2016 Thicket Residents
Petra Kuppers is a disability culture activist, a community performance artist, and a Professor of English and Women’s Studies at the University of Michigan, teaching in performance studies. She also teaches on the low-residency MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts at Goddard College. Her most recent poetry collection, PearlStitch, appeared with Spuyten Duyvil Press (2016). She is the Artistic Director of The Olimpias, an international disability culture collective, and in 2016/7 she was engaged in the Asylum Project, co-led with her partner Stephanie Heit.You can hear about her perspectives on disability arts and community arts in this October 2016 podcast: https://soundcloud.com/humanities-pitt/petra-kuppers-interview. Earlier in 2016, the PBS series Detroit Performs created this short documentary about Petra's community performance practice: http://video.dptv.org/video/2365737793/ During her time at Thicket, Petra worked with Stephanie on performance/somatic material arising from the Asylum Project, and on speculative fiction. You can find examples of Petra's water/women/land fiction here: petrakuppersfiction.wordpress.com
Anna Riley received her BFA in Glass from the Rhode Island School of Design. Her work, be itconceptual, technical or experiential, emerges from a strong desire for material research. She operates in a range of mediums, from blown glass to the written word, with an occasional excursion into the realm of electronics and video. Her current research explores maker and material as psychologically and empathetically engaged. She has received awards such as the RISD Glass Glass Department Award of Excellence (2014), the Elizabeth Jones Memorial Scholarship (2011), and has an upcoming fellowship at the Creative Glass Center of America at Wheaton Arts (2016). Anna lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. www.annaelizabethriley.com
A designer by training, Sam Ihrig is interested in manipulating scales of production. His practice, which spans from material experimentation to conceptual proposition, seeks to understand material boundaries and possible (or impossible) applications. He experiments with a number of materials, from home grown bacterial textiles to commercial waste. Sam believes strongly in fostering a consciousness around our material decisions and possessions. Sam received a BFA from the California College of the Arts.
Jac Jemc’s first novel, My Only Wife (Dzanc) was a finalist for the 2013 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction and winner of the Paula Anderson Book Award. Her full-length collection of stories, A Different Bed Every Time, (Dzanc) was named one of Amazon's Best Story Collections of 2014. Jac's nonfiction has been featured on the longlist for Best American Essays and her story "Women in Wells" was featured in the 2010 Best of the Web anthology. She served as Writer-in-Residence at the University of Notre Dame in fall 2015 and is a writing instructor at Northeastern Illinois University and Story Studio. Jac received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and has completed residencies at Ragdale, the Vermont Studio Center, Thicket, Hambidge and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She received Illinois Arts Council Professional Development Grants in both 2012 and 2014, and in 2014 she was named as one of 25 Writers to Watch by the Guild Literary Complex and one of New City's Lit 50 in Chicago. She currently serves as the web nonfiction editor for Hobart.
(b. 1975, Chicago) is a visual artist working primarily in the realm of site-specific installation. Through her location-based sculptural installations, she wishes to engage the conscious and subconscious nature of observation to encourage individuals to actively see each space by questioning the constructed intentions of the space and reconsidering habits and definitions. She has exhibited widely throughout the States and in Europe, and is the recipient for numerous awards, such as the McKnight Artist Fellowship, the Pollock-Krasner Fellowship, and an artist residency-fellowship at Kuenstlerhaus Schloss Balmoral in Bad Ems, Germany. Jennifer recently moved to Chattanooga as a visiting lecturer in the sculpture department at the University of Tennessee after living in a number of cities throughout the western hemisphere.
Greg Edmondson received his MFA from Washington University in St. Louis and his BFA from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He is the recipient of Fulbright and DAAD fellowships to Germany and has received support from numerous artist residencies throughout the US and Europe. Greg’s current work centers on an investigation into pattern and code: specifically patterns of organic growth and decay, and coding systems for the storage and transmission of information both biological and technological. Hisupcoming projects include “Fact or Fiction”, a 3- person show at Gallery Gaia in Brooklyn, and “Basis for Launch”, an 8- person exhibition curated by Brigitte Mulholland at Brooklyn Fireproof. Currently, Greg is an artist in residence atOsage Arts Community where he serves as advisor to the board.
Melissa Pope Scott
I am a painter and a writer untrained in the fine arts. I received my B.S. in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Florida in 1975 and went on to pursue a short lived stint in broadcast advertising sales. This was a valuable mistake which ultimately led to suddenly painting at the age of 37. I was married and in the process of raising two sons when I decided to be who I had known I was since age 5: an artist. I became a naive painter. As a muse to Alex Katz in the early 90’s, I asked for and followed his advice and did not pursue any art education.My work centers around some specific themes: the environment, history, man’s relationship with other animals, philosophy, religion, and cultural evolution.My current work involves an illustrated body of essays breathing life to stories of individual children in history. My message is this: childhood matters. I have been privileged to show twice at The Society of the Four Arts annual national juried show in Palm Beach, Florida; the Butler Museum of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio, and the Pen and Brush in NYC where I was awarded the Jack Richeson award for best in show. I have also shown my work in numerous group exhibitions, and three solo exhibitions in Boca Raton, Florida. Thankfully, my work has been collected by private individuals since I began painting. My very first show and sale of work was at the age of 10 in Naples, Florida, my home town. I am still at it.
