Meet EMULSION 2016 Artists: D through K

By Editorial Team on March 31, 2016


Kristine DeNinno


Artist statement

As a printmaker, I am fascinated with the manipulation of a two-dimensional surface to create a dialogue with three-dimensional space. The qualities of form, depth, and materiality of painting, design, and drawing inform each of my prints. The intuitive process of immediate decisions in mark making form layers of textures that have become vital to the artwork. I am greatly inspired by environmental surroundings.

Cochineal 40˝ x 28˝ Printmaking — monotype/chine colle

The organic shapes allow the work to react to the space around it, achieving a sense of natural growth. The viewer’s own linear narrative is considered when creating the work, invoking the questions: “what they are looking into?” and “where are they looking into?” I encourage the ultimate experience of the work to be left in the viewer’s own hands, this can evoke and distort their interpretation of both the tangible space in which they inhabit or an abstract place they are searching for.



Michelle Dickson

How long have you worked as an artist?

I’ve always wanted to be an artist ever since I could pick up a pencil and draw. I’ve been working professionally as an artist since graduating with my MFA in 2011.

Discuss your process- What medium do you use? Do you work with other mediums?

I call myself a mixed media artist because I don’t confine myself to a single material or process. I make sculpture using a combination of found natural material (especially wood) as well as plaster, wax, and oil paint. I also make drawings that are a mixture of collage, printmaking, and drawing. My work is based in process and experimentation and I work intuitively. I make something and respond to it, add on and take away, build up and obscure. I work in layers. What emerges in one piece may inform another that I’m working on simultaneously.

Neither Mine Nor Yours, 5 34˝ x 12˝x 5˝ Plaster, driftwood, seedpods, oil paint, and encaustic wax

What would you like viewers to know about your piece?

Neither Mine Nor Yours, 5 is part of an ongoing series. This series of sculptures uses the form of the self-portrait to investigate identity and my place in a world where the political, social, and environmental future seems more uncertain than ever. The sculptures begin with a plaster cast of my face and are paired with a piece of found wood (primarily driftwood) gathered on hikes in the DC and Baltimore area.

Artist Statement

Contemplation of time and mortality is not new in my work, but in Neither Mine Nor Yours there is a more inward approach.  This series of sculptures uses the form of the self-portrait to investigate identity and my place in a world where the political, social, and environmental future seems more uncertain than ever. The uncertainty ever-present in life is a driving force behind my work. Confronting and accepting a constantly evolving state of change is a recurring theme.

The sculptures start with a plaster cast of my face that is then paired with a piece of wood. The wood was gathered on numerous hikes in the DC and Baltimore area and what happens in the studio is intuitive. My process involves making something and responding to it, adding on and taking away, building up and obscuring. In Neither Mine Nor Yours ones relationship with and connection to nature has come forward in ways that I haven’t considered in the past. I have long been interested in the similarity found in shape and texture across different parts of life- especially how the structure of rivers are like highways, veins, and root systems along with the similarity between skin and bark.  Just as the contemplation of time and mortality has turned inward in this body of work, so has my exploration of nature. Previous bodies of work have focused on the effect of time on nature, with its cycles of growth, death, and decay. In Neither Mine Nor Yours, the effect of the human footprint on the environment is also investigated. The paradox of “man’s destruction of the environment, he needs to survive” rises to the forefront. And with that there is an overarching sense of fragility- both of the body and of the world around us.


Sara Dittrich


How long have you worked as an artist?  When did you start? 

I am really fortunate to have parents who realized and supported my interest in art from a very young age.  In 2014 I graduated with my B.F.A and have continued to make and exhibit work since then.

Discuss your process—what medium do you use?  Do you work with other mediums?

I often use a variety of mediums including sculpture, musical performance, video, electronic and interactive technologies.  Typically, in my practice using one medium naturally leads to using another, such as using video to document a performance.  I only very recently have felt led to explore more 2D mediums such as drawing and photography.  I gravitate towards using so many mediums because there is a certain creative freedom that comes with working in a naïve nature.  You do not become weighed down by what previous artists in that medium have done, or get caught up in having correct technique, or discard ideas because you think it’s not possible/feasible.

