Alice Whealin, Negar Ahkami, Pam Rogers, Jung Min Park, Becca Kallem, Ryan McCoy

Instinctive Naturalness, June 2017

This June, Grizzly Grizzly is pleased to present the second installment of a two-part series featuring the Arlington Art Center (AAC) Artists-in-Residence. This exchange exhibition – unfolding over two months -- presents the AAC resident artists’ works through the lens of two creative hypotheses: Instinct and Reason. In June’s Instinctive Naturalness, the artists share work inspired by memory, emotion, and personal experiences. While the works in Instinctive Naturalness range from formal to representational, they are tied together by an equivocal rendering of space. This approach, interestingly, speaks to the way we process our past - the way we layer or fuse some snippets, while others are left murky, ambiguous, or even blank. 

Ryan McCoy’s heavily textured paintings are relics of month-long periods in which he revisits moments, memories, or places, gathering natural materials. In October 2016, sea water, ash, rust, straw, baby powder combine with oil and acrylic to create an isolated landscape with an almost extra-terrestrial aura. Pam Rogers’s paintings fuse botanic imagery and materials with memories and personal moments, such as planting a garden with her grandfather. Her tightly rendered natural forms swim in amorphous washes of ink. Alice Whealin’s process is a responsive dance between technique, form, and emotion. She uses ink wash on acetate to create cellular, organic forms that mutate across the page. Jung Min Park’s whimsical cut paper paintings are tiny dioramas of her remembered places. Snippets and fragments of architecture seem held together with negative space. Negar Ahkami’s vivid paintings burst with a visceral exuberance. Dancing figures, reminiscent of her time in New York City clubs, are set on a backdrop of pulsating rhythms inspired by traditional Iranian art. Although quieter, Becca Kallem’s paintings also play with the boundaries between abstraction and space. In her work, symbols are pushed to the foreground, while a more recognizable landscape lurks in the distance.

Artist Bios

Negar Ahkami is an American artist, born in Baltimore in 1971.  She received a B.A. in Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures from Columbia University in 1992, and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 1997.  Ahkami's art is in the permanent collections of The New Britain Museum of American Art, the Depaul University Art Museum, the Farjam Collection (UAE), and other private and corporate collections.  Her work has been and reviewed in The New York Times and ArtNews.

Becca Kallem is a Washington, D.C.-based artist and educator. She received her MFA in painting from the University of New Hampshire, with a BA in Art and Spanish from the College of William and Mary. Her work is in several private collections and has been shown locally and nationally. She has held residencies at the Vermont Studio Center and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, along with a Fulbright fellowship in Madrid, Spain. She is a current resident artist at the Arlington Arts Center in Arlington, Virginia.

Ryan McCoy is an artist based in Washington DC. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, and is included in numerous private collections throughout the U.S., Europe, South America, and Australia. In March 2016, he began a long term residency at Arlington Arts Center, which will continue through 2022. He earned his MFA and BFA from George Mason University and is an Adjunct Professor of Art and Design at various schools in the Washington DC metro area.

Pam Rogers’ work explores the territory between nature and the role of the artist. She uses pigments made from local plants, soil, and minerals. She exhibits regularly throughout the US including the Hillyer Art Space in Washington, DC, GRACE Art Center, Reston, VA, Hockaday Museum in Kalispell, MT and The Swan Coach House in Atlanta, GA. She has received fellowships including the Ox-Bow School of the Arts, Ragdale, and Ucross.  

Jung Min Park was born and raised in South Korea and works in Washington D.C. as an artist. Jung Min earned her MFA from Pratt Institute and two BFA’s from the School of The Art Institute of Chicago and Korea National University of Arts. Her work has been selected internationally and nationally for numerous solo and group exhibitions. She has won two awards from Korea Modern Cultural Art Association and received a fellowship from The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and a grant from Korean Ministry of Cultures, Sports and Tourisms.

Alice Whealin earned her B.A. in Art from Rowan University, NJ. She was awarded a two year apprenticeship in bronze casting at The Johnson Atelier, in Princeton, NJ. Whealin’s artworks have been in curated exhibits at The Painting Center, NY, Charles Krause/Reporting Fine Art gallery, DC, Robert Brown Gallery, DC, Howard County Fine and Performing Arts Center, MD and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, DC. Her works have been exhibited in museums, institutions and galleries nationally. Her works are included in private and museum collections, including the Museo Della Carta, Fabriano, Italy. She lives and maintains her studio in Arlington, VA.Artist