For the eighth year, Torpedo Factory Art Center welcomes four emerging artists to participate in the Post-Grad Residency Program: Mrinal Joshi, Julia O’Bryan, Kiel Posner, and Sarah Reagan. The Post-Grad Residents are in Studio 319 at the Art Center, located at 105 N. Union St. in Alexandria, Va.
This competitive juried program provides three months of exclusive access to a studio in the Art Center. Therein, artists can create and sell work, interact with the public and connect with other arts professionals. The residency is unique for addressing the critical post-graduation juncture in an artist’s career, offering an opportunity for professional development, networking and a chance to define their practice outside of the academic context.
Applications were open to recently graduated students who earned a bachelor’s or master’s art degree from an accredited university. Submissions were accepted from across the nation, provided artists submit proof of their permanent residence in the area and/or commitment to contributing to the future of the region’s arts scene.
“This program is about hosting and supporting rising artists within our creative community,” said Brett Johnson, director of Torpedo Factory Art Center. “The residency has many opportunities for innovation and collaboration, between artists and visitors alike. We hope this studio continues to be a place where people exchange perspectives, techniques and ideas.”
The 2022 program culminates in a group exhibition in Target Gallery, the Art Center’s contemporary exhibition space, December 17, 2022– January 22, 2023.
The residency jurors were Jordan Brown, director of education and programs at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond (VisArts) and Oshun Layne, independent curator and arts administrator.
2022 Post-Graduate Residents
Mrinal Joshi: January – March
Spring Hill College, 2018
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art and Graphic Design
Mrinal Joshi is an artist and graphic designer based in Washington, DC. Born in Kathmandu, Nepal, he emigrated to the U.S. at the age of 14. Mrinal’s artistic practice lies at the intersections of his lifelong fascination with culture and the collective consciousness. His artistic practice is a marriage of classical western art and contemporary culture, the old and the new, the highbrow and the lowbrow, the timeless and the transient. He synthesizes art history with contemporary visual culture to question where his generation fits in the collective psyche and the broader human experience.
During his residency, Mrinal will work on a body of work that addresses themes of coming of age, identity, emotional vulnerability, and interconnectedness in a digital age. The space afforded in Studio 319 will allow him to realize this vision as he continues to define his artistic practice and narrative. The public nature of the space will allow him to consider how cathartic his art can be to collective healing as we continue through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Julia O’Bryan: April – June
Southwestern University, 2019
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ceramics
Julia O’Bryan is a graduate of Southwestern University in Georgetown, TX. Her work is inspired by her struggle with an autoimmune disease that damages her lungs. She uses coral reefs as a metaphor for this destruction of her lungs. Just as reefs fight for survival against bleaching as their environments grow more toxic and unhealth, so too is Julia. She creates work that gives the sense of a beautiful life well lived.
During her residency, Julia will explore themes of living with an aggressive medical condition, especially amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Art is cathartic to the maker and the viewer alike. She will incorporate ideas of art as a coping mechanism for mental health, for expression when words fail. In this way, she hopes to impact visitors who may need joy, hope, and support.
Sarah Reagan: July – September
Virginia Commonwealth University, 2022
Master of Fine Arts in Craft/Material Studies
Sarah Reagan is a cross-disciplinary artist who blends her forms with kinetic sculpture and social practice. Her work pays homage to her inner child by respecting their wildest dreams and acknowledging their greatest fears. It expresses her desire to control painful memories through humor in imaginative storytelling. She contrasts harsh wooden and concrete structures with playful balloons, colorful vinyl, and holographic glitter.
During her residency, she will create a line of camp-informed inflatable protective gear, transforming into gaudy garments as they release air through their seams. She will also hand-carve wooden figures to wear them. These garments form armor to depict defense mechanisms as “wearables.”
Kiel Posner: October – December
Virginia Commonwealth University, 2020
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Craft and Materials Studies
Kiel is a Queer Jewish ceramicist currently living in Bethesda, Maryland. They were awarded a Fellowship from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts while still in school and now teaches ceramics classes at Vis Arts
Rockville and The District Clay Center. Kiel’s current work is inspired by their great grandfather, who owned a button factory after immigrating from Eastern Europe in 1912. All that remains of his company, which once produced goods for Macy’s and Disney, are boxes of unused waterslide decal remnants and a dusty kiln. Kiel has been repurposing them on second-hand, mass-produced ceramics with glitchy patterns that create optical illusions and disturb the viewer’s trust with their own senses, similar to the distrust that has sprouted in an age of disinformation.
During their residency, Kiel will scale-up their compositions to be on hand-built surfaces specifically tailored to each collage. The open and public nature of Studio 319 will give them a chance to create open dialogue with visitors about how history is processed through different contexts, frameworks, and intersections.
About Torpedo Factory Art Center
Founded in 1974 in an old munitions plant, Torpedo Factory Art Center is home to the nation’s largest number of publicly accessible working artist studios under one roof. The City of Alexandria manages Torpedo Factory Art Center through the Office of the Arts, a division of the Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural. Just south of Washington, D.C., Torpedo Factory Art Center overlooks the Potomac River in the Old Town section of Alexandria, Va. Each year, more than a half-million national and international visitors meet and interact with more than 160 resident artists in 74 studios and 8 galleries. For more information, visit torpedofactory.org or follow the Art Center on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest via @torpedofactory.