Learn more about these eight artists featured at An Artists’ Affair.
shown: Handmade designs and fabric from Ghana
MansaWear owner and fashion designer Nita Brown was born in Ghana. As the daughter of a diplomat, she left for her first overseas trip at the age of seven, traveling to the Czech Republic. Nita completed her secondary schooling in Ghana, received a B.A. in History from Columbia University and an M.B.A. in International Management from Georgetown University. Brown’s passion for fashion was ignited by her mother. She grew up surrounded by the constant interactions and discussions of her mother and her couturiers about fabric choices and styles au courant. Her mother’s innate eye for color, quality fabrics and tailored looks influenced MansaWear’s structured pieces, bold colors and varied fabric prints.
Brown’s MansaWear line is a permanent fixture at the annual Rochester Fashion Week, where she debuts each year’s fabric and style collection to enthusiastic acclaim. It was positively received at the 2016 Essence Music Festival in New Orleans, and since 2015 the line been sold at The Gallery Store in the Memorial Art Gallery museum.
Named after my grandmother, Nana Mansa , MansaWear’s clean and simple silhouette is influenced by my grandmother’s philosophy of simplicity, tradition and forward thinking perspective on life. The line’s minimalist style complements the bright, bold and sassy colors of the fabrics. MansaWear creatively and skillfully uses the classic Ghanaian outfit, a skirt and top known as Kaba ne Slit, as the base of its design platform. My goal is to create an enduring brand clothing line using high-quality Ghanaian fabrics coupled with excellent tailoring. MansaWear designs limited edition high-quality clothes from select pattern fabrics, using classic African and Ghanaian prints as well as modern-themed fabrics. The exclusivity of the clothing line is derived from how I creatively arrange the designs in each fabric for the custom-made and unique look.
MansaWear’s vision is to make Ghanaian clothing a part of the American wardrobe. It’s about intricate patterns, opulent fabrics, immaculate tailoring and simple designs to create your style, your fashion statement. It’s about custom-made clothing that blends Ghanaian and US fashions that are elegant, stylish, versatile and “Uniquely You!“ It’s about taking your Ghanaian-inspired top, skirt, dress and combining it with existing items in your closet to create your look. By providing styling and wardrobe consultation, customers learn to style with bold patterns and vibrant colored fabrics, making it possible to create endless outfits to suit every occasion.
shown: Untitled, encaustic
For me, painting is, in the end, about paint: color, texture, the joy of putting it on and scraping it off.
I believe the results are best served by keen and repeated viewing. I try to introduce elements that are
hidden or apparent, that will encourage “reading” the paintings many times and constantly discovering something new. My painting is primarily about surface, and surface in turn is about feeling – it can be ambivalent. It gives the illusion of depth and reflection, of time and memory and complexity. One crucial element of ALL my work is the texture of the paintings, the materials I employ and the feeling they create.
shown: Happiness, ceramic
Trained in traditional pottery at Rochester, New York’s School for American Craftsmen, Nancy Jurs spent the first fifteen years of her artistic career creating functional raku works. In 1980, however, she began to expand the parameters of her ceramics, creating functional wall shelves, or “wall pouches,” that suggested butterflies or female forms. These pieces were soon replaced by “blouses” that Jurs considered emblematic of women’s bodies and spirit.
The relationship of the clothing-inspired pieces to Greek and Roman draped sculpture led Jurs to experiment with larger-than-life-size sculptural forms that suggest goddesses, women, and animals. The emotionally expressive clay shapes are hand-built or wheel-thrown and are glazed, painted with acrylics, or finished with any combination of techniques that appeals to the artist. “Where all my work was once a many-faceted female expression,” Jurs has said, “it now appears to be much more about women in emergence—a growing out, rising above, or hatching from other forms and constraints.”
shown: What Goes Around Comes Around, ceramic
Jeff received his Master of Fine Arts in Ceramics and Ceramic Sculpture from Rochester Institute of Technology’s School for American Crafts in Rochester, NY. He also did postgraduate work at the University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY and received his Bachelor of Science from West Chester University in West Chester, PA. Jeff has taught at Rochester Institute of Technology’s School for American Crafts as well Houghton College, SUNY Geneseo and Wells College. He also frequently collaborates with industry, designing ceramic dinnerware for brands like Corelle, Corningware, Dansk and Lenox.
Jeff’s work has been included in such national and international competitions as the NCEA Clay National, the San Angelo National Ceramic Competition, the Ceramics Monthly International Competition, the Fletcher Challenge Ceramics Award and Transformation: Contemporary Works in Ceramics, The Elizabeth R. Raphael Founder’s Prize.
