Here Comes the Sun
An Illuminating Group Exhibition at URSA Gallery
24 April–31 July 2021
Saturday, 24 April, 5–8pm
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Bridgeport, CT––Here Comes the Sun is an illuminating exhibition that celebrates a new chapter within our community, marking a time of revival and hope. Drawing parallels between the uplifting transition from winter to warmth and the pandemic to a new normal, Here Comes the Sun serves not only as an opportunity to reflect but also to look forward, in anticipation of brighter times. The presentation showcases the works of fourteen contemporary artists whose dynamic visions will uplift and restore our perspectives in a variety of ways: Jae Hi Ahn, Mario Baez, Miggs Burroughs, Chris Coffin, Erich Davis, Paul Eis, Frank Foster Post, Iyaba Ibo Mandingo, Franchell Mack Brown, Sooo-z Mastropietro, Takeshi Miyakawa, Sophie Sevigny, Marlene Siff, and Arjan Zazueta. The works in this diverse exhibition range from painting, photography, and sculpture to multidisciplinary practices that incorporate a range of surprising—often uplifting—materials.
Curated by Cris Dam and Dustin Malstrom of URSA Gallery, the show will open on 24 April during the ARTcade, an indoor/outdoor festival featuring live music, city and statewide vendors, and exhibits with partnering galleries that include City Lights Gallery, Bridgeport Art Trail, The Firm Gallery, BPT Creates, WPKN Radio, and Arcade artists Liz Squillace of Paradox Ink, Phil Post of Dertbag, Cris Dam, and Ruben Marroquin.
URSA Gallery is a contemporary art gallery located in the historic Arcade Mall in Bridgeport. URSA is founded by Bridgeport-based artist Cris Dam and is conceived in collaboration with Dustin Malstrom. For more information on URSA, visit the website at www.ursa.gallery.
New York-based artist Jae Hi Ahn was born in Seoul and grew up in Dangjin, South Korea. Her complex assemblages are made by repurposing and reusing everyday materials in ways that pay tribute to nature, inviting the viewer to journey to wherever the piece takes them. Ahn received her BFA in sculpture from Chungnam National University in South Korea and an MFA from C.W. Post Campus/LIU in New York. Ahn’s awards, residencies, and exhibitions include the Puffin Foundation Grant, the Steinhardt Conservatory Gallery at Brooklyn Botanic Garden, The Field Sculpture Park at Omi, Urban Artist Initiative Fellowship, and Dam Stuhltrager Gallery in Williamsburg.
Mario Baez is a self-taught artist born and raised in Bridgeport. Working in the abstract, he began painting in his early twenties as a creative outlet, but over many years began using his art as a kind of meditation. Working mainly with acrylic, gels, and resin, Baez uses color and texture to capture different emotional states in his work to elicit different feelings from the viewer. His main goal is to provoke introspection and curiosity through his art, while creating something beautiful out of life’s joys and hardships.
A lifelong Westporter and graphic artist, Miggs Burroughs has designed hundreds of logos, websites, and print materials. Miggs has won much acclaim for his work with lenticular imagery, which has been exhibited in numerous solo shows throughout Fairfield County since 2003, and has won several “Best in Show” awards. With a fine arts degree from Carnegie Mellon University, Miggs has taught graphic design at Fairfield University and University of Connecticut and has written and produced a problem-solving video for children. He is a member of the Westport Arts Center and the Silvermine Arts Center in New Canaan.
Chris Coffin is a surfer, ocean lifeguard, and open-water swimmer. He is a two-time New York Foundation for the Arts grant recipient, a Rema Hort Mann grant nominee, and a Fulbright Scholarship nominee. He has been reviewed in The New York Times, Addict Magazine, Long Island Newsday, The New Haven Independent, and the Williamsburg–Greenpoint News + Arts. His work has been lectured on at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Coffin resides in Connecticut with his family and creates his work in and around the waterways of Brooklyn, Long Island, and the New England Coast.
Erich Davis is a Connecticut-based sculptor, designer, and maker whose work includes public and private sculpture commissions, custom furniture design, fabrication, and creative direction. Davis’s diverse work traverses many modalities, media, and themes, and his collaborations with other artists, designers, architects, and entrepreneurs have yielded commissions nationwide. He views each project as an opportunity to explore new media, face new challenges, and discover new ways of seeing the world through collaboration and the creative process. Davis considers himself a New Haven artist and has created signature pieces for local restaurants and businesses, with public sculpture installations at the University of New Haven.
