Meet the Artists
Joshua is a designer, photographer, and educator based in Boston, MA. His journey has allowed him to explore a variety of media through personal practice, collaboration and client-based projects. His work ranges from visual identity design to art curation to portrait photography. He is honored to be able to bring stories to life through the intersection of ideas and form for organizations big and small. He holds a MFA in Graphic Design from Boston University and a BFA in Visual Communication and Applied Design from Houghton College. He currently lectures at Boston University at the Colleges of Fine Art and Communication as well as Simmons University.
Kristen Mallia is a multimedia artist based in Boston, Massachusetts. Her installations, printed matter, and time-based media are deeply rooted in iteration and process and examine the roles of preservation, performance, and collection in our daily lives. Embracing both analog and digital materials, Mallia examines how time, memory, history, and the framing of content inform our understanding of value. Kristen teaches at Boston University, Massachusetts College of Art + Design, Suffolk University, and the School of Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University. She is currently an Artist-in-Residence at Skaftfell Center for Visual Art in Seyðisfjörður, Iceland.
In my practice, I work within a rigid framework combining organic form and color to evoke playful moments of time. Materials that I find on the street and natural, strange found objects particularly interest me. My work involves experimenting with combinations of discarded materials and fabricated form. By using color and surface treatment on these collected forms, I create compositions focused on memory, nostalgia, and childhood. I work in several mediums such as painting, drawing, printmaking, and photography. The marks and colors applied to forms and canvas are thoughtful yet come from an intuitive place. This approach brings curiosity through mark making and results in unexpected moments that inspire the work. The multiple mediums used within a framework begin to interact and blend inside those moments. This discovery of juxtapositions led to my most recent small-scale work which involves the idea of collection. While researching childhood memorabilia, I came upon photo documentation of objects found in preschooler’s pockets. From that new direction, I started examining the preciousness of ordinary, irrelevant, and mundane objects. I find that by taking these little forms out of their origin and putting them into a new context allows me to explore unexpected moments inside small worlds.
Currently, I have been drawn to the materiality of clay. Something about the material feels simple, strong, and safe which is comforting right now. Clay and the act of baking/cooking draw connections with the tactile decisions between my brain, hand, and material relationships. When I am using my hands, I am not making decisions- rather my brain and hands form a secret language. Using clay, I am drawn to creating figures; something I have not experimented within many years. These clay figures are sad and collapsed with a strong sense of defeat. Many of these figures are sad, but within this collection I have made two sets of figures embracing, holding one another up and holding hands. These works are a result of longing for human connection. I miss witnessing everyday subtle beautiful interactions of life on the streets, subways, restaurants, etc. I miss being a participant and observer of the collective human experience and condition. Through art-making, I am searching for ways to fill this void.
I understand my process as allowing for the collocation of incongruities: bringing images, words, materials, and things together in aberrant and unfamiliar ways. The work addresses the unstable and mutable nature of language, imagery, and objects; I try to realize radical latent potentials that exist in every dull moment, in every ordinary object, in any old place. Ideally, the work provides a space for re-seeing something or re-considering some notion that is otherwise so banal as to taken as a foregone conclusion. I
’m largely concerned with bridging gaps between seemingly incongruous notions of what can and what can’t be. Within the work, there is the hope that a disjuncture between the logic of what should be and the realization of what actually is might conjure a point of pause in which preconceived assumptions of value and meaning denature, as with the first mouthful of a beautiful cake in which salt has been swapped for sugar. It is this momentary re-seeing that I attempt to find in my own process and preserve as an experience for viewers.
The form of the work is varied: medium, scale, material, ideation, and effect are subject to change from project to project. I make drawings, paintings, videos, objects, and installations – all of which behave as a kind of responsive material record of my thinking. As a result, a lot of projects fail. Those that survive tend to become complex and expansive. My ethic as a maker is to doggedly follow any viable lead to its maximal conclusion. Sometimes this involves deploying craft as a kind of technology that allows for a more engrossing visual or haptic experience. Other times, jerry-rigging offers a material language that speaks to some more expedient demands of the project. Sometimes I go too far. Throughout the process, everything remains propositional and subject to change. The work allows me to think out loud, to get things wrong, to experience point-to-point navigation in self-determined disorientation. I strive for a level of immersion that allows the work to exist less as discreet objects within an assumed context and more as an experience that dictates its own terms, one in which the work itself becomes the context of its own viewing.
The work can be funny, but it isn’t made exclusively for comedic effect. Rather, it’s a quality of humor that allows for sudden shifts of meaning, a destabilization that tends to presage the unexpected. There is an acknowledgment of various tensions: within unhappy marriages of materials or between conflicting arguments and competing or contradictory exhortations. Anything “funny” is in some sense unstable, allowing for the possibility of imminent physical or emotional collapse.
I remain both fascinated and horrified by the ways in which we are capable (both as individuals and as a society) of making convincing and even compelling arguments for all kinds of wrongness based on fallacious, uncircumspect assumptions. We simply take too much for granted, we assume too much. Too many voices are dedicated to reinforcing the spurious us-and-them mentality that belies the complexity of human and material interconnectedness. I am invested in making work that, to some extent, points toward the need to destabilize the operative assumptions that allow us to consider ourselves as “separate”: in relation to the narratives of history, in relation to our own material world, in relation to each other.
As an activist and political artist, my work addresses sociological issues related to gender and queer identities. I explore the stereotypes and expectations of queer presenting people within oppressive heteronormative culture. My work reinserts my community and my identity into systems, spaces, images, and relationships within the broader society that often deny my community’s various identities. My process as an artist is about queering, or “to queer,” a verb that originates from queer theory and the term “queer reading.” This term is used to challenge normative culture and subvert heterosexual binaries. With the act of queering, my work “represents” the world through a queer lens. “Queering is something we do, rather than something we are (or are not).” This process often uses queer-adapted vernacular “references“ to offer a platform of familiarity to a queer viewership. These references are derived from history, theory, and media. Queer specific references constitute a secondary language and an alternate social iconography used within queer culture. Elements of camp, such as artifice and exaggeration, also play a large role in my work, as they allow those positioned outside of the queer community to connect through its humor and formal exaggeration. I believe that art should be accessible to all populations, and by using these elements, I strive to create dialogue around issues facing the queer community both within ourselves and beyond.
A lot of people are led by emotions, giving the body and the spirit a harmful burden. Mindfulness can help us better manage our emotions, focus our attention, find ways to deal with stress, allowing us to learn more about ourselves, let go of self-centeredness, and give the people around us compassion and empathy. Mindfulness is not to deny or suppress but to feel one's inner physical feelings and to fully experience the current emotions, thus creating a headspace and dissolving emotional and physical pain. Once the mind is empty, it stops analyzing and judging, and we can find our motivations, desires, thoughts, and preferences in the present moment. The purpose of my thesis is to encourage more people to integrate mindful meditation into daily life. It is an exhibition that combines emotion, the five senses, experience design, and dialogue. This project provides the audience with an immersive mindful experience, including fragmented mindfulness training and keeping a mood journal.