Current Artists-In-Residence

Bennie Flores Ansell

CRAFT + PHOTOGRAPHY

Born in Manila, Philippines, Bennie Flores Ansell is a Houston-based visual artist. Working in themes that address migration patterns, light, shadow and murmuration forms, her work deconstructs and re-contextualizes photographic materials. She creates objects, installations, colorful light projections and photographs by manipulating and re-contextualizing 35 mm art history slides, mirrors, and other artifacts born from the medium of photography. She says that by breaking down the fundamentals of photography into light drawings, her projections distill meaning into a more transparent form. “The objects and installations carry weight, occupy space, and deconstruct image materials to reconstruct the presence of a missing image.”

Flores Ansell is a professor in the Art Department at the Houston Community College and previously taught at the High School of Performing and Visual Arts. She holds an MFA in photography from the University of Houston and a BA in photography from the University of South Florida. She was awarded an American Photography Institute Fellowship at New York University and was an artist-in-residence at the Asia Society Museum in Houston. Her works are in many private collections and have been exhibited nationally and internationally at the International Center for Photography, Festival De La Luz in Argentina; the Daegu Photography Biennale in South Korea; Uno Art Space, Stuttgart, Germany; and Patricia Conde Galeria in Mexico City.

To learn more about Bennie Flores Ansell’s work, visit: https://www.benniefloresansell.com/.

Photograph by Madison Marshall.

Yeonsoo Kim

CLAY

In order to understand the art, history, and culture of ceramics in Korea, Yeonsoo Kim worked with Korean masters at various onggi factories and ceramic studios as a way to secure a strong foothold in the field of Korean traditional pottery. Kim’s artistic identity began developing as his life experiences and values were shared with other artists and workers. He began tasking himself with creating a new hand-built vessel each day. These works, when amassed, act as a type of diary or a visual record of listening to his inner voice. His works explore identity and psychological conditions through the processes of making and daily life.

Kim was born in Haenam, South Korea. He earned his MFA in ceramics at Lamar Dodd School of Art, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, and his BFA in ceramics and glass from the Hongik University, located in Seoul, Korea. He has held apprenticeships with Onggi masters in Jeolla-do (Hayngjong-Oh) and Gyeongsang-do (Jinkyu Huh) in Korea.=

Kim has won multiple awards and exhibited nationally and internationally. Most recently, he was named one of the top six Emerging Artists of 2020 from the National Council on Education the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) and had a solo exhibition at the Radius Gallery in Missoula, MT. He has participated in several artist residency programs, including the Korea Ceramic Foundation, Montana State University, Morean Center for Clay, and the Archie Bray Foundation.

To learn more about Yeonsoo Kim’s work, visit www.yeonsooceramics.com/.

Photograph by Yeonsoo Kim.

Shradha Kochhar

Fiber

Born in Delhi, India, Shradha Kochhar is a textile artist and knitwear designer based in Brooklyn, New York. Best known for her home-spun and hand-knitted cotton sculptures, her work combines themes of material memory, sustainability, and intergenerational healing. Focusing on generating a physical archive of personal and collective South Asian narratives linked to women’s work, invisible labor, and grief, her work is large scale and sculptural.

Kochhar incorporates resources lost and born from colonization in India into her work, including khadi, a self-reliant and equitable practice of textile making, and kala, a miracle cotton crop that sustains completely on seasonal rainfall. She sees both of these as a part of the solution to climate change, water shortage, soil degradation, and social inequity.

Kochhar received her MFA in textiles from Parsons School of Design, New York. She is a Dorothy Waxman Textile Excellence Prize Finalist and was awarded the John L. Tishman Environment and Design Award for Excellence in 2021. Her work has been featured in Architectural Digest, Vogue, Crafts, Harper’s Bazaar and other publications.

To learn more about Shradha Kochhar’s work, visit www.instagram.com/shradhakochhar/.

Photograph by Cheryl Mukherji.

Lakea Shepard

FIBER

Based in her hometown of Winston-Salem, NC, Lakea Shepard is a mixed-media designer, sculptor, and milliner. Being raised by a mechanic and a textile worker birthed the artist’s passion for designing “head-sculptures,” using traditional, African textile techniques, including beading, weaving, and basketry. Her work is submerged in symbolic universal objects speaking to obstacles within Black America. The ideas for her work are developed through dreams, historical traumas, and personal life events. Each sculpture Shepard creates incorporates her visual signature, red thread, symbolizing vitality and womanhood. The red thread is also metaphorical for veins, which is her effort to bring her ideas “alive.”

Shepard studied visual arts at UNC School of the Arts and received her BFA in crafts with a focus in fibers at the College for Creative Studies in 2013. She also attended the New York Studio Residency in Dumbo, in New York City. Her work has been shown in many galleries, including the Contemporary Art Museum of Raleigh, NC.

To learn more about Lakea Shepard’s work, visit http://www.lakeashepard.com/.

Photograph by Brandon Edwards.