Melissa Oresky and Zak Boerger
Melissa Oresky and Zak Boerger are collaborators in marriage, family life, and video work.
Oresky’s work explores landscape through an evolving vocabulary rooted in abstraction. Her recent paintings and collages are based on plant forms, structures, and logics. Solo exhibitions include the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Elmhurst Art Museum, Elmhurst, Illinois; the Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago; and Minnesota State University, Mankato. Group exhibitions include TSA New York, Brooklyn; OQBO gallery, Berlin; The Engine Room, New Zealand; Devening Projects, Chicago; 65GRAND, Chicago; SCA Contemporary, Albuquerque, and Proof Gallery, Boston. She has been a resident at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Maine; the Santa Fe Art Institute, New Mexico; and Schloss Plüschow, Germany, among others, and is a recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship. She holds an MFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. You can view her work at http://melissaoresky.com.
Under his name and as These Wonderful Evils, Boerger keeps an unsteady foot in both improvised, guitar-based music and in song-form rooted in 1960s and ’70s hard rock, folk, and soul music. He has performed at the SXSW festival; Issue Project Room in Brooklyn; and too many bars and art spaces to remember. Boerger’s work has been featured in the UK new music magazine The Wire, the Denver weekly Westword, the Chicago Reader, numerous online magazines, and with Melissa Oresky, the Chicago Tribune.
Their video work has screened at Chicago venues including the Hyde Park Art Center, The Franklin, Roman Susan, Comfort Station, and Facets Multimedia, as well as at Select Fair 2012, Miami. In 2015, they produced a multimedia CD/DVD/silkscreen edition of their work titled Solar Anvil/And the Rhythm Ace. Videos from Solar Anvil can be viewed here, and music tracks from And the Rhythm Ace can be streamed here.
Oresky and Boerger live in Normal, Illinois, where Oresky is an Associate Professor of Painting at Illinois State University, and Boerger works as an audiovisual archivist.
As a visual artist/writer, Zhang Wenxin (b. 1989, China) lives and works in United States and China. She received her MFA degree at California College of the Arts in 2013. Her practice focuses on the relationship between the real and the virtual, as well as interdisciplinary art practice. Zhang creates multipart projects that unearth the complex layers of delusion and estrangement embedded within her non-linear imagery. Her work functions as a kind of literary device from which the viewer can reconstruct a fictional narrative. Zhang Wenxin is a recipient of Magnum Foundation Atlantic Philanthropies Grant. She was selected as a finalist in 2014 Three Shadows Photography Award as well as the 2014 Leica Oskar Barnack Newcomer Award. She was also selected as British Journal of Photograph's 2016 New Talent. She has been exhibited widely in China, United States and Europe.
Stephanie Heit is a poet, dancer, and teacher of somatic writing, Contemplative Dance Practice, and Kundalini Yoga. She lives with bipolar disorder and is a member of the Olimpias, an international disability performance collective. Her debut poetry collection, The Color She Gave Gravity, was a Nightboat Poetry Prize finalist and is forthcoming from The Operating System in 2017. Her work most recently appeared in Midwestern Gothic, Typo, Streetnotes, Nerve Lantern, QDA: A Queer Disability Anthology, Spoon Knife Anthology, Theatre Topics, and Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance. She lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan with her partner and collaborator, Petra Kuppers. www.stephanieheitpoetry.wordpress.com
2015 Thicket Residents
Lacy Warner is a graduate of the Columbia MFA Nonfiction Program. Recently Roxanne Gay published her essay, "Snaggle Tooth," on The Butter. She writes theatre criticism for both Brooklyn Magazine and Chance Magazine, and penned the weekly column, "Sex, Love and Brooklyn," for The L Magazine. She is currently working on a memoir about her childhood spent following her American Diplomatic parents from one disaster zone to another. She has great hair. Follow her on Twitter @laceoface.
Yi Xin Tong
Yi Xin Tong is a visual artist, musician, and poet based in anywhere other than New York, NY. His work constructs poetic and fantastical narratives through multimedia installations, Internet-based projects, and books to explore the dialectics of romanticism into our era that worships rationality and capital. Tong’s work has been shown at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Dumbo Arts Festival, Embassy of Canada in Berlin, Galerie de La Rotonde de Stalingrad, Pingyao International Photography Festival, Gallery 44, VIVO Media Arts Centre, and Centre for Art Tapes. He received Joan Mitchell Foundation Scholarship, Takao Tanabe Award in Visual Arts, British Columbia Arts Council Scholarship, Orange Corporation Annual Award in Visual Arts, and Mayand Samuel Rudin Foundation Multimedia Technology Scholarship.
Baker grew up in North Dakota, Montana, Oklahoma, and Nebraska. She received her BA in Fine arts from Fordham University Lincoln Center and MFA from California College of the Arts. She has exhibited at venues such as Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco, CA), di Rosa (Napa, CA), Wattis Institute (San Francisco, CA), Kiria Koula (San Francisco, CA), among others. She was the Tournesol Artist in Residence at The Headlands Center for the Arts from 2013-14, as well as an Artist in Residence at The Macdowell Colony in 2015. She currently resides in Beaumont, TX.
Jessica Holland is a multimedia journalist and writer from London currently working on fiction and video documentary projects. She's interested in technology and subcultures, and her work can be found at jessholland.co.uk.