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ARTIST X ARTIST is a campaign that intends to put our artists at 18th Street Arts Center in conversation with one another. 18th Street artists are a network of global knowledge systems. Each artist represents its own node of knowledge, cultural practices, and artistic modalities.  This series is a platform for artists in residence to talk about the intersection of each other’s work. The discussions reveal ways we can connect as a global community to question our current conditions and imagine future potentials. 

“Maddy LeMel’s Compromised draws me in on multiple levels – visually by pulling my eyes inside a cage to contemplate an old tool in captivity and psychologically by forcing me to question what is actually going on here. There’s mystery to Maddy’s work that calls on the viewer to supply a possible narrative. The tool represents strength, power and action, yet it is trapped inside a somewhat fragile cage rendering it useless. The piece suggests strength and fragility simultaneously. I’m inspired by her experimental nature and her use of found materials which keeps it raw and basic. This is what I strive for in my own work with my collaborations with the elements of nature. Maddy has been my studio neighbor for many years and I never tire of seeing her collection of cast off old goods on her back patio that will soon be repurposed into a poignant piece of art.”

“I love the experience of entering Deborah Lynn Irmas’s studio. Her  luminous soft colored plexiglass paintings glow and float. With sure rhythmic patterns, they evoke a sense of light, uplift, and calm.  Underpinning repetition and order feels meditative, soothing and durable. Unbroken gently pulses with life. “

Dan Kwong | IT'S GREAT 2B AMERICAN: Letters+Preachin'

Dan Kwong | IT'S GREAT 2B AMERICAN: Visas+Navy Blue & Gold

“I am grateful for work that complicates ideas about belonging and national identity, particularly in pandemic times, when it is clearer than ever that borders are an obstacle to global solutions. Across its different segments IT’S GREAT 2B AMERICAN is equal parts mournful, joyful, nostalgic, and wry. The combination of different emotional registers corresponds perfectly to the transnational complexities of ethnic otherness and diasporic experience. Dan Kwong’s work inspires me to listen, to bear witness, to tell my stories, and to appreciate simple absurdities as the gifts that get us through life and hard memories.”

Excerpts from Dan Kwong’s IT’S GREAT 2B AMERICAN. Written, produced, performed by Dan Kwong. Courtesy of the artist.

“From an outside perspective, I view Dan S. Wang’s involvement in the Wisconsin Uprising as a three part artistic exploration. First, there are the protest signs Dan crafted. Second, the community nature of the protests within the Capitol building were performance art of a political nature. Third, Dan’s writing during and after the events provides a timeline and gives us clues on how to move forward. I followed the 2011 Wisconsin Uprising closely. Twitter missives and email reports from my cousin Anne, who was in Madison protesting daily inside the Capitol Rotunda, kept me informed along with livestreams of the events. I began to see the global connections between the Wisconsin protests with Occupy Wall Street and the Arab Spring. The structural injustices in regressive actions by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and his cronies infuriated me. We needed to take a stand! If we lost, we would end up in a nightmare scenario… Well, we lost that battle. Now, with the current mismanagement of the pandemic and financial crisis by the 2020 White House the nightmare is real. Seeing Dan’s protest movement as art during the 2011 Wisconsin Uprising documented on his website brought me viscerally back to those struggles. Seeing Dan’s Wisconsin Uprising work has inspired me in our current political reality to continue with my protest paintings.”


Read more on the 2011 Wisconsin Uprising from Dan S. Wang’s perspective here.

Dan S. Wang on the Wisconsin Uprising for Creative Time Summit

“I’m really interested in how fire became an integral part of Joan Wulf’s work. Initially, I was attracted to the danger and excitement I associate with the concept of burning. Joan’s control over the medium is what stands out to me the most. I love the simple elegance and restraint of her quieter pieces. Her use of fire as a principle medium has influenced my practice and use of water as my preferred medium. I’m interested in the stark contrasts between Joan’s work and mine, but also the similarities.”

“Alexandra Dillon’s Adeline and Mariah makes me think about gloves in general. Glove etiquette evolves to fit the sensibilities of the times. White gloves are a rare fashion accessory not part of our everyday wardrobes yet now we see people wearing protective gloves as a deterrent for spreading or catching the virus. What if they evolved into a more personal fashion? This artwork stands out for me because we are in different times and Alexandra’s White Gloves with Faces of Two Women tells a story that creates a comparison for me of then and now. Her work inspires me because she is doing something I haven’t seen before and I am attracted to artists that work with materials in unexpected ways. I like how she combines her classical painting techniques on unusual painting surfaces and objects to tell a story.”

As a performance artist working publicly outdoors, I respond to  Lita Albuquerque’s large-scale performative sculpture “Spine of the Earth”  with inspiration and interest  and find the work to be socially engaging. All aspects of this project stands out to me, especially because I’m currently working collaboratively on a project that has large numbers of people within a spacious landscape. I feel that our works and practice are somewhat in conversation with each other.”

“I’m attracted to the pattern, texture, repetition, modular and grid quality in Joan Wulf’s Stacked Series. The repetition of the burned through marks stands out to me. I respond to the texture, minimal colors and shapes, and repetition so this artwork inspires me in that way. It is fascinating to see the use of fire as a tool, and burning as a process in the work.” 

 “Untitled is intricate but beautiful, dark and light at the same time. All the movement in black is so interesting, you can’t stop looking at it. Pamela’s work is so inspiring. Because it’s beautiful and elegant but also free and dark at the same time. My work is so different but I am inspired to use the same elements that Pamela uses. She is just a very kind soul and her work is sensitive but has a lot of depth to it.”

Gwen Samuel’s work employs dresses and other female vestiges much the way my work does, but with very different aesthetics. Her explorations of femininity and female power resonate with me. I like the way she incorporates memory into the dresses by sewing together fragments of photographs. Her work is beautiful and finely crafted.  There is an order to it that I find calming. Gwen is a serious artist.  She is extremely dedicated to her practice.  She also has a great attitude and is always willing to help another artist with opportunities and advice.”

Madison, Wisconsin: A City in Nine Objects, a zine by Madison Mutual Drift collective of which Dan is a co-founder and member, is a fantastic portrayal of a city I love back home in Wisconsin which is our political capitol: Madison. The stories about the city from a range of local artists is a window into the complexity of the place around identity, politics, justice and other cultural layers. It is a beautiful print of bold black and red ink on warm, light colored paper which harkens to the university’s colors in this university town aka the state capitol. Very clever! And the stories are tender while also incisive.”

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