Can't stop, won't stop

Creativity does not pause during a pandemic and neither does McColl Center’s commitment to supporting artists.  

Our physical contemporary art space in Uptown Charlotte remains closed in compliance with directives to slow the spread of the virus. Our artist residency program, however, continues to thrive in a different way from our traditional in-person format.  

This season’s four artists-in-residence—Anna G. DeanRehab El SadekLorena Mal, and Sharon Norwood (pictured above, left to right)—will begin their residencies virtually, working from their home studios during January and February. 

“We see this virtual residency as an opportunity to not only support artists, but to use technology to connect Charlotte to creative communities nationally and internationally,” says McColl Center’s creative director, Jonell Logan.  

“Artists will introduce us to their local arts communities, share glimpses into their studios, and develop programs that are not restricted by place or space.” 

Should COVID-19 cases decrease and allow us to provide a safe and open environment, the artists may join us in Charlotte for the remainder of the residency. The winter/spring residency season is from January 11 to May 4, 2021. 

“Critics and curators from across the country will provide feedback and opportunities for the artists, too,” Logan adds, hinting at forthcoming details about new ways we’re creatively and strategically bringing McColl Center to the community, outside of our walls. 

Winter/Spring 2021 Artists-in-Residence 

Anna G. Dean 
Based in Fort Mill, South Carolina 
Dean’s artist residency is in partnership with Atrium Health. 

Anna G. Dean, Hive Mind I, 2019. Ink, vellum, CNC-cut wood, hardware, nails, thread, prismacolor, graphite, paint on wood panel; 36 x 48 x 5 inches. Courtesy of the artist. Photograph by artist.

As a child, Anna G. Dean would often take her toys apart and put them back together to create something new and gain insight through reconstruction and re-layering. As an artist, she investigates complex and layered ideas. Her creative process relies upon unexpected visual and conceptual connections that occur when layers of information build, intersect, accumulate, and erode. Combining sculpture, installation, and digital projection allows her to explore shifts over time and movements through space. By merging processes that she can control with those that she can’t, she creates a push and pull between herself and her work. 

Rehab El Sadek 
Based in Austin, Texas 

Rehab El Sadek, The Memory Palace, 2019. Mixed media; 60 x 180 x 0.4 inches (fiber art/plexiglass), 120 x 240 inches (shadow). Courtesy of the artist. Photograph by Scott David Gordon.

Rehab El Sadek uses light, shadow, history, and memory to conceptualize meditative journeys. A significant influence on her work is the rich history of Egypt, her native country, and other ancient civilizations. She borrows colors, textures, and materials from antiquity in an effort to contribute to a vernacular that's been around for thousands of years. Utilizing a centuries-old mnemonic technique known alternately as the Method of Loci and the Memory Palace, she meditates on forgotten places culled from childhood and difficult moments, constructing and linking individual objects. 

Lorena Mal 
Based in Mexico City, Mexico
Mal's residency is generously supported by the Windgate Charitable Fund. 

Lorena Mal, Uprising, after Ximeno Planes (Destruction of painting performance, Mexico City), 2018. C-print; 32 x 48 inches. Courtesy of the artist. Photograph by artist.

Lorena Mal grounds her work on the intersections between visual arts, music, and material history to open multiple understandings of time, territory, and identity. Her sound performances, sculptures, installations, and other material explorations on drawing and painting emerge from fieldwork study of materials, places, and echoes of events that are frequently forgotten or subtle by nature. For Mal, listening functions as an investigative tool of what escapes vision, measure, or representation, turning the dynamics of presence, duration, and memory into fundamental elements of her work, and influencing how she uses the exhibition space to propose other ways of time passing. 

Sharon Norwood 
Based in Savannah, Georgia
Norwood's residency is generously supported by the Windgate Charitable Fund. 

Sharon Norwood, The Flower Offered Of Itself And Eloquently Spoke of Gods. Let Us Dance In The Sun Wearing Flowers in Our Hair, 2019. Glazed porcelain, luster; 18 x 12 x 8 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

Sharon Norwood’s work invites the viewer to consider our relationships to the real world history of "otherness" by reframing familiar narratives and providing an alternate context for contemplation. We are different yet inexplicably connected in our intertwined histories, and Norwood’s work seeks to interrogate those spaces that both fracture and unite our understanding of self and "otherness." In her work the curly line takes on special importance; at times it becomes a metaphor for the black body, while at other times it lives within a decorative, ornate space that connects us back to the formal language of drawing and mark making. 

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