WPKN Archives: Live Culture with Martha Willette Lewis--Episode 15

Episode Info

Live Culture

Original Aired:
Saturday, May 28th, 2016
11:01AM to 12:00PM

59 minutes

Saturday, May 28th, 2016 11:00AM

german talk hartford art culture matrix visual debbie design fineart installation branford wadsworthathenaeum vanessa hesse seaweed vauiso greenhouse


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Episode: Live Culture with Martha Willette Lewis--Episode 15

This month's episode begins in conversation with Vanessa German, the current artist at The Wadsworth Athenaeum’s MATRIX series. German’s installation “i come to do a violence to the lie” . MATRIX 174 will transform the Bunce Gallery into an underground excavation site, with strings of bare light bulbs minimally illuminating a powerful female army of over 30 of German’s figurative sculptures installed in military formation on an earthen floor. The presentation was inspired by the estimated 7,000 terra cotta warriors buried near the 2,000 year-old tomb of Chinese Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi.

In her signature prose, German describes them as:

“an army of healers.an army of weepers. An army of protectors. Armed and dangerous upon the lie.” She defines their role in “a sustained accumulation of destruction to the vicious and debilitating compendium of hate, lies, and murder; the shapeshifting nature of the weapons aimed against my very flesh and soul. (i do not have to tell you that___black lives matter.)”

In May she was artist in residence at Hartford Public Schools.
In July she will return to Hartford for summer sessions with community groups including True Colors, Real Art Ways’ Park Art, Billings Forge Community Works, and The Wadsworth Atheneum’s Summer Community Studio.

Vanessa German lives in the Homewood section of Pittsburgh, where crime, drugs, and
gun violence continually wreak havoc on the historically African-American urban community,
and where many residents have personal connections to the victims of violence. In response to
her life experiences, German creates inspiring sculptures in the tradition of African “Nkisi”
power figures, divine protective objects thickly encrusted with nails, beads, shells, and found
objects that evoke suits of armor. Housing mystical forces to eradicate evil, German’s enigmatic
contemporary variations of the ritualistic sculptures embody a performative, spiritual, and
affirming function.

Matrix 174 begins June 9 and runs through Sept. 4, 2016.
An exhibition opening reception on June 8 will feature a performance of German’s
signature style of spoken word opera, a hybrid of spoken word poetry combining the theatrical
elements of hip hop, African storytelling and opera. Tickets are available for purchase online at www.thewadsworth.org.

The Wadsworth Athenaeum Museum of Art is located at 600 Main Street Hartford, CT 06013

During the second half of the show, Martha is in discussion with Artist Debbie Hesse about her project Sway. Shift: Sea Garden, version 12.0, A community-enhanced installation at Vauiso Greenhouse Growers, located at 75 Hosely Ave., Branford. The installation is on view May 10-June 15, during daily retail hours.

This work aims to spark a visual conversation about the relationship between agriculture and ocean Farming while highlighting local initiatives to grow underwater restorative sea gardens that address issues of food security and the environment.

Hesse has partnered with multiple organizations for this project including Vauiso farms and Green Wave. This project is the aftermath of her fall residency at Hongti Art Center in Busan, South Korea where she researched traditional seaweed cultivation practices and created a video installation.

Debbie Hesse is an installation artist who combines organic and artificial materials and forms with cast and painted shadows to create parallel, hybrid, ephemeral environments that explore ideas about growth, materiality and the ethereal.

Debbie was recently awarded an International Artist-in-Residence in Busan, South Korea, a Regional Art Initiative Grant from the Connecticut Office of the Arts and Shoreline Arts Aliance and is a recipient of a Rhode Island Visual Artist Sea Grant, a Connecticut Visual Artist Sea Grant, and a Vermont Studio Residency Individual Grant.


playlist of music excerpts:
Hell you Talmbout,
Janelle Monae and Wonderland

Burn the Witch,
radiohead, moon shaped pool

Octopus’s Garden
Rockabye Baby! lullaby renditions of beatles songs

Show: Live Culture

Live Culture is a discussion of ideas in and around contemporary art, with monthly themes and guests. Join host Martha Willette Lewis on the last Saturday of every month from 11am - 12 noon for an engrossing hour of talk and music.

Listen to PODCASTS of the show on the PKN Soundcloud LIVE CULTURE playlist here!

SUBSCRIBE HERE for  monthly information about the forthcoming episode.

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