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8 Artists to Watch from the 2015 Bushwick Open Studios

Installation view of 'Home Improvement' on Rock Street during Bushwick Open Studios 2015 (photo by Jillian Steinhauer for Hyperallergic)
Installation view of ‘Home Improvement’ on Rock Street during Bushwick Open Studios 2015 (photo by Jillian Steinhauer/Hyperallergic)

Now that we’ve had almost 24 hours to process everything we saw during this year’s Bushwick Open Studios, some clear favorites have emerged. These are seven artists and one collective that we hope to see more of in the coming year.

Cardboard collages by Fanny Allié (photo by Jillian Steinhauer for Hyperallergic)
Cardboard collages by Fanny Allié (photo by Jillian Steinhauer for Hyperallergic)

Fanny Allié (site)

I first encountered Fanny Allié’s work this spring, in a show for the Engaging Artists volunteer program. I was taken then by her sewn silhouettes of people walking in New York City; the bulky, bean-bag-like quality of the pieces reflected her focus on homeless people laden with carts and bags (and sometimes canes). So, I was happy to wander into her studio during BOS and get a chance to see more of her work on similar subjects. Her trash-bag silhouettes raised from under cloth are surprisingly delicate, while her pieces that overlay multiple embroidered figure outlines onto one another are unexpectedly dynamic. My favorite was a series of cardboard collages that take up the same motif but abstract it further, using blocks of color and different textures to give the figures new life. —Jillian Steinhauer

Works by Meriem Bennani in the Signal booth at the NEWD Art Show (photo by Benjamin Sutton for Hyperallergic)
Works by Meriem Bennani in the Signal booth at the NEWD Art Show (photo by Benjamin Sutton for Hyperallergic)

Meriem Bennani (site)

At the second annual NEWD Art Show, Bushwick gallery Signal was showing several funny new media works by Meriem Bennani, including these two satiric advertisements for souped-up hijabs — the “Tennis Funjab” and the “Pocket Funjab” — and a small video titled “iButt,” which was playing on a loop on an iPhone mounted to the wall and featured an Apple logo with a butt-like crack in it, shaking wildly to the tune of a song from an old Egyptian film. Amid all the cool sculpture and formally precise paintings at NEWD and throughout BOS, Bennani’s works offered a welcome dose of politics and humor. —Benjamin Sutton

Works by Liene Bosquê in her studio at 56 Bogart Street (photo by Elisa Wouk Almino for Hyperallergic)
Works by Liene Bosquê in her studio at 56 Bogart Street (photo by Elisa Wouk Almino for Hyperallergic)

Liene Bosquê (site)

Brazilian artist Liene Bosquê collects memories from cities large and small around the world. She makes latex and porcelain impressions of architectural details, such as the railing of a historic building in Lisbon, the door of a church in Syracuse, and the patterns in the pavement of New York. The latex works, which limply hung on the wall of her studio, recall Eva Hesse. Bosquê, who also studied architecture and urban planning, memorializes places that are under threat of disappearing, due to gentrification and industrialization. Her works, rendered in blacks, whites, and beiges, create a historical memory, while their fragments — the steps of a ladder, the outlines of bricks — are deeply moving and intimate. —Elisa Wouk Almino

Greg Climer, "Knitted Film" (2015) in 'Westernized, Watered-down Zen Philosophies,' a pop-up show at 1866 Troutman Street during Bushwick Open Studios 2015 (photo by Benjamin Sutton for Hyperallergic)
Greg Climer, “Knitted Film” (2015) in ‘Westernized, Watered-down Zen Philosophies,’ a pop-up show at 1866 Troutman Street during Bushwick Open Studios 2015 (photo by Benjamin Sutton for Hyperallergic)

Greg Climer (site)

There are plenty of artists whose practices span two media, though typically the pairings tend to be drawing and painting, or sculpture and painting, or film and photography. More unusual, however, is film and textile, which is the intersection Greg Climer is investigating with his literally huge undertaking “Knitted Film,” for which he plans to have every frame of a film knitted into an impossibly long scarf, which will then serve as the film reel for a video. A test version of the project, presented as part of curator Andrew Cornell Robinson’s pop-up group exhibition Westernized, Watered-down Zen Philosophies during BOS, only accounts for 19 seconds of footage and already the resulting scarf is as long as a New York City block. I look forward to seeing the finished project, both on screen and in fabric form. —Benjamin Sutton

