Nadia Shinkunas: I live for the shadows, negative space, and details perceived as insignificant, but couldn’t be farther from that. We absorb a massive amount of visual information daily, but do we really comprehend what we see? In this fast paced world, I focus on how seemingly minuscule variables, light, shadow, location; constantly alter our perceptions without us even noticing.
Megan McClintic: Currently, I ask others for objects to paint. I request the object has importance to them but allow them to interpret what that means. For example, the importance might be the struggle for a better life for a daughter or remembering a loved one. Gathering objects from people began as a self-healing method and became a project that touches the lives of others.
After experiencing trauma, moving forward is difficult. The comfort of knowing what to expect can be easier than facing the fear of the unknown. Past trauma misled me into believing I could not form meaningful connections with others. My work challenges this thought. I reach out to others and learn important details of their lives. I celebrate their accomplishments and offer comfort for pain. In return, I receive gratitude and triumph over trauma.
The #metoo Movement influences the way I approach my work. #metoo became a battle cry for awareness and change. Although #metoo has made positive strides, it is not entirely conducive for survivors’ healing. Survivors stand in different places in their path towards hope. Tarana Burke started ‘Me too’ as a subtle way for survivors to share comfort between one another. While the need for bold change persists, so does urgency for a softer, compassionate form of healing. Although I do not strictly ask survivors for objects, my work demonstrates the idea of tenderness in social change.
Shawn Teseo Ballarin: My paintings explore the themes of travel, isolation and change through simple, sometimes primal subject matter. The rhythmic use of pattern and expressive brushstrokes are intended to give the paintings a soothing, comforting quality that I hope reflects the human tendency to find peace or even beauty when faced with struggle or pain. I am interested in straddling the line between abstraction and representation. I hope the layers in my paintings, particularly the deepest ones that are often barely visible, inspire viewers to look carefully at the work and to reflect on what else might lie underneath.