my proposal for a residency in Portugal was accepted – Helena and I on site at Obras – posted 1/28/15 in Boulder

11 x 13 HelenaAlmeida_01_EstudoParaUmEnriquecimentoInterior_1977 copyMaya

Left 6 images: Helena Almeida, from the series Study for Inner Improvement, 1977. Right Image: Sherry Wiggins, from the series Me and Maya, 2013.

I am so excited I just found out my proposal was accepted for a residency in Portugal this fall. I am intent on continuing this intersubjective practice with more remarkable women artists of the 20th Century like I have done with Indian artist Nasreen Mohamedi and avant garde filmmaker Maya Deren. I made a proposal to the Obras Foundation (near Estremoz, Portugal) to make a series of drawings and photographs that correlate to the work of internationally renowned Portuguese conceptualist Helena Almeida’s unique art making process. My friend artist Amy Clay, who has spent several years doing international artist residencies, recommended this residency in particular and because of my fascination with Helena Almeida I made the application. My dear friend and writer, curator, critical thinker Cydney Payton also applied and was accepted at Obras. So we will both be working in residence at the same time on our individual projects at Obras in Portugal this coming fall.

Obras website:

There are many commonalities between my own art practice and Almeida’s that I would like to explore and also frontiers that Almeida pushes in her work that I would like to emulate. Almeida uses herself as the subject in beautifully choreographed work that crosses the boundaries of drawing, painting, performance, film and photography. Since the 1970s Almeida has utilized her body, usually cloaked in black clothing of some kind, as the form and subject for her black and white photographs. She often alters images of different parts of her body (her face, her legs, her hands, her mouth) with a signature overlay of blue paint. These works are usually serial works exhibited as large format black and white photographs with a cinematic presence.

Almeida’s work inspires me to push my practice to new limits and to “inhabit” my work more fully. I will be studying and researching Almeida’s work in the coming months. I will take the opportunity in Portugal to see her works in person, as I did with Nasreen Mohamedi in India. Perhaps I can find a way to meet her because she is still going strong (1934 -) and lives and works in Lisbon. She has an exhibit currently in Lisbon at the Galeria Filomena Soares:

You will see more about my project in Portugal and about Almeida on this blog. I have got my mileage plus plane tickets already for the September trip to Portugal. In the mean time I am working in my studio developing a different method of drawing that is somewhat related to Nasreen Mohamedi’s techniques but I am making it my own with her inspiration. It is slow going, but I am thinking about space a lot (wink).

6 x 7.8 Sherry PS Master (6x9) copy 26 x 7.8 voa copy

Left image: Sherry Wiggins, from the series Me and Maya, 2013. Right 4 images: Helena Almeida, from the series Voar, 2001.

7 thoughts on “my proposal for a residency in Portugal was accepted – Helena and I on site at Obras – posted 1/28/15 in Boulder

  1. congratulations! this is very exciting and well deserved. and how wonderful for you that cydney will be doing a residency there also. i look forward to learning more about almeida and her work from you. thanks for sending the info on visiting artists. while i won’t be able to make it, i appreciate your keeping me in mind. we have been thoroughly enjoying santa barbara. have spent time with friends and family and being near the ocean is always restorative. i’m in the process of reading hans oboist’s ways of curating- what an interesting approach. just returned from a film at the film festival. we can walk to all of the theaters from where we are staying. hope you and jamie are doing okay. what a challenge you face, but meant to tell you after christmas eve that although we didn’t have a chance to converse much that night it seemed that both of you were “clear”. not even sure what exactly that means but that is the word that kept coming up for me. we return about the third week in feb. and look forward to seeing you after that. xo joan >


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