September 2019 Exhibitions at VisArts

By Editorial Team on September 9, 2019

Fri, 13 September 2019 - Sun, 20 October 2019

Oasa DuVerney, Black Power Wave, Drawing For Protest, 2017, Graphite and neon ink on hand cut paper, 15 x 12 feet, Courtesy of the artist.
Opening Reception and Artist Talk: Friday, September 13 from 7pm to 9:30pm

Curated by Larry Ossei-Mensah, Susan Feld Hilberry Senior Curator at MOCAD, 2019 Mentor for the VisArts Emerging Curator Program
September 4, 2019 – October 20, 2019
Kaplan Gallery, VisArts, 2nd floor
PARALLELS AND PERIPHERIES is an exhibition series curated by Larry Ossei-Mensah the Susanne Feld Hilberry Senior Curator at Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit that investigates how artists make work that explores the narratives, myths, and memories that shape personal, political and societal understanding. Migration and Mobility, which is the third in the series, seeks to explore how emigrant and first generation immigrant artists are using their platform to negotiate issues of migration, mobility, identity, visibility and invisibility in a time of social volatility. Ossei-Mensah is the mentoring curator for the 21st Century Emerging Curator Program, an initiative now in its fourth year that is supported by the Windgate Charitable Foundation.

Courtesy of VisArts.

Lisa Dillin & Nicole A. Martinell
The space between (us)
September 4 – October 20, 2019
Gibbs Street Gallery, VisArts, 1st floor
Performances: September 13, 7 & 7:45 PM
September 14, 2 PM (artist talk to follow) & 7 PM
The space between (us) is an interdisciplinary performance work by visual artist/sculptor Lisa Dillin and Deep Vision Dance Company’s Artistic Director Nicole A. Martinell. The space between (us) unpacks the human experience within the built environment, which commonly evokes feelings of isolation and emotional disconnection from the banal, everyday places we move through and inhabit. Such experiences stem from a variety of factors such as design that separates us from one another and controls our movements in space, social norms that discourage interconnection with those we do not know, and the increasing level of mediated interaction that takes place through digital communication. During four performances, several sculptural objects act as a site for a weaving journey that begins in a meaningless, modern space but, coming unhinged from the norm, is remade into a place of exploration, creativity, freedom, and, ultimately, intimate human connection. A five-channel video piece represents the choreographic work following the initial performances.

Featured dancers include Deep Vision Dance Company members Deontay Gray, Samantha Hopkins, Melissa Lloyd, Sofie Massa, Rachel Moore, Sarah Smith, and Anne Zickefoose.

About the artists:
Lisa Dillin is a Baltimore-based artist and educator working in sculpture and participatory art practices. Her work stems from an interest in the individual human experience within the built environment, forming a comparison with our common ancestral relationships with nature. Dillin holds an M.F.A. from Cranbrook Academy of Art.

Nicole A. Martinell is a choreographer, educator, and founder/artistic director of Deep Vision Dance Company. From grand site works to intimate spaces, Martinell’s choreography questions the complexity of humankind and explores the strange, mysterious beauty of the world around us. Martinell earned her M.F.A. at Texas Woman’s University and teaches at Towson University.

Lisa Moren, Neja Tomšič, Martin Bracelj Baraga and Jaimes Mayhew, NONUMENT 01::McKeldin Fountain, still from augmented reality app, 2018.

NONUMENT 01::McKeldin Fountain
Lisa Moren, Jaimes Mayhew, Neja Tomšič, Martin Bricelj Baraga
September 4 – October 20, 2019
Concourse Gallery, VisArts, 2nd floor
Lisa Moren’s media-based art considers Eastern European monuments, history, and public spaces by collecting ordinary memories from former communist citizens. In 2015 she collaborated with two Slovenian artists on a Baltimore public art project that celebrated the ordinary citizens that make public space vibrant. The final outcome of their project is NONUMENT 01::McKeldin Fountain, an exhibition centered on Baltimore’s rare public fountain that was demolished in 2017. In opposition to bronze and stone, nonument [or “no monument”] celebrates the transitory nature of everyday experiences using new and emerging media forms. McKeldin Fountain was located in a Free Speech zone in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and popular among local workers, tourists and residents. The story of McKeldin Fountain is an example of the escalating privatization of public spaces world-wide, a trend that continues to diminish access to full participation and free speech for ordinary people in everyday urban life. The project documents memories of activists living in the Square during Occupy Baltimore; Women in Black and Black Lives Matter; along with performers, artists, rappers, teachers, a lawyer, a former Baltimore mayor and personal poetic and political stories imbued with the frail democracy of this public Square.

