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June 2024

 

Liz Morrison and Nick Stull, Eric Anthony Berdis, Janelle Bonfour-Mikes

Opening Reception
Saturday, June 15
4 – 10 p.m.

Closing Reception
Saturday, July 13
12 – 3 p.m.

About the Artists & Work

Janelle Bonfour-Mikes

“A (b)Room of One’s Own”

The moment a woman becomes a wife, society sees her role differently; and her husband may too. Even in the most egalitarian cishet marriages traditional role expectations creep up. In order to combat this, each partner in the relationship must be aware of what they are expecting of the other. Are you constantly asking your wife what needs done around the house? 

“A {B}room of One’s Own” uses a large-scale broom constructed from wedding dresses and rice to explore the gender disparity in domesticity and household labor. Broom making is labor intensive and historically woman-centered craft which Bonfour-Mikes uses to create an installation that asks the viewer to consider the labor divisions in their own household.

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Connective Tissue: Portrait Paintings By Liz Morrison and Nick Stull

Connective Tissue presents a synthesis of portrait paintings created by Liz Morrison and Nick Stull over the past 5 years. A husband and wife team, Liz and Nick selected works from a variety of series to produce a unique collection of portraits that not only conveys the evolution of their styles over that short period of time, but also how their close and collaborative working process shows an entwinement of ideas and motivations. 

Experimentation with different styles and genres is a recurring thread in both of their practices, with certain pieces containing a wide range of paint applications seemingly collaged together with a dynamic yet harmonious effect. Layered, expressive skin tones and patches of realism are often disrupted by geometric shapes, delicate line work, and meticulous patterns. These techniques are often employed to conceal facets of the individual, or to almost obscure their individual identity entirely. Though Liz and Nick often employ different paint media for their portrait work (Nick often utilizes oil paint and spray paint while Liz prefers watercolor and gouache) the results look strikingly similar and their shared use of ink pen and acrylic paint markers for intricate line work serves as the glue for binding these disparate approaches. 

At the core of these portrait paintings, Liz and Nick continue to explore new ways for expressing how we identify not just with their individual subjects, but also with their relationship to the vast tradition of portraiture and its multitude of approaches, concepts, and meanings.

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Eric Anthony Berdis

“Swish, Lisp, Coutraposto” 

Thrift store castoffs and hobbyist craft supplies are reassembled into soft quilted sculptures that reimagine the cast of characters of the world Berdis is building through their installation. Through radical softness and a maximal aesthetic, the world is embedded with coded symbols of a queer lexicon for the audience to explore. 

My studio practice lifts up and mimics a queer cannon of artists on the fray of art history. They are the not-forgotten giants I’m lucky to stand on the shoulders of. Their methods of making become my lexicon for symbols, gestures, and approaches to craft. Using personal secrets, queer history, and gay boy glamour, my work builds a world for my audience to enter.

In periods of instability, insecurity, and oppression, I, as a queer maker, continuously find ways to imagine and embody joy through my practice. Happiness and play are not only sought after during difficult times but are arguably necessary for survival. Quilting and fiber practices have a long history of leisure and making for pleasure. For queer artists like myself, joy is an act of resilience—a critical method of subverting hegemonic narratives of suffering. In silliness and irreverence, I reflect on acts of violence, the AIDS crisis, and national moments of queer sorrow. Through childlike play, whimsical materials become a cast of characters that blur the line between ghosts, villains, and friends.

Eric Anthony Berdis is an artist and educator whose practice strives to celebrate DIY collectivity and play for themself and his students. All while reflecting on the ghost of queer history and activism. Eric has received honors from the Amos Lemon Burkhart Foundation, the Lydia McCain Artist Fellowship, and the DayGlo Corp fund. He has had solo exhibitions at The Marlin and Regina Miller Art Gallery as the Artist in Residence at the Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, the University Galleries of Illinois State University, Random Access Gallery (Syracuse, NY), Project 1612 (Peoria, IL), Practice Gallery (Philadelphia, PA), and Bunker Project (Pittsburgh, PA). They have also shown work at Amos Eno Gallery (NYC), Iridian Gallery (Richmond, VA), Stay Home Gallery (Paris, TN), the Erie Art Museum, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  His work has been published in Teaching Artist Podcast, Emergency Index Annual Performance Publication, and New American Paintings. 

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