I hear you, do you hear me? 23.5˝ x 23.25˝ x 2.25˝ Polymer clay, spray paint, acrylic paint on panel
I hear you, do you hear me? 23.5˝ x 23.25˝ x 2.25˝ Polymer clay, spray paint, acrylic paint on panel

What would you like viewers to know about your piece?

I hear you, do you hear me? was inspired by the everyday activity of listening to the environment that surrounds us on a local and global level.  I chose for the work to mimic the white walls of a gallery space in order for the viewer to focus strictly on the forms found within the work.

Artist statement:

I often take a multimedia approach, incorporating elements of sculpture and performance to investigate the dynamic acts of listening, communicating and moving. Philosopher Henri Lefebvre’s text, “Rhythmanalysis”, has inspired my newest body of work as he writes, “He listens—and first to his body; he learns rhythm from it, in order consequently to appreciate external rhythms. His body serves him as a metronome.” In Lefebvre’s text he further explains how the body is the first point of analysis when it comes to interpreting the myriad of rhythms that surround us (e.g. social, cultural, musical, biological, environmental). I use devices such as repetition, absurdity, and collaboration to filter in the physical rhythms and movements of the body created by the accumulation of footsteps, breaths, and heartbeats. These tools work together to place the viewer in the here and now, and create spaces to “just be”.


Spencer Dormitzer


How long have you worked as an artist?  When did you start?

After finishing my stint at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1988, I have continued to be a working artist for close to 30 years in Chicago, New York and now Washington DC. I distinctly remember telling my father when I was 6 years old that I was going to be an artist, then drawing furiously outside the lines of a page in a coloring book because “that’s what artists do dad!”

Discuss your process—what medium do you use?  Do you work with other mediums?

I started my career as a painter, but after a hiatus in making art to concentrate on other creative endeavors (Executive Production, Urban Marketing and most importantly, fatherhood) and a transformational move to Washington DC, I found myself one day in front of a piece of paper with a very small archival black ink pen. Twelve hours later (including breaks) I found a new process of creating art and a new sense of purpose as an artist. These drawings take days and sometimes weeks to create, with a continual scribbling mark being used. This arduous process can seem meditative; and at times it is… But in truth, a session of drawing encapsulates a full emotional spectrum.

I Forgot. Well, I’m Pretty Sure I Forgot 30˝ x 22˝ framed. (left) Did You Do as You Do? 24x18’’ framed Archival Ink Drawings on Paper. (right).
I Forgot. Well, I’m Pretty Sure I Forgot 30˝ x 22˝ framed (left) & Did You Do as You Do? 24″ x 18’’ framed Archival Ink Drawings on Paper. (right).

What would you like viewers to know about your piece?

These 2 selected drawings were both created in the same month and embody a fruitful and confident time in my life. I am very proud that they were selected to be a part of Emulsion 2016 and I believe that these works speak to not only my process as an artist, but my ideas of art-making as a whole.

Artist Statement

Conceptualization of my work mostly comes from an instinctive, trusted place. The true endeavor is carrying out the idea. Scribbling seems so easy; a natural, even simple form of artistic gesture. To carry out an idea through a mere scribble can bring about a strange, and often difficult process, where many emotions rise and fall throughout the completion of a drawing.

I consider myself a broken storyteller, using abstract and inanimate forms to ambiguously unite with a title. This connection results to form an abstruse conversation between artist, the artwork and the audience.

Artist Statement Afterthought

Ellipsis has always stood as the most important punctuation to me. Though the textbook definition states an ellipsis as “the omission of an implied word”, I have always used it as a vague continuation of a finished sentence… A trailing off, so to speak. I find myself using this punctuation often (many times incorrectly I assume), maybe because I never want to feel finished with a thought, or more likely, I don’t want the person I am corresponding with, through art or letter, to be finished with my thought. When ideas linger, through word, image, or in combination, this is where good things come from…


*These artworks are hand drawn with archival ink. They are not prints or mixed media. The numbers to the right of the title refer to the month and the year the drawing was completed, not the number of an edition.


Michael Fischerkeller

How long have you worked as an artist?  When did you start?

I’ve been working as an artist for nearly three years.  My first artwork was produced in June of 2013.

