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2017-2019

PATRICK HARKIN

PATRICK HARKIN

Growing up in suburban Florida, I am well acquainted with the seasonal need to try and hurricane-proof everything in my native state. Cycles of building, destruction, and rebuilding related to the natural elements, especially water and wind, are spotlighted in my work. Memories of my upbringing living in flood zones and my relationship to rising sea levels resonates with me and informs my practice to this day. Many of the materials I work with are collected in the preparation and aftermath of hurricanes I have lived through, as well as in the wake of my own consumer habits. Use of consumer detritus, building materials, and allusions to natural disasters serve as powerful metaphors and entry points that open the work to the complex systems I strive to address.

My work addresses the ties between images, materiality, and consumerism in order to explore the human condition under image mediated culture. I examine the way in which we can read images and objects as material, spatial, and ideological models of the world. My working method involves creating objects and scenarios specifically to be photographed, as well as sculptural and video work to be presented in dialogue with traditional photographs. My aim is to reconsider sculptural and photographic tradition through material inquiry and installation in order to script my unique sense of visual reality.


Patrick Harkin utilizes installation, video, sound, and photography in his artistic practice.  His theatrically staged work investigates themes of commodity criticism and concepts of ideology in modern consumer culture.  He addresses the ties between images, materiality and consumerism in order to explore the human condition under image mediated culture. 

Patrick currently teaches photography at Virginia Commonwealth University. He received his BFA from the University of Florida in 2015 and his MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2017.  Recent exhibitions of his work have taken place at Virginia’s Museum of Contemporary Art (Virginia Beach), VALET (Richmond), Florida Museum of Photographic Arts (Tampa) and Gallery Protocol (Gainesville). 

ELLEN (JING) XU

ELLEN (JING) XU

I like thinking that my work instigates performance; it encourages viewers to perform in a multivalent emotional collaboration with it. I create immersive, site specific installations in all media—painting, drawing, sculpture, architecture, furniture, murals, video, et al—that create dreamlike, fictional spaces that disrupt reality and present more questions than they answer. While I turn to art as a means of resolving my own identity—allowing my very private inner thoughts and questions to become public—I hope that the humble, honest manner of sharing the work serves viewers by opening up similar opportunities for reverie. I believe that if something exists in the mind, it exists in the world, the trouble seems to only come when we try to reify it. Apparently I like making trouble.


Ellen (Jing) Xu was born (1987) and raised in Inner Mongolia, China. She received a dual degree from Xiamen University, China; her MFA from the University of Washington in Seattle; and has also attended the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture in Madison, ME. Her work has been exhibited at the ROY G BIV Gallery in Columbus, OH; the Seattle Art Museum, Soil Gallery, Interstitial Gallery, and Jacob Lawrence Gallery in Seattle; the Blue Door Art Center in Yonkers, NY; 435 Broome in SoHo, NYC; the Kaufman Arts District in Queens, NYC; Sculptureworks Ferguson in St. Louis, MO; the Helmuth Project in San Diego, CA; and others. Ellen has had residencies at the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, VT; Paul Artspace in St. Louis, MO; and the Wassaic Artist Residency in Wassaic, NY. She was also a Media Arts Fellow at BRIC in Brooklyn, NY.

ANTONIO MCAFEE

ANTONIO MCAFEE

Operating with photography, video, and collage, Antonio McAfee’s work addresses the complexity of representation. Through appropriating and manipulating historical portraits, he engages in prescribed views of individuals and rework images to provide an alternate - more layered image and concept of the people depicted. His photographs oscillate between formal considerations and imaginary potential of the photographed sitter.

In his portraits, he dries glue on inkjet prints to enact a transfer process that partially removes ink from the surface, yet leaves ink on the dried glue peel to duplicate the individual. As a result, the portrait of the print is faded and fragmented with partial physical features remaining. The glue peel offspring are reused in collages to create fantastical interpretations of the bodies.

Throughout all McAfee’s work, the primary concern is to depict visual and physical transformation, in which the superficial read of others are abstracted to render it unstable. This is an attempt to encourage a layered and tangled relationship with whom and what is visually offered. One way he addresses prescribed assumptions is to use historical narratives and portraits. Through using appropriated sources, there is a basis for understanding particular ideas and stories that are passed down and sustained.

The source of the artist’s portraits is The Exhibition of American Negroes organized by W.E.B. Du Bois and Thomas Calloway for the 1900 Paris International Exposition. The exhibition was a photographic, economic, and legislative survey of middle-class blacks in Georgia.


Antonio McAfee is a photographer raised and based in Baltimore, MD. He received his BFA in Fine Art Photography from the Corcoran College of Art and Design. Shortly after, he earned his MFA in Photography from the University of Pennsylvania. In 2011, he received a Post-Graduate Diploma in Art in Arts and Culture Management from the University of the Witwatersrand (Johannesburg, South Africa). His fascination with history, portraiture, and what makes photographs drives his activities.

McAfee has been featured in BmoreArt Magazine, The Washington Post, Washington City Paper, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Mission on Tenth published by California Institute of Integrated Studies, and catalogues published by the University of Pennsylvania and Corcoran College of Art and Design. He participated in residencies at Can Serrat (Spain) and Vermont Studio Center. Antonio was awarded Civil Society Institute Fellowship, Faculty Research and Development Grant from the Corcoran College of Art and Design, Fulbright IIE Grant to Johannesburg, South Africa, Howard Silvertstein Photography Beijing, China Aboard Program, and Dedalus MFA Painting and Sculpture Fellowship. His work has been exhibited at the University of Maryland, College Park Stamp Gallery, George Washington University Gallery 102, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Civilian Art Projects, Flashpoint, Michael Steinberg Gallery, and Terrault Contemporary. Currently, Antonio is an instructor at Montgomery College.

HEATHER THERESA CLARK

HEATHER THERESA CLARK

Heather Theresa Clark builds systems that critique our current world predicament. Her work plays on what she calls cultural neurosis: the human tendency to over-consume, over-build, over-groom, in lieu of direct physical exertion to ensure survival. She views this as a misdirected attempt to satisfy basic primal urges for shelter, food, and clothing in a society where actions are grossly amplified because one gallon of gasoline equals five hundred hours of human work output.

Heather’s perspective has evolved from her background in green building, urban planning, and ecology, and most recently from her life in exurbia, where she has lived and worked for the past six years. She is embedded in a landscape that feeds on cultural neurosis. Meadows, forests, and farms transitioning to tract homes and cul de sacs have become her muse. As an inhabitant of exurbia, Heather is both complicit and trapped in the consumption economy and its byproducts. Here, the uncanny valley, which is usually discussed in relation to artificial intelligence, appears to Heather in the industrially designed and generated vernacular; she works with her hands in defiance.

Heather’s work and life has led her to believe that greater satisfaction can be achieved through physical proximity to meeting one’s basic needs – building with one’s hands, using one’s body, growing one’s own food. She yearns to reinvent how we live, using art, architecture and public interventions to catalyze built environments that power themselves, cleanse themselves, transform waste, provide wildlife habitat, produce food, and deeply satisfy inhabitants.


Heather Theresa Clark utilizes art, architecture, and public interventions to catalyze built environments that power themselves, cleanse themselves, transform waste, provide wildlife habitat, produce food, and enhance the lives of people. Through her art, she demonstrates how present reality is not a given and can be crafted to make life more fulfilling. Heather approaches art making as a planner, green developer, and ecologist.  She holds a Master of Science in Real Estate Development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, School of Architecture and Planning, and a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University, summa cum laude, in Environmental Science and Community Planning, a self-designed major.  As founder of Biome Studio, she has transformed a burned building shell into an open-air theater with a living sculpture; co-created the Busycle, a 15 person-pedal powered bus; overseen the largest deep energy retrofit in the U.S.; converted historic mills into green low-income housing; and installed over one megawatt of solar pv on 2,300 low-income apartments. Heather is also an activist.  Heather is the founder of the Play-In for Climate Action, a family-oriented climate change protest held annually at the US Capitol by Moms Clean Air Force, a special project of the Environmental Defense Fund. Heather is the 2016 recipient of the Virginia Commission for the Arts Sculpture Fellowship Award and the 2017 Artist-in-Residence at the Woods Hole Research Center, the leading global climate change think tank.

HELINA METAFERIA

HELINA METAFERIA

I am interested in using art as an excuse to have meaningful conversations about time, space, and belonging. My art touches on a diasporic longing for a physical and psychic “home,” in a time of increased voluntary and involuntary mass migration of black bodies, particularly for issues pertaining to immigration and gentrification. Through an interdisciplinary practice that is grounded in an exploration of the performative body, I employ performance, video, installation, sculpture, and mark-making to address the complexities of transnational and global identity in our post-modern, post-colonial society. 

In my work, I explore the visual language of maps, lines, text, movement, and circular forms — all tools to help the body navigate the world. Drawing inspiration from the written or spoken word, I develop characters that are perform live. These performance personas activate art objects in ways that are parallel to traditional African art practices, where wearable sculpture intersects with theater and storytelling.

My work is largely inspired by my relocation journey as an artist seeking affordable live/work space, having lived in six major cities, all of which are undergoing massive gentrification. The work is also influenced by my inherited migration story as an American person born to Ethiopian parents. In our current social/political climate, where black lives are continuing to fight to matter in the eyes of dominant culture, my art seeks to consider a reconciliation with the dream for a romanticized


Helina Metaferia is an interdisciplinary artist, working in the areas of performance, video, installation, photography, sculpture, and mark making. Helina completed her Masters of Fine Arts at Tufts University’s School of the Museum of Fine Arts in 2015, where she was the Graduate Student Commencement Speaker and selected as one of the “top MFA students to watch” by the Boston Globe . She has exhibited in solo and group shows at venues such as the Museum of African Diaspora (San Francisco, CA), Museum of Fine Arts (Boston, MA), Galeria Labirynt (Lublin, Poland), Grace Exhibition Space (Brooklyn, NY), and Defibrillator Gallery (Chicago, IL). Her artist residencies include Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, Ox-Bow, Yaddo, and a full fellowship to the Vermont Studio Center. Helina was a 2015-2017 AICAD Teaching Fellow at the San Francisco Art Institute in the Graduate and New Genre departments, and is currently a 2017-2019 Hamiltonian Artists Fellow at Hamiltonian Gallery in Washington, DC.