2017 Hotbox Residency

Urzulka Barker and Henry Smith

08/07/2017 - 09/09/2017


MASS will transform its gallery space into a working studio for two artists this summer. The fourth annual Hotbox residency program will take place over a 5-week period and will give selected artists the opportunity to explore new ideas or practices, while allowing them to engage with the Austin community. Taking advantage of the prime production time of the summer months, MASS hopes to nurture projects through this program that would not be realized otherwise.

Each artist accepted as a Hotbox resident is obliged to participate in MASS’s public engagement series, Close Encounters. Close Encounters is a program designed to provide new methods of engaging the public’s curiosity. Open and broad, this prompt can be approached from a multitude of ways: performance based, passive, or completely radical in execution or thought. This program is a challenge to an artist’s current practice and designed to provide audiences with a new way of encountering and understanding the creative process.

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MASS is pleased to present the artists selected for the 2016 Hotbox residency program this summer: Urzulka Barker (ATX) Henry Smith (Evanston IL/ATX).


Urzulka Barker is an Austin native, having returned after receiving a BA in photography from Columbia College Chicago in 2014. Her interest in photography first began in the black and white darkroom. There, she discovered her love for the hands-on process of making prints, and the control gained when working within a monochromatic scale. These processes still drive her work today. Since graduating college, she has moved past stills and into moving images. Most of her work centers around the human form and how to manipulate it. She works commercially shooting fashion photography, music videos, and as an art director.

Henry Smith is a multimedia artist working at the intersection of sculpture, installation, print, and performance. Smith studied fine art at the University of Texas at Austin, where he also began working professionally as a designer and promoter for local musicians and small businesses. In 2015 Smith co-founded the creative media agency Human Influence (influencehumans.com), built on the intent to provide a creative platform to Austin’s emerging visual and performing artists. As the line between his commercial and studio work blurred, he began appropriating the vernacular of advertising and marketing to convey a discussion of capitalism, popular trends, and social issues. Smith graduated with a BFA in studio art in 2017 and currently lives and works in Austin, TX.