Discuss your process—what medium do you use?  Do you work with other mediums?

I work exclusively with acrylic spray paint on canvas, occasionally embellishing an artwork with acrylic markers. I begin with a socio-political issue I’m inspired to throw light upon. Inspiration may come from a meditation or imagery from historical artworks.  After researching an issue and arriving at an approach to presenting its “truth”, a mental construct is built incorporating all relevant imagery and other key compositional elements. A finished artwork emerges after 30-45 days of stencil creation and 3-4 days of painting.

Rising Seas (Climate Change II) 36˝ x 48˝ Acrylic spray paint on canvas

What would you like viewers to know about your piece?

Scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal. “Climate change” refers to long-period, broad range changes our planet is experiencing as a consequence of this warming, resulting in increasing risks of more frequent and punishing occurrences of extreme weather events. We know the human and economic costs of these extreme events can be staggering. If Congress does not respond aggressively to warming, it will put the future of our country at ever-increasing risk.

Rising Seas is the second painting in my Climate Change series.  Numerous studies and forecasts have identified coastal areas, including large cities, at risk to tidal flows. Washington, DC., is one such area.  Were the sea level to rise three meters, a conservative forecast compared with many, most of the Jefferson Memorial Park and half of the walk-up to the Jefferson Memorial itself would be under water.  Figures from a William-Adolphe Bouguereau artwork were appropriated – Junes Bohemiennes (1879) – to remind all the choices we make now (or do not make) will affect our children.

Artist Statement

Through a street art aesthetic I strive to capture a shared social conscience and offer truths of increasingly complex and significant political, economic and social issues of our time; where light shines, shadows fall. Candor and social justice drive my creative process resulting in stark yet elegant artwork that encourages an audience to critically view their world, focus on what is habitually overlooked, face what may be uncomfortable truths, and act to improve their lives and those of others.  At every opportunity I reference values, satirically or directly – integrity, humility, compassion, selflessness, trustworthiness, responsibility, and dependability – on large canvases of size and weight consistent with the gravity of the issues to which they speak.  Truths are transcribed through acrylic spray paint—a street artist’s instrument—as the “street” is most often and most severely deprived of social justice.  Images of the feminine from centuries-old artwork, often of moralist movements, are routinely appropriated and embedded into compositions to suggest causality between the current imbalance of the feminine and masculine in our social constructs and institutions and many of the social ills being faced today.  Consistent with my rebellious undertone, as this artwork was generally acquired by the era’s social elite I consider appropriation of its imagery today in the service of socially-conscious work to be particularly fitting.


Chandi Kelley


How long have you worked as an artist?  When did you start? 

I have been working as an artist for over 15 years. Since graduating from the Corcoran College of Art + Design in 2004, I have focused on continually making work and expanding my process.

Discuss your process—what medium do you use?  Do you work with other mediums?

My work is primarily photo-based, using both digital and analog processes to create both still and moving imagery. Photography so perfectly speaks to the things that I want to explore about the world. Particularly how perspective completely changes the way that we view an object or scene. I continually try to play with portraying truth with lies, and using the trickery available in the medium to raise questions about what we know about the world. The idea that the world around us is not what it seems is the subtle driving force behind all of my work.

Amethyst (edition of 5) 14˝ x 21.5˝ Archival inkjet print

What would you like viewers to know about your piece?

This work is part of a newer series called “Otherworld,” in which I focus on the manipulation of images to create objects and spaces that teeter on the unknown.  I find the layering of information extremely satisfying, not only in making a visual connection between disparate things but in complicating the image to make known objects seem unfamiliar.

Artist Statement

My work focuses on the line between the real and the unreal, using the manipulation of images to create environments that are distant and foreign. In blurring the lines between fiction and documentation through photography, I highlight the points where these two worlds intersect, and often the moment upon entering the unknown. In this body of work I have applied artifice to natural objects, and sometimes to artificial objects that mimic the natural, to create a spectacle of nature and perhaps even to assign value to waning preciousness. By adding superfluous attributes to the objects prior to photographing, and continuing to alter the images digitally, I manipulate these objects until they become relics of a false natural history. The works leave traces of the familiar world, while entering into territory that is wholly unfamiliar, reflecting both our understanding and estrangement in the world.