About the Artists:
Lisa Moren is a multi-disciplinary artist whose works with emerging media, public space and works-on-paper. For more than 10 years she has worked with communities to document under-represented memories from Berlin and cities in Central and Eastern Europe that were archived as interactive installations. Lisa has exhibited her work widely at the Chelsea Art Museum, Cranbrook Art Museum and many international venues including Ars Electronica and Akademie der Kunste and the Artists Research Network, part of LaTrobe University in Melbourne, Australia. She has received numerous awards including the National Endowment for the Arts, a multi-year recipient of the Maryland State Arts Council, CEC Artslink International, a Saul Zaentz Innovation Fellow at Johns Hopkins University and many others. Her writing has appeared in Performance Research, Visible Language, Inter Arts Actuel, New Media Caucus for “Algorithmic Pollution: Artists working with Landscape, Surveillance and Code” and “CYBER INSECURITY” and her own books on Intermedia and Issues in Contemporary Theory for “Command Z: Artists Working with Phenomena and Technology.” Lisa Moren is a Professor of Visual Art at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the Graduate Program Director of the M.F.A. program in Intermedia + Digital Art. She lives in Baltimore with her husband and two children.

Jaimes Mayhew is an interdisciplinary artist whose work is collaborative, and based in his interests of land use, speculation and installed environments. Mayhew has received awards and grants from The Fulbright Commission, The Maryland State Arts Council, the Baltimore Museum of Art and Provisions Library. Mayhew’s work has been shown at The Baltimore Museum of Art (Maryland), Arlington Arts Center (Virginia), Eyebeam (New York City), Mass MoCa (Massachusetts), Conflux Festival (Brooklyn), The Chapel of St. Cecilia (Brooklyn, New York), The Red Dawns Festival (Slovenia), 808 Gallery (Boston), The Transmodern Festival (Baltimore, Maryland), Goucher College (Baltimore, Maryland), Hoffmannsgallerí (Reykjavík, Iceland) among others. Mayhew has given talks about his work at Rhode Island School of Design, Emerson College, The Center for Innovation, Research and Creativity in the Arts at UMBC, Johns Hopkins University, Cranbrook Academy of Art, George Washington University and the Corcoran School of Art. His work has been published in Art Papers, Undercurrents Journal, Baltimore City Paper, Washington City Paper, and the Boston Globe. For more information see:

Neja Tomšič is a visual artist and poet from Ljubljana, Slovenia. Since graduating in painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Ljubljana she has been part of several group and solo exhibitions, performing and publishing poetry and prose among others. She researches documentary cinema and related practices in the contemporary art context, which is also the topic of her PhD research at the Department of Philosophy and Theory of Visual Culture at the University of Primorska.

She is a co-founder of MoTA – Museum of Transitory Art, a research and production platform devoted to transitory art and its project space in Ljubljana, formerly the MoTA Point, now the MoTA LAB. Since 2008, she has produced and curated solo exhibitions and projects (Marina Rosenfeld, Jorge Rodriguez Gerada, Lexa Walsh, Baraga etc), group exhibitions (the Ghostwriter Project, Arte/Facts, Cartographies of Transitions, etc), Sonica and Sonica Classics concert series (with Charlemagne Palestine, Hildur Gudnadottir, Jozef van Wissem, Valerio Tricoli, Jason Lescalleet, etc), the Sonica Festival (from 2009 in different venues and public spaces in Ljubljana), symposia (Cartographies of Transition in Nicosia, Cyprus; Third Culture in Ljubljana). She edited the RoboVox.Your Voice reader monuments and robotos, published at rx:tx; Outerviews. Conversations with artists and TRIBE – Excercises in Transitory Art, published by MoTA. She was a Goethe Institut fellow and recipient of ArtsLink Fellowship, followed by the ArtsLink individual projects grant for the project NONUMENT01: The McKeldin Fountain. In 2014-15 she performed in Škrip Inc, a theatre play directed by Jelena Rusjan and was part of the Screech Orchestra group (2011-2013) which toured widely, in New York City among other. She created live visuals for performances of singer Katja Šulc, and performed at festivals Druga Godba, Lent, Dreams Festival and at the Recollets Center in Paris, among others. Her recent project is Tea for Ten: The Opium Clippers, a visual essay joining research and hand painted ceramic tea sets, depicting maritime history related to the opium trade in the 2nd half of 18th and 19th century.

