Staycation: thresholds

Sunday Ballew, Emily Cross, Bug Davidson, Levi Dugat, Andrew Hulett, Marisa LaGuardia, Alicia Link, Betelhem Makonnen, Stephanie Concepcion
Ramirez, and Simone Thornton

10/26/2018 - 12/08/2018


Opening Reception: October 26th, 7-10 PM

To mark their Grand Opening, MASS will open the doors of their new space in East Austin with STAYCATION: thresholds, an exhibition featuring ten Austin-based artists. A threshold refers to a symbolic and physical boundary of: space, feeling, geography, or surface. This exhibit presents a diverse group of Austin-based artists, whose works explore the theme of thresholds, by examining the mystery and magic between the layering of objects, surfaces, time, and experience. Artists include Sunday Ballew, Emily Cross, Bug Davidson, Levi Dugat and Simone Thornton, Andrew Hulett, Marisa LaGuardia, Alicia Link, Betelhem Makonnen, and Stephanie Concepcion Ramirez.

STAYCATION: thresholds is the third in a series of STAYCATION exhibitions at MASS Gallery based on studio visits with artists working in Austin, TX. The series is designed to broaden the curatorial practice at MASS, and give Austin-based artists more opportunities to show amongst their peers. STAYCATION: thresholds features a wide-range of media from video, to painting, to sound, photography, drawing, and so on, with each artist also approaching this theme through their own unique lens, expanding on the definition and connotation of thresholds through their work.

MASS is excited to open the doors to our new space, and through this timely exhibition, we ask that you cross the threshold with us, as we move from one place to another, through new and exciting programming!

The new MASS is located at 705 Gunter Street, Austin, TX 78702. Opening reception beverages provided by Hops & Grain.

The Artists:

Sunday Ballew is a multi-media artist and educator from Austin, TX. She holds an MFA in Photographic & Electronic Media from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland and a BA in Germanic Studies and Anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin. She exhibits nationally in addition to lecturing at St. Edward’s University in Austin, TX. Her work oftentimes creates dialogues between the intricate play of modern-day fact and fictions.

Emily Cross is a death doula, artist, and musician living in Austin, TX. She graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2011 and continued to draw and paint throughout various musical tours and terrible restaurant jobs. Her interest in quiet, often eerie subject matter has persisted throughout the years, along with an affinity for slow, meditative processes.

Bug Davidson is a motion image artist and film director interested in communicating through visual language intersections of media & representation, social corporeal choreography, acousmata & action, and the enchantment of cinematic gesture.

Levi Dugat  was born and raised in East Texas by folks who worked with their hands and taught him to do the same. He works professionally designing interiors, furniture and textiles. His artwork is focused around the pursuit of the present moment, personal activism, familial history, and nature. Motivated by the medicinal potential of experiencing mindfully created objects and spaces, he frames his work around internal conversations we may universally struggle with, in hopes of offering a cairn on a path towards communal healing. Levi lives and works in Austin, Texas with his five year old daughter, Xochi, and his partner Simone.

Simone Thornton was born in South Florida, where she quickly developed a deep appreciation for nature, art and architecture. Spending time between her family’s tree farm and the small, ocean-side town she was raised in cemented a reverence for the color, detail and texture the region offered.

Carrying those elements of inspiration with her, she left Florida to earn a BFA in Illustration from MICA in Baltimore, and then spent the next seven years working as a 2D artist in San Francisco. For the last two years, she has been living and working in Austin, Texas, primarily focused on illustration, painting and screen-printing. Simone’s work is still heavily influenced by the environments she spends time in, and often calls back to lush, chromatically charged imagery from home.

Andrew Hulett is a multifaceted musician living in Austin, Texas. He captures and transforms sonic information into waves of euphoric, warm, eerie, strangely familiar sounds. His performances utilize experimentation and play. He uses electro-acoustic manipulations, sounding objects, instrumentation, electronics, and looping textures to create layered imagined sensory places. He works in various contexts including composition, film scoring, performance, and music production.

Marisa LaGuardia is a Youngstown, Ohio native who finds more comfort in travel and transitional spaces than a fixed routine. She obtained her BFA in Painting from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland, and found her way to Austin, TX to study Studio Art through the University of Texas, Austin’s MFA program, which she completed in 2018. Her work is a compilation of references gathered from a variety of photographic, poetic, written, and recorded sources that are then reintroduced, repeated or obliterated in the studio. She typically works in a two-dimensional format; painting, printmaking, and drawing, but is expanding beyond this framework and is working with video, installation, and ceramics. She is interested in the influence of her two-dimensional foundation as a filter for these new investigations, and how these mediums interact.

Alicia Link is a visual artist living and working in Austin, Texas. Born and raised in a suburb of Philadelphia in South Jersey. Link moved to Boston in 2008 where she later earned a BFA in Painting from Boston University. She earned an MFA in Studio Art from the University of Texas at Austin in 2017. Link has exhibited her work in Boston, Austin, and Brooklyn. In 2017, she was the recipient of a full fellowship to attend the Vermont Studio Center. Her paintings, objects, and installations feature characters and narratives that invite empathy while serving as proxies for anxiety and personal desire.

Betelhem Makonnen is a native of Ethiopia, but lives and works between Austin Texas, Rio de Janeiro Brasil and Addis Abeba Ethiopia.She has a B.A. in History and Literature of African Diaspora from the University of Texas in Austin, and is currently a MFA candidate and New Artists Society Merit Scholar in the School of the Art Institute of Chicago Low Residency Program. Her line of inquiry lingers in spaces of virtual conjunction created in paradoxes, feedback loops and sites of connection. Working with a variety of mediums that include video, photography and installations, she explores questions on perception, presence and place within a trans-temporal and trans-locative topology that operates on the relational dynamics of diasporic consciousness.

Stephanie Concepcion Ramirez is a Salvadoran-American artist from Prince George's County, Maryland. She received her BFA at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA and her MFA at the University of Texas at Austin.  Ramirez’ practice combines the language of photography with site-specific installations and text. Her work is based on notions of memory, personal and historical amnesia that trace the veins of the Central American diaspora. In an attempt to reconcile with her personal and cultural histories and memories, she creates work validate truth, false memories, filtered history and fantasy.

Funded in part by a generous grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts.