Cori Amato Hartwig
This issue our talented and overworked music, fiction, and visual arts editor, cori amato hartwig, also took on two tasks in our community. Cori interviewed asha ganpat, our main artistic feature and did a book review for When the Crowd cries.
A special thanks goes out to Asha Ganpat from the entire crooked teeth team for helping us make Summer in the city such a visually pleasing piece that it is today.
to find out more about cori amato hartwig or the artists featured in these pieces, click below:
A sample of:
Without Maestro: an interview with artist and Montclair State University professor Asha Ganpat
by Cori Amato Hartwig
Folded away in a forest accessed through a series of roads sewn through Livingston, New Jersey, lays Riker Hill Art Park, a county-owned property that sits on one of the highest points in the state. Previously a United States missile tracking base during World War II, huge trees, bright green foliage, and old tracking structures surround the building. Sandra Anton, the president of Essex County Riker Hill Art Park tours me around the property, walking me through the artists’ studios, which exist in a converted military offices. The outside of the building appears slightly unattended to, with long patches of grass in the front and chipping paint on the main building. However, the inside of the building beams with life and the creation of art. On the forty-two acre property, thirty-eight artists-in-residence use the spaces to create art of all forms: from glassblowing to painting to sculpture to jewelry-making. One of these artists, Asha Ganpat, comes to me through a recommendation by Sandra Anton, who speaks highly of Asha’s contemporary art, which I immediately look up on her website, ashaganpat.com, and am completely mesmerized by.
Born in Trinidad and raised in New Jersey, Asha Sara Praasadi Ganpat learned the teachings of many religions including Catholicism, Hinduism, Judaism, Rastafarianism, several sects of Christianity, Obeah, and Vodun, but practiced none of them. Instead of practicing a single belief, Ganpat was exposed to many and was told none were her own. As a result, spirituality reoccurs in her work because it acts as a “palpable wall between [her] and most of humanity. It is a barrier [she] cannot help but see, and in [her] work the disconnect emerges as a curiosity and question to the belief structures themselves.” She spent her childhood absorbing Indo-Caribbean culture as well as the culture of the New York City suburb she was raised in. Despite the multiplicity of her upbringing, her hometown did not have many minorities; and she “quickly learned to pass for white.”
For as long as she can remember, Ganpat knew her destiny to be both an artist and a professor. Some of her first experimentations with art included “mak[ing] talismans and imagin[ing] that [she] could imbue objects with power, something [that she] still work[s] with today.” While she works with many mediums within visual art such as drawing, gilding, carving, etc., Ganpat goes back to sculpture and installation: modes of art that allow the artist the ability to play with the third and fourth dimensions, which allow the piece to interact with the viewer in a way that solidifies its reality. While she was confident in her future as an artist and a professor, she “briefly considered a career as a sociologist, but it did not take long to realize that a slightly unethical socio-experiment would unveil as visual art without limitation.” Thus, art becomes more than just art; art becomes truth and symbol, in which the viewer can interact with the art and its realness, question reality through the work, and complete the work itself. For Ganpat, interactivity plays an important role in the works; she aims “for the experience to feel effortless, without maestro, and evoking solely natural responses.”
A sample of:
When The Crowd Cries by Øyvind Jonas Jellestad
a book review by Cori Amato Hartwig
As if it were a time capsule, Øyvind Jonas Jellestad’s When The Crowd Cries offers readers a chance to go back in time, back to a time at which Andy Warhol and Robert Mapplethorpe drove the styles of portrait and fashion photography. Providing us with nearly eighty pages of black and white film, the book serves as a catalog featuring the late model AnneGrethe Fuller. Jellestad shot the photos between 1979 and 1984, while he was working as a freelance photographer in Norway; the first edition of the book was not published until May 2017.
The title, When The Crowd Cries, conjures up lyrics from the David Bowie song “What In The World,” off of his iconic 1977 album Low, a song in which Bowie sings out to a young girl, insisting for her to “wait until the crowd cries.” AnneGrethe Fuller reminds us of the young girl Bowie sings to; this book marks some of the highlights of her modeling career and acts as her shining moment when the crowd cries for her.
Jellestad’s vision shines through the prints. The photos, while diverse, have clear consistency and interesting form. In a particular print, Fuller tilts her head back with her back facing the camera, creating beautiful lines and shape with her head, shoulders, and collarbones, emphasized by the Mapplethorpe-esque contrast provided by the black and white film. The human body itself plays an important role in creating the eye-catching form of these pieces; Fuller displays a natural sense of space and shape, her poses and facial expressions challenging the binaries between clean and dirty, and professional and fun/flirty. While she is considered a traditionally beautiful woman, Fuller models with a genuine way about her, expressing a sense of self and quirkiness that reflects the spunky element so prominent during the time, when glam rock and new wave ran rampant and proved that beauty could be messy, fun, and different. When viewing the photographs, people are reminded of Warhol’s work with Mick Jagger from 1975, as Jellestad plays with line in his photographs. Fuller’s eyeliner stands out in a series of prints that heavily rely on line to create strong, quirky portraits.
In the second edition of the book, Jellestad has added a forward providing some information about AnneGrethe and himself. This enhances the experience of the art; AnneGrethe never thought of herself as a model until she saw the prints of herself. Knowing that the camera made AnneGrethe transform into a different person, a model transcending ideals of beauty and fashion, makes seeing these photographs all the more special.