Martin Bricelj Baraga is an artist based in Ljubljana, Slovenia. His interactive works, audiovisual performances and collaborative work research the relation between man and machine, social aspects of contemporary popular culture, future monumentalism and political dimensions of mediated realities of today. His large-scale, architectural installations question symbols and myths as a series of time and space-based experiments. Martin has exhibited worldwide including ICA in London, Sonar in Barcelona, Columbia University in New York, FACT Liverpool, Kinetica ArtFair, Centro cultural Recoleta in Buenos Aires, Kunsthaus Graz, Kaapelithas in Helsinki, Museums Quartier in Vienna, GLOW in Eindhoven and many others. His work has been reviewed and published by Wired,, Pecha Kucha, the New York Art magazine, Harper Collins, El Pais, Actar, Mladina and others. DarkStar, won the GLOWNEXT Festival commission and was exhibited in Eindhoven with over 400,000 visitors and his recent installation Cyanometer at WRO Media Art Biennale 2017 won the critics first prize. His project Everlandiaat the ICA London was listed among the Top five events nation-wide in UK Times. Other media highlights include a special feature in TimeOut London, and interviews on BBC Radio1, wemakemoney-notart; and in the Slovenian Mladina and Sobotna priloga, among others. Martin Bricelj Baraga is the director of MoTA – Museum of Transitory Art and the founder of SONICA Festival in Ljubljana, Slovenia. For more information see

Installation detail from Cy Keener and Justine Holzman’s visualization and record of daily sea ice thickness from locations in the Arctic Ocean.

Sea Ice Change Visible From the Street
Cy Keener and Justine Holzman: Sea Ice 71.348778º N, 156.690918º W
May 15 – September 22, 2019
355 Pod Space
In a seventy-foot window on a major thoroughfare in Rockville, Maryland, interdisciplinary artist Cy Keener with his collaborator landscape designer/researcher Justine Holzman are visualizing data from Arctic Ocean sea ice. On April 5th 2019 Keener placed two small enclosures (buoys) with electronics and a battery inside on a piece of multi-year sea ice near Utqiagvik, Alaska. Multi-year ice is sea ice that has survived one or more summers without melting. Sea ice is ice that forms on top of the ocean out of salt water in the Arctic and Antarctic. It is different from icebergs, which are fresh water and come from glaciers or ice shelves. Multi-year ice can be from one to ten years old.

Each day at 12:30 PM local time, light and temperature readings were collected in the air, ice, and ocean below. These readings were transmitted by satellite from the buoys, and the data was used to create unique drawings. The height of the drawing corresponds to the thickness of the ice at full scale. The color corresponds to the value received by the light sensor every five centimeters through the depth of the ice. The first drawing hung in the installation showed data received on April 6, 2019.

The plan was to continue hanging drawings daily through September to chronicle the presence and absence of this precarious natural phenomena at a critical moment of environmental change. The first buoy was destroyed at the start of the project by a polar bear. The second buoy was transmitting data until sometime between June 13 and 14, when the ice broke up sending the remaining device into the open ocean. From June 14 to June 27 the buoy transmitted temperature data, but no ice color or thickness. From June 28 to July 21 it sent GPS coordinates and then went silent.

Keener and Holzman’s installation at street level is a combination of factual scientific data, live performance, physical manifestation of a phenomena invisible to the human eye, aesthetic decisions, and extreme adventure. “When Cy explained his project to me,” recalls Susan Main, VisArts Gallery Director and Curator, “I imagined these little buoys tucked into the brutal Arctic conditions, bravely sending out messages describing the ice. As Cy and Justine translated their numbers into delicate drawings printed on transparent substrate, the data became daily poems about the body of the ice. They were teeny tiny, high tech, hard workers in a vast wild area always at risk in shifting conditions.”

The two collaborators are not strangers to this sort of moving target where nature, science, and art combine to produce hard scientific evidence and nuanced, poetic art works. Keener, who is also an assistant professor of sculpture and emerging technology at the University of Maryland, uses environmental sensing and kinetic sculpture to record and represent environmental phenomena. Past installations include visualizations of wind, rain, ocean waves, and currents. Holzman, an assistant professor of landscape architecture at the University of Toronto, co-authored Responsive Landscapes, a text of case studies and essays examining the relationship of interactive and responsive projects to landscape or environmental space. In her academic and design work, she regularly collaborates with scientists to visually communicate ecological issues and propose interventions. Her work spans art, design, and environmental science.