Jon Duff, "Meeting Cup" (2015), polyurethane resin, acrylic, mug, and plywood, 18" x 12" x 6" (photo by Jillian Steinhauer for Hyperallergic)
Jon Duff, “Meeting Cup” (2015), polyurethane resin, acrylic, mug, and plywood, 18″ x 12″ x 6″ (photo by Jillian Steinhauer for Hyperallergic)

Jon Duff (site)

When I first saw these works by Jon Duff, there was a part of me that really didn’t want to like them — they set off a hipster irony alert in some area of my brain. Yet I couldn’t resist being drawn in by the faux nature arrangements, the intricacies and drips and droops of the polyurethane plastic and resin. I haven’t figured out what meaning the cheeky mugs bring to the works, beyond providing a funny series of punch lines, but formally they make a nice counterpart to the fake nature: their pristine roundness offsets the spiky leaves and sticks, while their sheen mirrors that of the resin. My favorites are the ones in which the mugs are laid on their sides, the fake plants and goo seeming to spill out of them like so much cosmic throw-up. —Jillian Steinhauer

An informal roundtable held on Johnson Avenue by the members of The English Kills Project (photo by Hrag Vartanian for Hyperallergic)
An informal roundtable held on Johnson Avenue by the members of The English Kills Project (photo by Hrag Vartanian for Hyperallergic)

The English Kills Project (site)

The parameters of art have greatly expanded in the last decade, so that projects like this “socially engaged, bio-art project in the English Kills tributary of Newtown Creek” felt very much at home during the 2015 Bushwick Open Studios. The project draws attention to the extensive waterway that is an integral part of the neighborhood, and highlights the current state of the creek, which is highly polluted and largely inaccessible to the public. The waterway has been consciously hidden and transformed through the years, leaving it all but invisible. The English Kills Project organized a few tables on Johnson Avenue beside the fenced-off parking lot that is the waterway’s man-made terminus. Joining the group for their discussion on the sidewalk immediately demonstrated how inhospitable the site has become. The noise of cars whizzing by on Johnson Avenue made conversation tough, we often had to be careful of the dust and dirt that was being kicked up by passing vehicles, and the impromptu picnic was enough to make you angry when you realized that a once bucolic setting was paved over and sectioned off for corporate use (currently Exxon-Mobil, Amaco, Getty Oil, Texaco, and other major companies have locations on the creek). The artists and activists who were there were interested in not only finding a way to raise awareness about the issue, but also finding ways to change their relationship with the environment through their art. In the midst of the studio-focused celebration, it was a nice reminder about the importance of public space. —Hrag Vartanian

Painting by Anjuli Rathod (photo by Jillian Steinhauer for Hyperallergic)
Painting by Anjuli Rathod (photo by Jillian Steinhauer for Hyperallergic)

Anjuli Rathod (site)

Anjuli Rathod’s paintings are so delightfully cryptic. They’re often made up of disparate elements — most notably fruits and vegetables, nooses and knives, and body parts — but brought together in a way that’s figurative without being literal. Standing before one, you feel like you’re looking at fragments of a story — the clues in a murder mystery, perhaps — but without the ability to piece the tale together. Rathod contrasts her sinister themes with strong colors and a brushy, almost cartoonish painting style, turning potential horror into something much funnier and more twisted. —Jillian Steinhauer

Ceramic sculptures by Lulu Yee in her studio at 1717 Troutman Street (photo by Benjamin Sutton for Hyperallergic)
Ceramic sculptures by Lulu Yee in her studio at 1717 Troutman Street (photo by Benjamin Sutton for Hyperallergic)

Lulu Yee (site)

Lulu Yee’s studio at 1717 Troutman, its walls painted bold colors and every available surface inhabited by her sweet, strange, and ornate ceramic sculptures of crowns and humanoid figures, felt like an enticing test run for a much more ambitious and elaborate installation. I sincerely hope a gallery gives her a chance to create a total environment for her intricately painted ceramic objects. —Benjamin Sutton

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