Jeff Kell is a studio artist whose ceramic work provides commentary on political, psychological and social issues. He uses humor, irony and clear-eyed observation to explore the nature of life. Jeff also collaborates with industry to create distinctive consumer products.
shown: Shadow, bronze on granite
Olivia Kim is a figure sculptor based in Rochester, NY. A strong interest in the arts and cultures of the ancient to recent past led her to visit North, Central and South Americas, Southeast Asia and Europe to see these regions of the world first hand. She graduated cum laude with Divisional Honors in Ceramic Sculpture from the School of Art and Design, New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University of Alfred, New York in 2001. In 2004 she completed four years of post-graduate studies, receiving her Certificate in Realist Drawing, Painting and Sculpture of the Human Figure at the Florence Academy of Art in Florence, Italy. From 2005-2010 she learned techniques in bronze casting in Carrara and Pietrasanta, Italy, and produced public and private commissions in sculpture and mural painting. In 2007 she began biomechanical and biokinetic studies to give insight to her understanding of human body movement. In 2010 she moved back to Rochester, New York, continuing to make sculptures in cast glass, bronze and terracotta. Her recent projects concentrate on a range of body types, including dancers from Futurpointe Dance and the Bessie Award and Tony Award-winning Garth Fagan Dance Company. Olivia’s artwork is displayed publicly and privately in Europe, Australia and America. Her work is currently displayed at Harbor Square Gallery in Rockland, Maine and Gormley’s Gallery in Dublin, Ireland. Alongside commission work, Olivia teaches classes and workshops in drawing, anatomy and sculpture.
shown: Conference, blown and mirrored glass
Elizabeth Lyons is an award-winning sculptor and designer and has been commissioned by top interior designers and architects worldwide and published in leading design publications and books including the New York Times, Elle Decoration, Architectural Digest, and Vogue, to name a few. Among the numerous awards she has received is the prestigious Anonymous Was a Woman Foundation Award in 2005. Her sculpture has been exhibited in galleries throughout the United States.
Elizabeth is the founder and director of More Fire Glass Studio in Rochester, New York.
shown: Untitled, gouache on rag board
St.Monci was born in the U.S. and raised in Puerto Rico where he lived through his teenage years. He went on to study at New York State University at Oswego where he received his BFA and MA. He has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in New York State, Oregon, New Jersey, California, Washington DC, Canada and Germany along with being a participating artist in the Sweet Meat Co. Collective and WALL\THERAPY. He currently resides in Rochester, NY
St. Monci’s current body of work explores the most fundamental elements of art and design, in color and form, and how these elements relate to each other and the viewers. His compositions are of subjects such as perception and matter, creating autonomous structures born of color and form that are constructed into dynamic and sometimes explosive matrices of architectural and graphic elements. These structures are uncanny and meant to inform the language and nuance of color, whose purpose is to create a visceral reaction to the otherwise static elements of flat shapes. Alluding to principles of perspective is key, giving stoic forms of rectangles and lines filled with opaque washes of color and graphic pattern, a feeling of objectivity and motion through space and time. These futuristic constructions hinge on their own gravitational pull with a nexus of motion while hovering in solidarity.
shown: Columns, ceramics
Born in Rochester, NY, Peter Pincus is a ceramic artist and instructor. Peter received his BFA (2005) and MFA (2011) in ceramics from Alfred University, and in between was a resident artist at the Mendocino Art Center in Mendocino, California. Since graduate school, Peter worked as the Studio Manager and Resident Artist Coordinator of the Genesee Center for Arts and Education in Rochester, NY, Adjunct Professor of three-dimensional studies at Roberts Wesleyan College and established a studio in Penfield NY. In Fall 2014, Peter joined the School for American Crafts at Rochester Institute of Technology as Visiting Assistant Professor in Ceramics. His work has been exhibited in venues such as the Lewis Wexler Gallery, Duane Reed Gallery, Sherry Leedy Contemporary, Independent Art Projects at Mass MOCA, Chamber, Greenwich House Pottery, NCECA, Salon Art + Design, SOFA Chicago, Collective Design, and New York Ceramics and Glass Fair.
What started as my curiosity for pottery and vessel has extended to include painting and sculpture, and my present work is evidence of that evolution. I believe that color interaction can elicit new ways of seeing so I have dedicated the last five years to its study. Frequently, I elect to stage conflict by introducing an assertive color field to an equally emphatic form. This friction augments and enriches perceptions of space.
I’m proud to investigate the above concepts as a potter. I believe in grounding my work within a historic study of this craft and within art as formal and cultural languages. I believe that there is significant opportunity and necessity within the field of Ceramics to understand how it is currently defined, and more importantly, how it could be defined in the future. My work fits within a continuum and complements a broad range of investigations into the way handmade containers relate to humanity within our place in time. I find myself increasingly engaged by this topic and equally pressed to educate myself in order to explore it.