This week CANVAS Compendium begins our semi-regular newsletter, Artists on Artists, in which we invite Jewish creators to tell us who inspires them.
We begin with Maya Ciarrocchi, a New York City-based artist who works in drawing, printmaking, performance, video, and social practice. Her projects excavate disappeared histories—destroyed buildings, maps of vanished places, Yizkor books, and viewer-contributed writing—to explore themes of loss and healing.
Editor, CANVAS Compendium
I first saw Gal Cohen‘s work when I was a panelist for the AIM Fellowship Program at the Bronx Museum of the Arts. In her prints and paintings, Cohen, an immigrant from Israel, resurrects the demolished historical houses that dotted the landscape of her childhood by fusing architectural renderings with human and botanical forms. By reshaping these spaces, she rebuilds fantastical and narratively rich architectural frameworks.
Michelle C. Gevint
I also met Michelle Gevint through the AIM Program, this time when we were both Fellows. Another artist whose work centers on architecture and space, Gevint explores the intersection of man-made environments and the natural world through film, photography, sculpture, and printmaking. In these works, she interrogates our relationships to built environments by focusing on failed utopian visions and the promises they are meant to represent.
I met operatic tenor Marques Hollie when we were both LABA Fellows at the 14th Street Y. [LABA is a CANVAS grantee.] Hollie was writing Go Down, Moshe, a retelling of the Exodus that braids the musical tradition of Negro spirituals, civil rights-era music, narratives of enslaved people, and Jewish liturgical song. I felt a powerful connection to this work and continue to be inspired by Hollie’s talent as a vocalist. (Listen to Go Down Moshe here.) Hollie has performed in several iterations of Site: Yizkor, an ongoing interdisciplinary work I’m leading in collaboration with composer Andrew Conklin.
Michelle Levy and I have many friends in common, but we finally met in Warsaw, Poland in 2019. Levy was researching for her performance project PAULINA; I was at a residency in southern Poland. I feel particularly connected to Levy’s art-making methodologies, as well the work itself, which investigates real and constructed personal histories through storytelling and embodied performance.
Stav Palti-Negev was another LABA Fellow in my cohort. She was working on a theatrical reimagining of The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch, which was performed in the swimming pool at the 14th Street Y. Since then, she’s had many successes, including winning the Woodward International Playwriting Prize Competition. She is currently working on a script for a Polish-Israeli film co-production and on a new play about her personal immigration story. I can’t wait to see them both. But the thing I will always remember about Stav is how she warned me about the ghosts I would encounter in Poland.