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The Way We See It

Updated: Mar 13, 2021

This week in ART YARD Advanced Studio teaching Artist Flávia Berindoague Zooming in from Brazil helped us to celebrate National Women’s Day in a session she titled From Me to You: Exchanging Art in Time of Isolation.

Flávia explains her inspiration for this truly enjoyable project: “In celebration of International Women’s Day, I selected two female artists Georgia O’Keeffe and Tarsila do Amaral who played important roles in the development of American and Brazilian modernism, and its relationship to European avante garde movements of the early-20th century. Both artists sought to capture the emotion and power of objects through abstracting the natural world, becoming a part of the iconography of the American and Brazilian artistic landscape. The artists, synthetized abstraction and realism to produce works that emphasized the primary forms of nature.

With the pandemic still in full swing, the situation limits activities with communities but community-based art practices are very relevant to the current situation as they encourage people to work together. In this way, the idea for this class is to mail an art piece to each other. Participants will receive a piece of art in their mail box, hopefully bringing back the pleasure of touching and seeing a work beyond the screen of their devices.”

Flávia shared a clear and concise PowerPoint which highlighted the works of Georgia O’Keeffe and Tarsila do Amaral and introduced us to their life stories and importance in art history. Explaining the exchange element to the class got us all excited anticipating ART in the mail from one of our ART YARD Artist friends. I used the Zoom random break-out-room feature to pair us up for exchanges.

Georgia O’Keeffe Red Canna, 1925-1928
Tarsila do Amaral, O Lago, 1928

While our pieces were all inspired by nature, some of the Advanced Studio Artists worked from life. This underscored the geographical distances we are able to reach in Advanced Studio when looked at Jacob’s snowy sap collecting street view from Minnesota, Marilyn’s Californian back-yard Bird of Paradise, Eden’s Brooklyn Pigeon peaking over flowers and Flávia’s outdoor succulent from her mother’s garden in Brazil.

Jacob Rath, Sap Collecting - From Me to You
Maralyn August, Bird of Paridise - From Me to You
Eden Moore, From Me to You
Flávia Berindoague, From Me To You

Nayarit, Halli and Sarah were all directly inspired by the rounded forms and painting style of Tarsila do Amaral.

Nayarit Tineo, From Me To You
Halli Beaudoin, From Me To You
Sarah Gumgumjo, From Me To You

Zeke’s close up petal drawing and Ardelia’s graphic directional drawing both moved into a wonderful abstraction reminded me of the powerful work of Hilma af Klint.

Zeke Brokow, From Me To You
Aredelia Lovelace, From Me To You

Ed went back to a series of Dune paintings which he has not shown for inspiration.

Ed Rath, Dunes for You, From Me To You

Pat and I both found inspiration in plants and flowers we have inside our homes.

Pat Larash, From Me To You

Meridith McNeal, From Me To You

August, Vera and her friend Brenae were moved to work from their imagination in signature styles.

August Levenson, From Me To You
Vera Tineo, From Me To You
Brenae Anacacy, From Me To You

And Golnar collaborated with her 4 year old daughter Assia. (Which inspired August to say we need more cute toddlers in Advanced Studio and me to marvel at the generational span of our posse!)

Golnar and Assia Adili, From Me To You

Also this week, thanks to the folks at PS1, ART YARD Advanced Studio Artists had the opportunity to view a private curators tour of Marking Time: Art in the Time Of Mass Incarceration (on view at PS 1 through April 4, 2021). Curator Dr. Nicole Fleetwood’s articulate, thought provoking and deeply moving talk resonated with all of us and spurred a heartfelt discussion after the 56 minute video.

Dr. Nicole Fleetwood gives a tour of Marking Time

Rachael writes: “There were so many pieces that stood out to me on their own, and I loved hearing Dr. Nicole Fleetwood talk about each one and the stories behind them. Taken all together, the show as a whole made me think about making art in prison as an act of resistance, a way to assert one’s humanity and individuality in a system that tries to take those things away. At its core, I think, the impulse to create says "I have a voice, I matter, I am human, I am here.” That came through so strongly for me in much of the work. I can only imagine how much more powerful the show is in person — I can’t wait to go.”

Jane adds: "This show resonates on so many levels. These artists, often using minimal tools, have crafted a sophisticated and complex body of work, one work at a time, day in and day out. Days become years. Deftly curated by Dr. Nicole Fleetwood, it tells the story of how mass incarceration affects those that it touches, and society as a whole."

Sarah explains: “I don't remember when was the last time I went to a gallery show and felt moved with all of my scenes—starting with the presentation and the gallery's display, to the concept and the Artwork. The Artwork was a phenomenon; each artist expresses themselves in a straightforward yet powerful way that lets us think, smile, cry, and moved.

The drive to be seen is considered strength and existence. Isolation did not stop them; on the contrary, they had the will to overcome the situation in which they are. They did not give up; they surrounded themselves with art and emptied their minds with creativity. They made art as therapy to themselves. This show is a reminder to keep going, and it gives me the courage to do more, lives my life fully, and never give up. Thank you for this beautiful experience. I will never forget it.”

Ed sums the experience up beautifully: “The imagery from the exhibition, Marking Time, Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration at P.S.1, is striking in its directness. These artists, cut off from family and friends, confront their pain and isolation through drawing, painting, and sculpture. The lack of conventional art materials did not stop them - some of the most haunting images were drawn on scraps of paper. The sculptures, made of mundane objects like cafeteria trays, a blue plastic chair, and a blue plastic police shield, are shockingly dramatic, fully transcending their banal origins.