Sanzi Kermes


How long have you worked as an artist?  When did you start?

I’ve worked on being an artist since 1995, although as a child I can remember feeling it was all I ever wanted to do.  I won blue ribbon awards in middle school for my paintings!  And then I let it all go in pursuit of pleasing family – became a cartographer, and was poor and miserable.  I figured if I was going to be poor I might as well be happy at it.  So I ditched it all and went full throttle.  It has taken me years to find my footing and now that I’m here, I feel so excited and focused about my work.

Discuss your process—what medium do you use?  Do you work with other mediums

I allow myself to use any new material and accept any challenge when creating new work.  I enjoy responding to spaces.  There are some basic premises about my work that are applicable to each piece, no matter the materials used: each work is a documentation of a game of Scrabble that I have played.  The title of the piece is the letters left at game’s end.  The narrative is generally constructed with haiku written based on the words played in that game.  I break my own rules.  It’s a great journey and I love having the work guide me through the exploration of material and content.

ERR Dimensions variable. Screen print on fabric with fishing line and lead crystal.

What would you like viewers to know about your piece?

ERR has been developed in response to the space at Glenview Mansion Art Gallery in Rockville where I’m scheduled to exhibit this September.  Part of the space allocated to be is a summer porch filled with light, air, windows, and surrounded by gardens.  ERR is designed to invoke Tibetan Prayer flags.

Artist Statement

Scrabble. A game with a fixed set of parameters, 100 tiles; 225 squares. How many variations from that beginning might occur? I document each game, I write haiku from the words played during the game, and I intersperse the haiku with screen prints of the resultant board pattern. My materials vary from paper to fabric to surfaces such as a room divider or a rocking chair. Each pattern is considered its own entity, its own book, with its own presentation unlike those one is accustomed to seeing in book form.

My goal is to push the boundary of what an artist book can be. What defines a book? What defines an object? When is the book an art book? When is the art book a sculpture? When is the art book art?

Each Book I Create Follows These Criteria:

Book title: letters left at end of game.
Subtitle: score of game
Haiku (senryu): generated from each word played during the game.
Title page is a haiku based on the title of the book.
Paper / structure: variable. Not limited to paper nor to traditional binding.


Chee-Keong Kung

How long have you worked as an artist?  When did you start?

I have always doodled and painted as long as I can remember, since childhood.  The association was an idea that gradually dawned on me over a number of years, after having made a series of work and stopping to look back and assess what was in front of me.  For me, the term connotes a sustained and unwavering commitment to the enterprise and craft.  This is not to say an artist should not maintain a vital distance from the work or maintain a sense of humor about it.

Discuss your process—what medium do you use?  Do you work with other mediums?

I use acrylic, ink, charcoal, graphite, spray paint, and rolls of masking tape…whatever is available at hand to get the job done.  Typically, I would let ideas percolate for a long while before making the first mark. Once in process, the work would take on a trajectory of its own and may or may not end up in the place I had initially contemplated.  The sense of the unknown—the trepidation and danger—would be present until the work has reached a satisfying conclusion, or I have exhausted all means of making it better.

SW Monsoon (Dispersion No 15) 48˝ x 36˝ Acrylic & ink on canvas

What would you like viewers to know about your piece?

It really depends on the individual.  I think each of us bring an individual take to each artwork. Personally, I like to get drawn into a piece and lose myself in it…and (if the work is any good) be able to discover a new resonance each time I return to it.

Artist Statement:

My work derives from a process that is based on responses to materiality and observations from the natural and built environment. Hard-lined geometry and Improvisational gestures are applied over earlier layers, modifying and obscuring the underlying images. Recurring motifs–distilled from ambient visual stimuli–surface and recede, seeming to drift between concreteness and tenuousness.

The work accrues structure and meaning through the layering of time and full measures of attention.  Chance is an invaluable part of the process which disrupts habitual boundaries and push trajectories into unexpected territories.  Usually, a piece would sit for days before the next move can be intuited.  This process would continue until the work hovered between perfection and imperfection, chance and control, density and weightlessness.  More often than not, the most satisfying works are those that end up in entirely unexpected places.