Caitlin Albritton (MFAST ’18) reflects on her residency at the Golden Foundation

What would you do with an endless supply of paint at your disposal?

Anything and everything is possible when you have materials at your hand, which is why the Sam and Adele Golden Foundation is such a unique artist-in-residence program. Being able to spend four weeks immersed in paint really opened the doors to testing out the possibilities of acrylics (as well as oils and watercolors).

Our large studio and living spaces were located in a big red barn just across the road from their paint factory, so our first week was spent taking various 2-hour long tech classes to go over materials. For instance, there was a Grounds and Mediums tech, a Pouring tech, a Watercolor tech, as well as some extra classes on varnishing and archival practices.

After coming straight from the MFAST summer courses (where I spent most of my time working on video and other projects) to paint paradise, it was sort of shocking, relieving, and needed to go from conversations about concept and theory to conversations about beauty, materiality, and image-making. While I love being able to push my own notions of what art can be, I truly missed painting and the power images and textures have.

In the past having worked with sculpted oil paint with drying oils mixed in, my main goal of this residency was to find a way to translate the same qualities of oil paint that I love (the buttery consistency, the elasticity it has when you sculpt semi-dry paint, and the way it dries the same thickness when applied) to acrylics. But acrylics are not oils: they dry darker and thinner than when applied and have a certain plastic feel to them.

The first few weeks comprised of a lot of utter failure. It was a bit disheartening to see things take shape in the other two artist’s studios as there was no “proof” of work in mine, but I kept chugging along. I made many tests that turned into nothing, but I made it my goal to test out every single acrylic medium that Golden makes (and even many custom products too, which I didn’t even know they did). Eventually, all of the failures came together and I finally found a few solutions to my problem of converting my sculpted oil paint process over to acrylic paint, and now the possibilities seem endless! Not only does the paint dry so much faster so I can work faster, I’m loving not leaving behind a big oily mess or being consumed by oil paint fumes.

I will say that I’ve never worked with such a sense of urgency before, working usually until 3 a.m. each morning, then waking up before eight to keep the good mojo going. Though I didn’t make as many finished pieces as the other artists, I felt that I really got the most out of my time there. It seemed like it would be a waste of a residency NOT to be a mad scientist with these materials and try everything possible. I can make finished paintings anytime, but it’s not every day that you get the chance to screw around with a gallon of light molding paste just to see what would happen.

Having a solid studio practice at home is important, but it’s also good to consider how residencies have the potential to impact your practice in ways you can’t even imagine, whether it’s meeting and talking with artists, being inspired by the new landscape, or experimenting with new materials. It’s always good to find ways to shake things up in your studio practice, and the Golden Foundation definitely did that for me.

-Caitlin Albritton

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FreeSpace Collective’s exhibition and residency featured on BmoreArt

City of Ghosts is an exhibition that represents the culmination of a year-long residency at Washington DC’s Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library.  Billy Friebele (MFAST ’08) and Mike Iacovone (MFAST ’09), founders of Freespace Collective, have collaborated on a series of artworks that use technologies available in the library’s digital fabrication lab to explore the areas surrounding the library and Flashpoint Gallery.

Visit BmoreArt to read the feature story and interviews with the artists. For more information on the exhibition visit culturaldc.org.

MFAST alumnus Jason Andrew Bowles Opens Residency in Ohio

Jason Andrew Bowles (MFAST 2012) and his wife Tricia Bowles have established the Open Wabi Artist Residency Program, located in a 100-year-old 80,000 sq. ft. factory in rural central Ohio. This unique residency provides an opportunity to work in an industrial space on a rural 20-acre property. Located in Fredericktown, the Open Wabi residency includes studios, unique spaces for installation, modest living facilities, and the opportunity for collaboration and critique with visiting artists and critics. For more information or to apply, visit https://openwabi.com.

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MFAST students and recent alumni awarded residencies in 2016

Congratulations to the following MFAST students and recent alumni who have received residencies in 2016:

Caitlin Albritton (MFAST ’18), Sam and Adele Golden Foundation Residency, August-September

Damon Arhos (MFAST ’17), Vermont Studio Center, February

Suzy Kopf (MFAST ’16), Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, January-February; Pyramid Atlantic, Denbo Fellowship, March

Joy Moore (MFAST ’14), Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, January-April

MFAST alumnus Fritz Horstman (’11) completes a residency in Onishi, Japan

This summer, Fritz Horstman (MFAST ’11) participated in a unique residency in Japan. He describes his experience below:

After years of running the residency program of the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, I was excited to be granted a three-month leave to pursue residency opportunities elsewhere. Needing a change, I looked for residencies in environments very different from rural Connecticut, where the Albers Foundation is located. I was accepted into various programs, but I decided that the mountains of Japan were the most appealing.

In August and September, I participated as an artist-in-residence at Shiro Oni Studios in Onishi, Japan.  In my time there I made drawings, prints, sculpture, photographs, video, and sound projects that explore the seam where human consciousness comes up against, and bleeds into nature. I have always worked on many fronts simultaneously, and consider this investigation to be part of an “atlas,” complicating it and enriching it.

Shiro Oni was started by Kjell Hahn, an American who moved to Japan fifteen years ago to pursue a career in teaching. An artist himself, Hahn eventually set aside his teaching to explore remote ceramic studios in Japan and then, with the encouragement of a resident of Onishi, decided to found the residency program. Hahn’s intent was to create a place for artists to focus on their work, build connections with other Japanese and foreign artists, and experience rural Japan while reenergizing the struggling town of Onishi.

The facilities at Shiro Oni include two houses with private rooms for residents,  shared kitchens, a wood shop, and ceramic studio.  In addition, there are a number of empty storefronts and houses in the town of Onishi that serve as studios.  In my session there were artists from Japan, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Austria, Germany, and the US.  English was our common language.  Everyone was committed to their practice, though there was no common theme to our work. To see examples of the work completed during my residency, visit www.fritzhorstman.com.

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Billy Friebele and Mike Iacovone awarded residency at the Martin Luther King Jr. Library in Washington D.C.

MFAST alumni and faculty Billy Friebele (’08) and Mike Iacovone (’09) have been awarded the “Maker-In-Residence” residency at the Martin Luther King Jr. Library in Washington, DC through August 2016. Along with exploring 3D printing, scanning, laser cutting, and interactive technologies in their residency, Friebele and Iacovone will also host workshops and open studio hours at the MLK Library and the Tenley-Friendship Library. To see their progress, visit: www.mlkmaker.com