Artist Residency and Installation at Proyecto ‘ace, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Earlier this year, I had a residency at Proyecto ‘ace in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This residency was supposed to happen in 2020, but was postponed because of COVID, so it was a long time coming and I was so excited to finally arrive in February 2023! The project I had planned involved making an installation using printed multiples.

Upon arrival in Buenos Aires, like from the moment I exited the airport, I was so inspired by the city, the buildings and the plants. There are so many plants and flowers. People have plants all over their balconies and there are gorgeous public parks and gardens, little plant stands on the sidewalk (kinda like the newsstands in NYC, but with plants!) and plants are just growing everywhere. I started drawing the plants, these turned into transparencies for photo litho plates.

Some quick background on the idea for the work itself and how I “got there”. “Flowering Bodies”, the installation piece that I made during the residency, was conceived as a site specific installation using printed multiples to build a 3 dimensional installation. Direct inspiration came from the abundant plant life in the city of Buenos Aires and additionally from themes that I work with in my larger art practice about the divine feminine and interconnectivity. Plants you will see in this installation include Hibiscus, Monstera leaves, Crown of Thorns, Ceibo, sedum morganianum / Burro’s Tail, Purple Heart, and Jacaranda.

In 2018, I created a smaller installation piece, Beehive, in the shop window of a Lucky Cut, in Beacon NY. My approach was to build a three dimensional object out of smaller components, connecting them to build mass and using wire and larger sheets of paper cut into netlike structures as supports.  This was the first time I had ever made something like that. The idea came out of my desire to create immersive environments in my two dimensional work channeled through my artist book work which often features layered hand cut paper elements that help to create space within the book structure. A major barrier to continuing to create larger scale work like this was the sustained time to focus on such a piece and finding the space to make it. That and I work slow, like really slow. Having a month of sustained studio time was incredibly important to figuring this piece out. 

The prints are lithographs printed using waterless photo litho plates. I have worked with photo litho a lot in the past and I love this process because it can capture a very high level of detail and tonal range for both drawings and photos. Plus the plates are pretty easy to make and I think its a fun process. The plates are made using a photo process, so you need to start with a transparency. I was making drawings directly onto transparency film for this project to create film positive. All of the film positives were hand drawn at about 20 x 26 inches, except one, where we used lace fabric and exposed it directly to the plate! The film is then exposed onto a photosensitized aluminum plate and the plate is developed, leaving behind the printing surface with the image. Usually printing lithography involves sponging the plate with water in between rolling on oil based ink. The water repels the ink from sticking to the negative areas of the plate and the ink sticks to the image area only (the blue areas on these plates). You have to repeat this several times to fully ink your plate in order to get a good print.

At ‘Ace Studio manager and Master Printer Sebastián Podbersich taught me how to make waterless lithography plates, which was such a revelation! I was somewhat aware of the process, but never bothered to learn it, because well, the usual litho printing method was working well enough, why would I want to make things easier on myself 😂. In waterless lithography, the plate is exposed, developed and dried as usual and then a very thin layer of silicone (like the type you’d use for caulking) is spread onto the surface and buffed in. When the silicone is completely dry, the plate is cleaned with alcohol which removes the silicone from the image area but leaving it stuck to the negative spaces/ non printing areas. The ink can then be rolled on like one would roll up a relief block and there is no need to sponge with water! So inking the plate becomes much easier and faster and the plates are easier to clean up when printing is finished. It was so cool to learn this process! Then with the help of Sebi and Alexis Sureda, my fabulous printing assistant, we made a ton of prints! I would never have finished this project on time without both of their collaboration and assistance. I had three plates that were printed onto full sheets of paper and then some smaller ones of individual flowers. 

Putting it all together was a whole other thing.  All the flower shapes were cut by hand. It was assembled basically one piece at a time in the exhibition space. I cut these hexagonal lattices that kind of acted as supports for parts of it. For the figure, I literally laid down on the table and asked someone to trace my body. We used a lot of fishing line, double sided tape, mounting putty and plenty of trial and error.

The installation was in the mezzanine space, a dreamy loft above the main space. You could see bits of the flowers peeking out of the corners from below. When you walked up the stairs you would be met with this full wall of flowers and the flying figure. It made me happy that during the exhibition people were hanging out up there sitting on the floor amidst the installation.

I learned ALOT from this entire process including things about timing, materials, and just the volume of pieces needed to adequately fill up a space, (I was happy with the outcome but wish I had been able to make even more parts!). I spent a month making this installation and was really excited about the outcome and all of the potential for more work to grow from this project. Overall, I was really happy with how it came out. It was certainly something new for me, which was exciting and I returned to my studio at home feeling energized to keep creating after being in a bit of a creative lull for the few months prior to the residency. I hope to continue making work like this in the future and making space for more experimental works in my practice.

 I would be remiss not to mention the five amazing artists in residence I spent the month with at Proyecto ‘ace: Constanza Reyes, Sacha Beeley, Amy Stoker, Ariana Pirela Sanchez, and Sofia Mendiondo.

We were a group of six women from different parts of the world who converged on this one place and time for the perfect storm of art and friendship.I feel so lucky to have gotten to know these lovely humans and talented artists.

In addition to spending time in the studio, we were lucky enough to have curator Cami Charask be our guide to  all of the amazing art happening in Buenos Aires. She organized trips to museums, galleries, openings and events  and even provided feedback on our work in progress. She really enriched the residency experience. 

Buenos Aires artist Julian Pesce was also an important presence during the residency, sharing a talk about  his work and solo exhibition and inviting us to events at his studio space.  Through the staff at ‘ace, Cami and Julian, we met several other artists and even some of the future ‘ace AIRs and made many friends and connections. 

The gif at the top of the page was created with photos snapped by Flor Albercen, is our whole ‘ace crew right before our final exhibition, followed by a few photos from the show.

I am so grateful to have spent the month with this special group of people and to have made friends from a cross the globe. 

‘ace is such a wonderful workshop in a beautiful and special place. I wish I had more time there but I guess I’ll just have to return in the future! Many thanks to Alicia Candiani, Andres Knob, Sebastián Podbersich, and Cami Charask for a wonderful experience and for all of their support during the residency and in making this project happen.

PS you can see even more photos from my time in Buenos Aires on my instagram page in my story highlights, including all the ice cream we ate 🍦 😜




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