanding Otherness, the failures of understanding, and the practice of rituals in growth.

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Noémie Jennifer When you peel back the layers—of skin, of the earth’s crust—nothing is static. Things are constantly shifting. Noémie Jennifer attempts to represent the imperceptible, the transitory states along the way. To do this, she must get as close or as far away as possible, and often the magnified view begins to resemble the bird’s eye view, the micro replicating the macro. Cells arrange themselves in topographical landscapes; streams seen from above branch out like veins. She layers references to the mind, body, and natural landscape as a reminder that all mirror each other. As you look outward, you gaze inward.

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Rene Gortat’s work reflects on his relationship to family, home, travel, migration, and movement in time and space by counterbalancing the uncertain, uncomfortable, and uncontrollable. Gortat is 28 years old and, on average, moved once a year. This constant movement fostered a sense of adventure but also one of instability. Much of Gortat’s practice focuses on trying to create a sense of control through meticulous and labor intensive projects. Craftsmanship, attention to detail, and the pursuit of perfection are direct translations of Gortat’s understanding of the basic human desire for love and connection.

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Rina AC Dweck’s work is informed by experiences she has had as woman raised in an ethnic and orthodox Jewish enclave. In this community women are expected to play a part, and it is where the definition of beauty has parameters. Her work is imbued with juxtapositions that come as a result of the internal and evolutionary tug of war between her past and present. Dweck’s recent work focuses on hair as a foundational material. There is a conceptual summation attached to hair that is almost automatic in its relation to femininity, identity, and her religion.

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Savannah Hardman (b. 1997 Pittsburgh, PA) is a multimedia artist currently residing in Brooklyn, NY. She is pursuing her BFA in Photography at Pratt Institute with a Minor in Museum and Gallery Practices. Influenced heavily by being raised in a conservative Roman Catholic environment, her work grapples with themes of identity, femininity, and relationships, with a strong interest in the combination of image and text.

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Seren Morey is interested in repetitions of patterns that represent themselves in nature through fractals and other forms such as the networking of branching patterns. Similarities between roots under the surface of trees, the branches above, leaf veins and the veins within the body are strong influences in most of her work. Birth, growth, decay and death are present in imagery that reflects the cyclical and perpetual motion in which all living things participate.

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Tricia Townes is interested in American identities, specifically those associated with the United States. How do we relate to each other as Americans when we have family origins in so many different cultures? What aspects of those cultures survive Americanization and/or are transformed by it? She uses culturally specific designs and patterns to ask those questions in her work. Townes substitutes the red, white, and blue of the U.S. flag in some areas to point the viewer towards these queries.

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PARADICE PALASE is a curatorial project based in Brooklyn, NY. Founded in 2017 by Lauren Hirshfield and Kat Ryals, their mission is to bridge the gap between the for-profit and non-profit art sectors with an artist-first accessible model.

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