Press Release

FWM Announces 2021-2022 Cohort of Artists-in-Residence

February 4, 2021

Artist-in-Residence Jane Irish working in the FWM print studios, 2020. Photo credit: Carlos Avendaño.

Philadelphia, PA, February 4, 2021 — The Fabric Workshop and Museum (FWM) is pleased to announce their full roster of Artists-in-Residence (AIRs) for the next two years, featuring 12 artists—including two artist collaboratives—working with the FWM Studio on a series of projects and culminating exhibitions. The 2021-2022 cohort includes Philadelphia artists Jane Irish and Jayson Musson, as well as artists based across the country (in order of exhibition date): Elisabeth Kley, Mark Barrow and Sarah Parke, Shino Takeda, Woody De Othello, Mary Reid Kelley and Patrick Kelley, Ahmed Alsoudani, Rose B. Simpson, and Henry Taylor.

“We are thrilled to be collaborating with this amazing group of artists and honored that they have committed to opening up their processes to us and the public,” states FWM Executive Director Christina Vassallo. “We are looking forward to the exchange of ideas that comes from working closely together, across distance and time.”

At the onset of projects, FWM Artists-in-Residence (AIRs) are asked to share central questions pivotal to their practice. Without a prescribed outcome in mind, these queries serve the residency and eventual exhibition, as they collaborate with FWM to test new processes, experiment with materials, and forge relevant engagement strategies. This cohort of AIRs has been selected by the FWM Artist Advisory Committee and FWM Curator Karen Patterson. Residencies range from one to three years in duration, and present a focus on ideation, experimentation and collaboration. AIRs are invited to stretch an aspect of their practice—a leap possible through collaboration with the expert FWM Studio staff—and the culminating exhibitions are a result of these residencies.

“As a production-focused museum, we wanted to announce our 2021-2022 AIR program as a cohort regardless of what stage each residency is in, whether that is closer to the exhibition, or just starting to think about tests and ideas,” says FWM Curator Karen Patterson. “In doing this, we want to bring our audiences into the making and conceiving of the projects, into some behind-the-scenes aspects of the creative process.”

Minutes of Sand—a milestone in Elisabeth Kley’s career—is the New York artist’s first solo museum show, opening in March 2021 and presenting a new body of work made in collaboration with FWM. Invited to print new yardage utilizing FWM’s world-renowned screenprinting facilities, Kley is interweaving her ceramic and painting practices with three new yardage designs and a new suite of ceramic sculpture for the exhibition.

A collaboration with Philadelphia’s Clay Studio, Hardcover includes important artworks from past residents Viola Frey (1933—2004), Toshiko Takaezu (1922—2011), and Betty Woodman (1930—2018), currently in the FWM Collection, as well as works by five contemporary artists who have been invited to develop new yardage designs. These artists include Jane Irish, Woody De Othello, Mark Barrow & Sarah Parke, and Shino Takeda.

Both Minutes of Sand and Hardcover have reignited FWM’s commitment to selected residencies focused solely on screenprinting, which was foundational to FWM residencies initiated in the 1970s.

The 2021-2022 program also features two ambitious projects funded by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. Dust to Dust, a project by artists Mary Reid Kelley and Patrick Kelley synthesizing performance, film, costuming, and immersive installation, will be staged across two gallery floors at The Fabric Workshop and Museum for an exhibition opening in fall 2021. His History of Art, an interdisciplinary project by artist Jayson Musson, will focus on Musson’s development of a new film-based project and related sets that offer a satirical art history survey installation, culminating in a spring 2022 exhibition and catalogue.

Now in his second year of residency, Ahmed Alsoudani is working with FWM to translate his vibrant paintings into three dimensions by transforming the artist’s sketches into sculptural forms using 3D modeling technology. The solo exhibition, Bitter Fruit, exploring themes related to bodies, trauma, and abstraction, opens in fall 2021.

New Mexico-based artist Rose B. Simpson is just at the beginning stages of her residency, with an exhibition opening in the fall of 2022. Building on her multifaceted expertise in ceramics, fashion, and auto repair and detailing, Simpson might be turning her attention to automobile interiors and concepts of self-reflection and interiority.

Responding to history, media, and aspects of his personal experience, Henry Taylor’s paintings and sculptures are interrogations of life—particularly of African American life—as he addresses themes of class, homelessness, politics, and racial and economic disparity in the United States. Taylor’s exploration of found objects, fabric, and site-specific installation serve as the jumping off points for the artist’s residency and 2022 exhibition, as he begins to investigate family lineage, the Middle Passage, and textile histories.

About the Artists

Ahmed Alsoudani (New York, NY), who came to the U.S. after fleeing from Baghdad in the mid-1990s, is known for his vividly colored and surreal acrylic and charcoal canvases, in which distorted, grotesque faces and body parts portray the horrors of war. This motif draws on the artist’s own experiences of recent wars in Iraq, the imagery of devastation and violence evoking a universal experience of conflict and human suffering. In 2011, Alsoudani was one of five artists representing Iraq in the Venice Biennale, the country’s first time hosting a pavilion in 35 years.

