Odeta Xheka

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Odeta Xheka

About the Artist

Working across painting, collage, and digital media, Odeta Xheka’s story parallels the highs and lows that countless women artists face as they negotiate the demands of daily pressures of the family with the aspiration to make ambitious art that is both sensitive&cerebral. Within an existing culture that likes things to be simple and pigeonholed, Xheka keeps a firm eye on the very thin line that divides sincerity of expression from sheer banality.
As a woman, fated to be narrated rather than the narrator, she makes art to claim her voice because art is the opposite of speechlessness.
The National Gallery of Albania, Annmarie Sculpture Garden, Waterworks Museum, Tifton Museum, Maryland Federation of Art, Brooklyn Art Council, and WoArtBlog are some of the venues that have hosted her work in recent years.

Artist Statement

Drowning Depths – Between Solitude and Loneliness (Home) is a multi-part digital collage series reflecting on who gets to be the subject of the story taking place at home, who matters behind the scene, and who our compassion and interest should be directed at as a matter of both personal and political will. A series of overly familiar domestic scenes are altered to appear disorienting, almost menacing. Devoid of the human presence, they lack warmth despite the bejeweled tones thus issuing an invitation to think carefully about who and how fully one gets to inhabit these spaces making use of the visual imagination to delve into philosophical probing.

Heather Drazyenn

Heather Drazyenn

About the Artist

Laura Cannon has worked across a range of disciplines including painting, printmaking, illustration, and photography. Her main concentration is on her semi-abstract watercolor works on canvas.

About the Artist

Heather Drayzen is an artist and educator living in Brooklyn, New York. She earned her BFA from School of Visual Arts and her MAT from Rhode Island School of Design. She is continuing her education through the New York City Crit Club.

About Artist’s Work:

I primarily paint portraits and interior scenes featuring myself, family and friends in moments from everyday life. These small oil paintings on canvas are rendered with gestural brushwork to capture intimacy through iridescent light and color. My approach evolves out of years of academic portrait painting and drawing classes, however I allow the work to fall apart and come back together to serve the narrative.

At an early age, I lost my father to cancer. Growing up, I frequently pored over family photos–analyzing the nuances of relationships, love and loss in the images. These nuances make up the psychological undertone of my paintings. In 2019, I experienced a health scare–this, combined with the pandemic in 2020, cultivated an urgency in my work where documenting my life and memories became intrinsic to my practice. All my paintings are vignettes within the larger narrative of my life and I hope they suggest a tender complexity and emotional depth to the human experience.

Jessica Rubin

Jessica Rubin

About the Artist

Jessica Rubin is a Puerto Rican Jewish American artist originally from Los Angeles, currently based in Brooklyn, New York. Growing up in Los Angeles in close proximity to the entertainment industry, she spent much of her youth in performing arts schools learning dance acting and musical theatre, and never considered visual arts until she was randomly placed in a mixed media art class her first semester of college. Being the oldest sibling of a single parent low income family, the places she lived in growing up were inconsistent and often messy, creatively pieced together, shared spaces. Since living in New York, interior space and surroundings have been a very important part of her life and feeling at home. This value is woven into her work, which often depicts feminine figures in domestic comfort spaces peacefully coexisting and blending with their surroundings. She uses vibrant exaggerated colors to depict her subjects in private spaces with her intimate dreamlike portraits. Using herself as a model, she gives the viewer an intimate look into her personal spaces both real and imagined. Rubin has exhibited her work in NYC at galleries such as La MaMa Galleria, Deep Space Gallery, Chinatown Soup, and more.

