Episode 3 | Sandow Birk and Elyse Pignolet
While maintaining their own artistic careers, husband and wife Sandow Birk and Elyse Pignolet frequently team up to create prints, installations, murals, and films, examining and often lampooning contemporary American life and politics. Merging her background as a ceramicist and his as a printmaker and painter, the couple, according to Birk, works together “really well and it’s a total team effort, from the initial ideas and discussions about concepts, to the fabrication and installation of works.” Their home city of Los Angeles often serves as their primary inspiration. Among their recent collaborations is a diptych of sorts, two lithographed maps of the world titled A Conservative Map of the World and A Liberal Map of the World (2011). Smart and sarcastic, these maps re-label land and sea according to the worldviews of liberals and conservatives—vastly opposed, equally strident. -Artsy
Episode 2 | May Tveit
May Tveit is an artist who creates large scale and formally succinct sculptural work and installations that are impactful, relevant and memorable. Found in traditional art venues or in nontraditional settings her works may exist for a few hours, a few days, or longer. She typically employs readymade products and architectural structures to investigate systems of order, desire, and use. The visually playfulness in her work generally serves as a seductive entry, giving way to provocation and criticality.
She’s had solo exhibitions at the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Studios Inc. and the Epsten Gallery. Her work has been featured in Art in America, Art Practical, Review Magazine and National Public Radio. Tveit is a Charlotte Street Fellow, recipient of an Andy Warhol Foundation Rocket Grant, American Institute of Architects Allied Arts & Craftsmanship Award and multiple Arts KC inspiration grants. Tveit was selected and participated in Art OMI international artist residency; Creative Capital professional development workshop and has received creative work fellowships and travel grants in support of public happenings in Kansas, New York, Europe and Mongolia. Her work is included in the collections of Hallmark, National Center for Drug Free Sport, Fishnet Security, The MDC Museum of Art and Design and private collections.
Tveit has taught at the Rhode Island School of Design, The Kansas City Art Institute and currently teaches at the University of Kansas. Tveit received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, studied in Rome with the RISD European Honors Program, and received her MastersDegree in Industrial Design from the Domus Academy in Milan, Italy.
Episode 1 | Hugh Merrill
Hugh Merrill began his artistic career in 1969 at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland. Very quickly he found himself focused on printmaking, specifically working on etchings of the urban environment in the 1970’s. He resisted the term landscape as a description of his work, feeling the term looked backward towards a time when the relationship between mankind and nature was dominated by romantic ideas of progress. Instead, Merrill referred to these etchings as real-estatescapes, a phrase meant to represent the dominance of society over nature. Nature had been divided up for the economic benefit of industrial corporations. Landscapes were for sale, and he wanted his prints and drawings to confront this reality. His early affinity for printmaking was due in part to an undiagnosed learning disability that made it extremely difficult for him to read. To his eyes, the white spaces of a page dominated the text and the entire page vibrated before him. He often saw words in reverse. Not surprisingly, printmaking’s reliance on the reversal of the drawn image became a natural area of investigation. He discovered a means to achieve his vision, and printmaking became his primary means of expression for the next four decades.
Learn more about Hugh Merrill at his website here.