Jane Irish’s (Philadelphia, PA) paintings create confrontations and coexistences between realms of history that rarely collide—such as ornamentation and political protest, art and warfare, poetry and architecture. Alongside her prolific painting practice, Irish creates ceramic vases that further explore questions of beauty and violence and the construction of historical meaning through decorative patterns and traditional forms. Irish has been the recipient of a Pew Fellowship in the Arts, a Painters and Sculptors Grant from the Joan Mitchell Foundation, and a Painting Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Drawing on literary and historical material, the work of Mary Reid Kelley and Patrick Kelley (Olivebridge, NY) involves intensive research and the critical reassessment of historical narratives. Mary Reid Kelley combines painting, performance, and her distinctive wordplay-rich poetry in polemical, graphically stylized videos. Made in collaboration with her partner Patrick Kelley, these videos have been exhibited in solo exhibitions at the Hammer Museum, the ICA Boston, and SITE Santa Fe. European solo exhibitions include Tate Liverpool, Studio Voltaire, Kunsthalle Bremen, Museum Leuven, and Neuer Kunstverein Wien.

Elisabeth Kley (New York, NY) is known for her black and white ceramic sculptures, drawings and site-specific paintings. She draws motifs from historic ornamentation found in cultures and styles including Roman, Egyptian, Byzantine, Islamic and Wiener Werkstatte. Collapsing geography and history, she translates the imagery she finds into graphic all-over patterns that convey the opulence and spirit of their original sources. The Whitney Museum of American Art recently acquired Kley’s ceramic fountain from a 2019 exhibition at Gordon Robichaux, New York.

Jayson Musson (Philadelphia, PA) became an internet sensation with ART THOUGHTZ, his 2010-2012 series of YouTube-based performances. Through his character Hennessy Youngman, Musson incisively satirized both pop culture and art “insiders,” offering new ways of understanding the cultural landscape he traversed. The canny art world chameleon is a master of forms, ranging from antic videos to “paintings” made of dissected Coogi sweaters to an installation based on the art-historical satire of Ernie Bushmiller’s Nancy comic strip. His work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, among others.

The subject matter of Woody De Othello (Oakland, CA) spans household objects, bodily features, and the natural world. Everyday artifacts of the domestic—tables, chairs, television remotes, telephone receivers, lamps, air purifiers, et cetera—are anthropomorphized in glazed ceramic, bronze, wood, and glass. Othello’s sense of humor manifests across his work in visual puns and cartoonish figuration. Recent exhibitions include Woody De Othello: Breathing Room, a solo exhibition at the San Jose Museum of Art, CA, and Living Room, Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco, CA.

Since beginning to work together in 2008, Mark Barrow & Sarah Parke (Queens, NY) have shared a practice fusing textile production, computer coding and modernist design. For their intricate textile-painting hybrids combining geometric abstractions in pastel hues on woven fabric, layered compositions are underpinned by scientific theories and conceptual ideas. Recent solo exhibitions include Future Homemakers of America at JDJ | The Ice House in Garrison, NY, and Analemma at Premio Matteo Olivero in Saluzzo, Italy.

Rose B. Simpson (Santa Clara Pueblo, NM) is an interdisciplinary artist engaging ceramic sculpture, metals, fashion, performance, music, installation, writing, and custom cars. In addition to an MFA in Ceramics from the Rhode Island School of Design, Simpson also holds an MFA in Creative Non-Fiction from the Institute of American Indian Arts. Recently her work was included in the exhibition Hearts of Our People: Native Women Artists, a traveling exhibition featuring works by over 115 artists from the United States and Canada spanning over 1,000 years.

Influenced by her upbringing in Japan and her current home in New York, Shino Takeda’s (Brooklyn, NY) ceramics embody her sensory experience of sight, touch, taste, sound, and smell. Most of her pieces are hand built using the coil method and working with several different clay bodies. Takeda’s work is renowned in the design world; her 2019 exhibition, Diary, at JDJ | The Ice House marked her debut gallery exhibition. Her previous collaboration with Mark Barrow & Sarah Parke was also featured at NADA Miami 2019.

Henry Taylor’s imprint on the American cultural landscape comes from his disruption of tradition. While people figure prominently in Taylor’s work, he rejects the label of portraitist. Taylor’s chosen subjects are only one piece of the larger cultural narrative that they represent: his paintings reveal the forces at play, both individualistic and societal, that come to bear on his subject. Recent exhibitions include May You Live In Interesting Times, 58th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy (2019) and the 2017 Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY (2017). In February 2021, Taylor will open a solo exhibition at Hauser & Wirth Somerset, UK and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA is preparing a major survey exhibition of his work for 2022.

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About the Fabric Workshop and Museum

Founded in 1977, FWM both makes and presents, encouraging artists to experiment with new materials and new media in a veritable living laboratory. Through its renowned Artist-in-Residence (AIR) Program, FWM collaborates with artists to expand their practices, while documenting the course of artistic production from inspiration to realization. FWM presents large-scale exhibitions, installations, and performative work, utilizing innovative fiber and other media. Today, FWM is the only US institution devoted to creating work in textile and new media in collaboration with some of the most significant artists of our time.

Major support of FWM is provided by the Marion Boulton “Kippy” Stroud Foundation. FWM receives state art funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. Additional support is provided by The Philadelphia Cultural Fund, Agnes Gund, and the Board of Directors and Members of The Fabric Workshop and Museum.