Keener admits that when he returned from the Arctic, his idea was to use the window installation like a billboard to tell a big story of climate change. His mock up for the space, he says in hindsight, “was a fantasy.” His rendering for the installation reflected ice slowly and consistently thinning throughout the summer months. Holzman convinced him to focus on the story of the buoy and be prepared for the real narrative. Concentrating on the buoy led to an exhibition of evolving data and aesthetic vision. “The project turned a lens from what used to happen with the thinning of the ice, to a reflection of what is actually happening now,” says Keener. “Last year the melt was in July. This year it was a month earlier. What you used to be able to count on is not reliable. It is not discrete and predictable where the artist fantasy meets the systems developed through scientific data.” To the pedestrians passing by the window, the adventure of the buoys unfolds visually through the icy green color of the drawings, text, and maps that reveal the shrinking ice extant. To the 60,000 cars that whiz by daily, Sea Ice 71.348778º N, 156.690918º W is like the little buoy in the Arctic, a blip in the periphery, hardly noticeable. Only by slowing down, looking and listening carefully does the story sent from the ice become visible and real.

On Thursday, September 12, the public can join Keener and Holzman as they talk with scientists Sinéad Farrell and John Woods about sea ice, the collection of visualization of data, and shifting environmental conditions. The exhibition installation on Route 355 in Rockville, Maryland is on view through September 22, 2019. For more information: Sea Ice 71.348778º N, 156.690918º W

About the Sea Ice Panelists:
Sinéad Louise Farrell is an associate professor with the Department of Geographical Sciences at the University of Maryland, College Park. Dr. Farrell received her Ph.D. in Space and Climate Physics from University College London in 2007. Her primary fields of study are cryospheric sciences and remote sensing, with a particular focus on Arctic sea ice. She is a member of the Science Team for the recently-launched NASA ICES at-2 satellite and is part of the Mission Advisory Group for the proposed Polar Ice and Snow Topography Altimeter satellite.

John Woods recently joined the Office of Naval Research-Global as a country director focusing on polar issues. John studied Oceanography and Meteorology at the United States Naval Academy and the Naval Postgraduate School. He served in the United States Navy as a Surface Warfare Officer and Meteorology and Oceanography (METOC) Officer. His tours included the USS Cleveland (LPD-7), U.S. National Ice Center, and teaching at the U.S. Naval Academy. His prior positions included being the project manager for NASA’s Operation IceBridge and a physical scientist with NOAA focused on sea ice.

About the Artists:
Justine Holzman is an assistant professor of landscape architecture at the University of Toronto and a member of the Dredge Research Collaborative. Holzman researches landscape infrastructure, responsive technologies in landscape architecture, and the epistemic history of scientific landscape modelling. Holzman previously taught at the University of Tennessee and Louisiana State University as a visiting assistant professor. At LSU, Holzman worked as a research fellow with the LSU Coastal Sustainability Studio, a transdisciplinary research studio with scientists, engineers, and designers working on coastal issues in Louisiana. Holzman is co-author of Responsive Landscapes: Strategies for Responsive Technologies in Landscape Architecture(2016), which includes case studies and essays framing interactive or responsive projects and their relationship to landscape and environmental space. Holzman holds an M.L.A. from LSU and a B.A. in Landscape Architecture from UC Berkeley. Faculty Page.

Cy Keener is an interdisciplinary artist who uses environmental sensing and kinetic sculpture to record and represent environmental phenomena. He is an Assistant Professor of Sculpture and Emerging Technology at the University of Maryland’s Department of Art. Recent work includes installations that visualize rain, wind and ocean waves. He received a Master of Fine Arts from Stanford University, and a Master of Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley. Cy has completed commissioned installations at Stanford University, the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and the Rubin Center for the Visual Arts at the University of Texas. Over the past year, he has presented his work at ISEA in Durban South Africa, the National Academy of Sciences in Washington D.C., as well as The Nature Conservancy and The National Arts Club in New York.

VisArts at Rockville is located three blocks from the Rockville Metro station at 155 Gibbs Street, Rockville, MD.