MICHELLE CORPORAN

2023 Ann Street Gallery Emerging Artist Fellow Exhibition

Re:Manifest as conceived by the 2023 Ann Street Gallery Emerging Artist Fellows aims to challenge the romanticized histories of the United States and make evident the artists’ voices, stories, and visions. The works in Re:Manifest exhibit (re-)emergences of cultural identity informed by the nuanced perspectives of the Fellowship cohort and how they identify their personal lineages. Through their fellowships Rachel Olivia Berg (Mnicoujou Lakota), Michelle Corporan (Afro Caribbean, Spanish, and Japanese lineages), and Shani Richards (Afro-American) unearth historical events, honor their ancestors, and explore places in the Hudson Valley to reclaim narratives that have been overlooked, forgotten, or ignored.

Rachel Olivia Berg (Mnicoujou Lakota) works in diverse media to create artworks that are rooted in the natural world and Indigenous values. Duality and connectivity are common themes. Her paintings and installations often include traditional Lakota symbols, abstracted landscapes, constellations, and natural materials that invite viewers into an imagined space for contemplation and reflection. Rachel’s fellowship project addresses “decolonization” in a local and contemporary context. Her work confronts the tensions and misconceptions in our understanding of American history through study of the land and the story of the Munsee people in the Hudson Valley. Her process aims to allow the land to tell stories of its original people. Berg’s work explores concepts of shared historical trauma, recovery of Indigenous tradition, and acknowledgement of Indigenous cultural perspectives on mourning, healing, and dreaming.  Her work enacts a commitment to change through acts of decolonization.

Michelle Corporan’s exploration revolves around the interplay of dark and light through multimedia, works on paper, and audiovisuals. This exploration relates to Michelle’s interest in shining a light on subject matter that is at risk of being forgotten or continuing to be unseen due to limited historical perspecitves or depersonalization from a functioning society. She primarily utilizes rice paper and mural painting techniques, emphasizing negative space to evoke natural landscapes and transcendental elements that create a distant vantage point for the viewer so that they feel they are entering a dreamlike state from their own reality. Michelle’s fellowship project focuses on historical spaces that served as crucial stations on the Underground Railroad in Newburgh and surrounding counties in the Hudson Valley. Michelle highlights the aura of these landscapes by working with Sumi-e ink, sounds, and other historical materials to lend a sense of significance and reverence and to invite viewers to reflect on the importance of these historical narratives.

Shani Richards is an activist craft laborer and metalsmith who creates objects that address issues of racism, sexism, and stereotypes to provoke the viewer into critical engagement. Ms. Richards labors to elevate materials that are deemed worthless and uses expensive materials to elevate people that America tries to erase. She is trained in metalsmithing and makes work through the investigation of materials, objects, craft processes, body adornment and people. These investigations relate to her interest in the history of post colonialism in America. Richard’s Fellowship project reveals her current artistic journey and how it intertwines with her research on Sojourner Truth, who was born in the Hudson Valley and walked away from slavery, changed her name and went on a journey with the mission to live and spread her truth. During her Fellowship, Richards has been retracing Truth’s steps and researching craft objects connected to Truth. Her project is inspired by the indomitable spirit of Sojourner Truth and delves into the concept of “sojourning” — a term that encapsulates both temporary residence and the intricate dance between identity and community. Richards is currently fighting to survive as an artist and live her own truth without a stable studio or home. She is forging a path in the history of Truth’s journey and her own journey as a black woman artist in America.

Additional programming and event details will be announced.

Learn more about our 2023 Fellows here.

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