Artist Statement

In my work I examine the way that the spaces we live in can represent and interact with us as much as we do with them. The places where we spend most of our time have a huge impact on our experience of the world. In my life I have not always had control over creating the physical spaces that I occupied. I use the idea of comfort and safe spaces in my work, how I have learned to find comfort in isolation. For much of the last two years many of us have spent more time than ever in our own bedrooms and domestic spaces. This forced proximity places another level of importance on our personal spaces and they become a necessary extension of ourselves. We require a level of care for our spaces so they can care for us. Within these spaces, I use the body as a landscape with organic shapes and curves and unnatural vibrant colors. I paint the figures from unusual perspectives, sometimes including the perspective of the subject so the viewers can step into the work as if they are looking down at their own body. I use myself as a model, I start with taking photos in groups setting up a space I want to occupy and share. I make digital drawings for composition and use the drawings as reference for the larger piece. I choose colors intuitively using vibrant exaggerated colors to emphasize the emotional context of the work and highlight certain areas of the composition. This unusual way of viewing the body of another person evokes a sense of distortion of the body that expresses the disconnect that I often feel in my own body with the way feminine bodies are viewed and debated about by others. I center the feminine perspective, how we exist in spaces and feel most natural, how we view our own worlds, not trying to look a certain way just existing.

Anne-sophie Plume

Anne-sophie Plume

Artist Bio

Iam a French painter. I come from a scientific background, and have a Bachelor in Sustainable Development followed by a master’s degree in Management of Innovative Technologies and European Funding. I started painting after deciding to leave my job in the pharmaceutical industry in Switzerland. Having dealt with Lyme disease and depression since my early twenties, I took this break to take a shift with my life. Soon after experimenting painting on paper in my living room in 2017, I flew to Berlin with the hope to learn how to be an artist. I joined the Parkgalerie Studio and quickly got invited to a few residencies in Haiti, India, and Los Angeles. I knew by then I wanted to follow my calling to be an artist and after taking part in a Drawing and Painting marathon at the New York Studio School in 2018, I was offered a scholarship to enroll in their MFA program.
I graduated from the New York Studio School in 2020 and had several solo and group shows in the USA and in France, Haiti and India. I am now painting and living in Brooklyn. I have been awarded the Jane C. Carroll Scholarship in 2018 and 2019, and was a nominee for the Excellence and Leadership Award from the LCU Foundation in 2019.

Artist Statement

I paint from life and perception. In my portrait work, I use light as a metaphor for life, recovery and hope. I wish to catch the soul and presence of the individuals I paint, and allow the viewer to meet them in a deeper level. I want my paintings to be about the paint and most of all, I want them to be the result of my very own experience of reality.
At the moment I am working on the relationship I have with portrait painting. I have decided to use it to give a voice to people that are unseen and unheard. Having struggled with depression, my last project has therefore been to paint people who are suffering or have suffered from mental illnesses, and interview them while I paint. Many sitters have told me that it has been therapeutic for them, as they do not have many occasions to talk about their experience with their illness.
My goal is to open a dialog, free the voices, break the preconceived ideas, bring hope to people suffering now, and increase the general knowledge on mental illnesses. Even though one cannot see the pain, it is real. I want the sitter to feel seen, and the viewer to have an eye-opening experience.
In my most recent paintings of interior scenes I have been portraiting women in their everyday life. Especially after this year of staying inside, they became aware that they are visible, they are seen, and I have felt invited in their intimacy.

My aim was to see what my painting process would reveal about this genre and the social pre-occupations which drive its popularity. The actual TV storylines in which these images are entrenched sometimes offer surprising inflections and reversals of the gaze which are not obvious from a still frame but I am less interested in how these TV images fit within their text of origin than in how they function as part of a mass of repetitions.
Voyeurism is looking at a remove from the object. It is about both intimacy and distance. In the process of painting I enjoyed playing with the pull between the desire to look into a scene and barriers to vision which block and obscure the human figure.

What does “Gaze” mean to you & how do you connect it to your work?

The gaze is what I am first attracted to in a person. I need to dive in their gaze to connect to their soul. This is the reason I have been painting faces for so a couple years, asking them to look at me in the eyes. It is what allows me to open myself and gauge what the relationship is about, it is the soul’s door.
In painting, the gaze is also the viewer, looking at the work. Their interpretation of the piece, what it reflects into their eyes. In my last paintings of interior scenes I have been gazing at women in their everyday life, watching TV, or working from home. Especially after this year of staying inside, they became aware that they are visible, they are seen, and I have felt invited in their intimacy. Following the path of art history, of my favorite painters, Rembrandt, Cezanne, Giacometti, Auerbach and so many others, I wish to be part of the female gaze coming to the art field.