The work in this exhibition is raw but compelling, perhaps because we have all experienced a year of social isolation which forced us to turn inward. There is a wealth of invention, personal symbolism, and synthesis in these no-nonsense artworks. The artists navigated their way without the aesthetic trappings many of us fall into in our search for new ways to express our ever changing world.

The show, beautifully curated and organized by theme, is a knock-out. Kudos to Dr. Nicole Fleetwood and the staff at P.S. 1 for bringing the humanity of our forgotten brethren to the public. The creativity and perseverance of these artists is an inspiring reminder of our mission as Americans: To Seek Liberty and Justice for All.”

We all concur with Ed – “The time to end The Age of Mass Incarceration and the racist policies that created this monster has arrived.”

George Anthony Morton detail portrait of Mars (with reflection in glass)

Wednesday brought us another fabulous day of artmaking, dialogue and sharing our work at ART YARD Art Matters at PS 282! Teaching Artist Golnar Adili was back for the second week of her project Mapping The Inside And Outside of Your Life.

We reviewed last week’s classes by watching the ART YARD video recap. Students were excited to see their work and we hope this sparks an enthusiasm to watch this recap each week. From there Golnar shared her presentation which began with a very informative look at the maps of historic Persia and modern day Iran. We discussed the notion that maps are authored views – which means someone drew them.

Contemporary map of Iran

Next came a series of map drawings, paintings and scrolls from a variety of cultures and time periods from ancient Japan to recent contemporary Americana. Golnar showed the development of her sample piece which helped students to envision the lesson in which we drew our external community in map form.

Japanese map scroll
Contemporary map of Austin, TX.

Then using mixed media of our choice (in other words a variety of art materials), we all started with our home but the path and destination was up to the artist. A great example of artistic license (which we all have AND it does not require a trip to the DMV!)

Noelle said: "This is my map to my school. I remember seeing the flowers all along the way. I used glitter crayons and marker and paint sticks to make my mixed media masterpiece!" (Nice use of the new vocabulary!)

Noelle, Mapping my Community

Emma explains her piece: “the unicorns name is magic. You take cloud path to rainbow peak to watch the rainbow through the sunset”.

Emma, Mapping my Community

Lola tells us: “Conor is my friend so I drew a map from my house to his house.”

Lola, Mapping my Community
June, Mapping my Community
August, Mapping my Community
Aysia, Mapping my Community

I like Coco’s vision – she reports “my map is a map of a magical land that anyone can go to whenever they want.”

Coco, Mapping my Community

Lorenzo’s mom tells us that Lorenzo “is very into the ART YARD lessons. He loves the classes and looks forward to it every week!” I was pretty impressed to hear Lorenzo, inspired by a library book he is reading is exploring Sumi-e Japanese brush paintings!

Lorenzo, Mapping my Community
Max, Mapping my Community

Lucy, age 4, pre-K says “I walk from my house past buildings and the grand army plaza arch to the zoo. This side of the zoo has no-pet animals and this side has animals you can pet. This is a tiger and a snake, this is me reaching up to feed a sheep, and my little sister reaching up to feed a horse.”

Lucy, Mapping my Community

Ryse at work while on Zoom

Golnar observed: “There were magical maps and also more realistic maps of routes of home to school to a friend's house. There were some that spanned states, and many included text.”

We found that in the critique students were eager to share their work. As they held their work up for all to see our young artists were articulate, engaged and eager to explain their art making process. Fifth graders in our last session of the day had an interesting discussion spurred on by the notion of text and language in art. We learned that we can say hello and goodbye with the same word in Spanish and Italian – CIAO!

Check out the weeks Video Recap created by Vera Tineo ART YARD Video Program Manager!

I am also pleased to report that our PS282 liaison PTO Treasurer Krystina Athas and I had a great check in call today. It was so nice to hear that the parents are feeling great about our partnership. In a school partnership is important to have an open line of communication to the school community, a great liaison is integral to the overall success. I enthusiastically commend Krystina for the active role she plays in our partnership!


Today at ART YARD Art Matters at PS6 on Google Classrooms Teaching Artist Richard Estrin was back for his second week in the series.

Richard summarizes: “We are exploring community as a group that shares a common attribute, characteristic. This is a way to embed unity within the group. This week we thought more about value as a shape rather than as a visual /optical texture. Looking at the work of French Impressionist painter Georges Seurat, we noticed how contrasting values could draw attention to areas of the drawing while some areas unified in whispers. We also noticed that context determined whether or not something was seen as light or dark.

Georges Seurat: Circus Sideshow (Parade de cirque), 1887–88
Georges Seurat, Seated Boy

Additionally, students were asked to work at using the entire picture plane when composing their picture. The image was to be a riff off of their idea of community that they had begun working with last week.”

Montage of PS6 drawings from Zoom screen shots during critique

Dennis adds: “The PS 6 teachers are a gigantic help!! We are so grateful for their expertise and classroom management skills developed over this year of virtual programming!"


In other exciting news we are thrilled to report that we have received funding for The Way We See It from The Brooklyn Arts Council’s 2021 Brooklyn Arts Fund program. This program is supported by the Greater New York Arts Development Fund of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA).

The Way We See It, on view September 14-25, 2021 at FiveMyles Gallery in Crown Heights, features paintings from Meridith McNeal’s series Inside Outside Windowphilia along the artwork of her students. Several collaborative Windowphilia paintings created by these young artists will be on view. In addition, artwork created by participants in ART YARD Summer Session and Advanced Studio focusing on our exploration of important social justice issues. A catalogue of the exhibition will be available through Amazon.

Left: Meridith McNeal, Triple Roman Window. Right: Collaborative Student Brooklyn Windowphilia painting.

I hope where ever you are the sun is shining and you are soaking in the rays. The Vernal Equinox is imminent! I feel it, do you?

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