Paul Eis is a photographer and aspiring architect born and raised in Berlin. He photographs buildings and then digitally colorizes their facades. Starting with adding colors to the iconic socialist Plattenbauten from the former GDR, he now is doing makeovers of modernist facades all over the world. His artistic intent is to demonstrate how the use of color effects on primarily grey, modern buildings can elicit inspiration and appreciation for joyful architecture. The series is not primarily meant as critique on the building’s design itself but rather on the mostly uninspiring city planning in our time. Currently, Eis is living and studying architecture at the University of Art and Industrial Design in Linz, Austria.
Works by Frank Foster Post are dominated by brightly colored cartoon figures with black outlines. The characters are a metaphor for the human condition. As a musician (drummer), the images are heavily influenced by the blues and movie soundtracks. Post played in a dozen different countries before settling in a loft in New York City and painting full time. He now resides and paints in Connecticut. Post’s work can be seen at Woodward Gallery, New York.
Painter, poet, writer, actor, and playwright, Iyaba Ibo Mandingo is a native of Antigua, West Indies, and came to the United States in 1980 as a young boy. His earliest exposure to the arts was through his mother, a trained singer, and his grandparents, a tailor and a seamstress who first introduced him to colors and patterns, paving a path to many ways of expression: drawing, painting, sculpting, writing, and performing. Mandingo studied fine arts at Southern Connecticut State University and today teaches in the tristate area as a Master Teaching Artist.
Franchell Mack Brown is an American fiber/jewelry artist employing an amalgam of materials in her practice. From the pliancy of crocheted ribbon to industrial cording and the solidity of welding, she juxtaposes soft and hard, exploring the dualities of being. Undulating forms and dripping tendrils suggest movement evocative of Nick Cave’s Soundsuits. Color and texture prevail in ecstatic collision, echoing her fascination with Egungun masking traditions and Native American tribal ceremonies. With her background as a jewelry designer, she features semiprecious gemstones, particularly freshwater pearls, in much of her work. The pearl embodies individuality. Each is a unique speck emerging from metamorphosis as an exquisite gem, a metaphor for the development and full expression of self.
An artist to the core, Westport-based creator Sooo-z Mastropietro lives the very art she explores through painting, mixed media, and textile engineering. She often experiments in specific genres that offer varying technical practices or satisfy a creative burst; themes develop as observations of current events in her life. Her voice as an artist is constantly evolving through the need to experiment, but the constant of a calculated yet spirited execution remains. She adopted the triple “o” spelling of her name in order to clearly identify herself as a creative individual not afraid of the perilous task of being tagged artist.
Takeshi Miyakawa is a Brooklyn-based artist and designer. Born and educated in Tokyo, Takeshi began his career in construction for Toyo Construction Corporation in 1985 after architecture school. In 1989, he moved to New York City, working as a cabinet maker for Stephen Rohner Furniture. Soon after, he began making architectural models for Rafael Viñoly Architects. Today, Miyakawa continues a lifetime of experience in art, construction, and architecture, building custom specialty millwork for commercial and residential spaces, as well as his personal art and furniture pieces.
Sophie Sevigny was born in Austria and grew up in a small town in the countryside. She attended Central Saint Martins College of Art in London, graduating with a degree in fine arts, and later moved to New York City, where she worked for the Luhring Augustine Gallery and then with artist Rirkrit Tiravanija. A lifelong sailor, Sevigny often found herself surrounded by sailing lines and was always attracted to a nautical element in design. But it was after pursuing a book of knots on a Nantucket trip that she was mesmerized by their functionality and beauty. Always looking for a more sustainable option in both art and fashion, Sevigny launched SerpentSea, a company that turns recycled sailing rope into elaborate handwoven mats and accessories—or the old into the new.
Marlene Siff’s paintings, sculptures, and works on paper––often rendered in multi-dimensions with multi-layerings––convey a sense of harmony, balance, order, and spirituality. Her work has been exhibited in museums and galleries throughout the United States and abroad, including the U.S. Capitol Building, Washington, D.C.; B’nai B’rith Klutznick National Jewish Museum, Washington, D.C.; Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield; and Galerie Musée in Nagoya, Japan. Siff was born and raised in the Bronx. She graduated from the eponymous High School of Music and Art in New York (now Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, located near Lincoln Center), and went on to major in art at Hunter College, where she received her BA and was elected to Kappa Pi, the International Honorary Art Fraternity.
Arjan Zazueta is a multi-disciplinary visual artist based in Brooklyn. His work is centered on notions of beauty and transformation. He received a BFA in Sculpture from Virginia Commonwealth University and an MFA in Sculpture from Syracuse University. His exhibitions include The John and June Alcott Gallery at UNC Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Demo Project, Springfield, Illinois; Tilton Gallery, New York City; Rush Arts Gallery, New York City; Dog and Pony Projects, Buffalo, New York; and Bemis Underground, Omaha, among others. He has attended residencies at The Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Vermont Studio Center, and The Ora Lerman Trust at Soaring Gardens.