Visiting Artists Residency Exhibition: Micah Adams and Alexei Vella
Each year Open Studio selects four professional artists with or without printmaking experience to create traditional and/or experimental works in the print medium of their choice, working collaboratively with a print media artist. The Visiting Artist Residency, in operation since 1983, is a popular program that receives applications from artists from around the world. In conjunction with the residency, each artist exhibits the work produced during their period in the Studio, and gives an artist talk. These exhibitions by Adams and Vella are the result of this intensive work period.
Originally from Nova Scotia, Micah Adams received his BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, (Halifax). In 2008 he began a three-year residency at Harbourfront Centre’s Metal/Jewellery studio (Toronto). He is currently based in Philadelphia, PA, and is represented by MKG 127 (Toronto). Adams collects and reassembles objects to create new meaning and new possibilities, engaging a playful balance between humour and formal issues; size and perception of scale; longevity versus ephemerality; and how these relationships inform the value of work. Experienced as metalsmith, Adams’ Coinage combines coin collecting and jewellery techniques, using maple leaves and beavers removed from the context of the pennies and nickels from which they were derived. Adams thought of coins as a bridge between metal-smithing and printmaking, and based on coin details, created large etchings, and used coins themselves as tiny printing plates. A text by Yael Brotman accompanies the exhibition.
Alexei Vella (b. Tal-Pietà, Malta, 1983) is an interdisciplinary artist and illustrator based in Toronto. He received a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Interpretive Illustration from Sheridan College, receiving multiple awards and scholarships. After graduation he went on to pursue a freelance career in illustration and design, becoming noticed for his signature style. This recognition gave him the opportunity to exhibit in many shows and garner many professional awards. In the Spring of 2011 Alexei completed his MFA through OCAD University’s Interdisciplinary Master’s in Art, Media & Design program. Stylistically informed by his commercial practice, Beings From Beyond explores and addresses Vella’s personal interest in monstrosity and ungodly things, influenced by pulp fiction and pop-culture. Recalling an alignment with the monster at an early age, Vella sympathized with these creatures, imagining himself in their position, adopting their personae, becoming a different monster depending on the qualities he wished to portray on the playground. Beyond a childhood fascination, alignment with the monster stemmed from Vella’s attempt to process his feelings toward his body and his struggle with his own physical transformation; the fictional monsters became beings to which Vella could relate his own experiences. A text by Mark Laliberte accompanies the exhibition.