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Sloss Metal Arts Crew

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Virginia Elliott

Metal Arts Director

velliott.com

@v_r_e_

Virginia@Slossfurnaces.org

Virginia Elliott is a sculptor, weaver, and mold maker from Cincinnati, Ohio, currently living and working in Birmingham, AL. After receiving her BFA from the University of Cincinnati, she has completed multiple artist internship and residency programs through Josephine Sculpture Park, Sculpture Trails Outdoor Museum, and Sloss Metal Arts. 

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Ajene Williams

Senior Artist in Residence

Williams began his art training while attending Woodlawn High School, where he was taught and mentored by Jena Momenee.  Momenee enrolled him in the Summer Youth Program at Sloss Furnaces, where he was quickly recognized as a gifted artist, winning first place in the program’s exhibition.  Thereafter, Williams was invited to work at Sloss Furnaces in 2011 as a paid intern.  He currently holds the prestigious title of Artist in Residence at Sloss Furnaces.

As a child, Ajene wanted to be a magician, “but I was never very good,” he says.  It didn’t take long for him to realize that it wasn’t the magician’s equipment that made illusions, but rather the way the magician would use his hands.  “Hands are magic,” he explains, “We can create anything with our hands, if we are able to imagine it.”  Williams is gifted at manifesting exactly what he sees in perfect proportion, perfect harmony. Yet, he no longer seeks to create illusion with his magic.  Now, he seeks only to show the world’s deepest, most often missed truths.

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Hugh Patton

Artist in Residence

Hugh Patton is an interdisciplinary artist ranging from works that incorporate elements of sculpture, installations, performance, and drawing. Making work that typically relies on a site-responsive practice and has a deep intention for specific material choices. Working within themes of labor, process, and the intersection between industry and nature, his works aim to transform, rearrange, and re-contextualize spaces and their contents in order to speak to  both the specific of a place and its connection to a larger or universal context.

 

“I need to spend time with a place, get to know it, study it, work within it, soak it in, revere it. Let it fill me up and then filter its contents through my own. Resulting in works that feel authentic to the place they exist in (both in the material usage and where they end up.  I can’t make work in a vacuum and I like my works to live and exist within the context they are born from.”

 

Patton has deep roots within the cast iron art community and is dedicated to continuing and sharing the craft, process, and passion with a community of artists, students, and newcomers.

 

“ working within  Sloss Furnaces and Sloss Metal Arts is an amazing opportunity to learn, grow, and connect to iron casting (both historically and its contemporary practice), and to the city of Birmingham. "

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Ian Skinner

Foundry Manager

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Alexandra Rose

Artist in Residence

xroseart.com

@meltedpennies

Alexandra Rose is an intermedia artist who gravitates toward metal in sculpture and photography. Rose’s creative process is a therapeutic ritual based on connection to material, intuition, and physical labor. Working cross-disciplinarily to record moments in time, on film or in sand, allows Rose to dream, reflect, and release. The transformative quality of cast metal and the material’s duality of fluid/rigid, soft/hard, hot/cold interests Rose as a nonbinary maker. The cast iron artworks they create focus on objects associated with the body or the body itself. Their work draws upon themes of growth, change, loss, and the evolution of the authentic self.

Resident Artits

Visiting Artists

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Leticia Bajuyo

Summer 2024

leticiabajuyo.com/

@lbajuyo

From a small, rural town on the border of Illinois and Kentucky, Leticia Bajuyo began creating art in Metropolis long before realizing what she was tinkering with could be called art. A Filipinx-American interdisciplinary artist and object maker, she creates drawings, sculptures, installations, and public art that highlight crafted materiality, collected stories, and community engagement. Her interest in unpacking value perceptions finds its roots the time and space of quiet landscapes outside and the multi-national dialogues inside her family’s house influenced the development of her critiques of consumer capitalism, fickle domestic desires, and internalized pressures of assimilation.

 

Currently based in Norman, Oklahoma, Bajuyo is an Assistant Professor of Sculpture at the University of Oklahoma. She has an MFA from the University of Tennessee Knoxville and a BFA from the University of Notre Dame. In addition to exhibitions of her individual artworks, Bajuyo seeks community and welcomes collaboration by participating in artist collectives including the Filipinx Artists of Houston, Land Report Collective, and Project Vortex as well as serving on Boards of Directors for Public Art Dialogue, the Mid-South Sculpture Alliance, and Inclusion in Art in Oklahoma.  

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Ross Takahashi

Summer 2023

Rosstakahashi.com

@rosstakahashi

Ross Takahashi is a US based sculptor and award winning art educator. His work focuses on human cognition, ecological impacts, and our current climate crisis. Emergence, growth, preservation, death, and decay are harmonious elements of nature, which humanity attempts to control. His work explores these systems, and provides a glimpse into our collective understanding between the stewardship of nature and ourselves. Ross' work has been showcased in galleries and sculpture parks throughout the US, and featured internationally. 

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Tayler Allen-Galusha

Summer 2022

Tayler is a mixed media artist primarily preferring large immersive works with inclusions of natural mediums, mechanical function, light, wind, and water. Fascinated by all things visual and textural from a young age refined by a hearing and learning difference, his natural need to fill his hands and eyes provoke the creation of works inspired by these feelings of disconnect, communicative dismay, and human nature. His creations are played upon as differentiational as the mediums from which they take form, in constant progression from metal to clay, stone, wood, paper, water, and to nearly any other substance that can be found.
Currently holding a Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis on Sculpture, a minor in Art History, and a certificate in Museum Studies, Tayler has participated in a number of art calls including the Pushing Paper: Realizing The Potential of the Medium at The Barrett Art Center in Poughkeepsie, New York where he was selected as Juror’s First Prize entry. His solo exhibitions, group exhibitions, and private art commissions include sculptures at the Sculpture Trails Outdoor Museum in Solsberry, Indiana, where he interned the summer of 2021, and art galleries and private collections in the Central Alabama area. Tayler currently works as a custom ironworker for a five-generation custom iron business. Past work experiences have included numerous custom metal fabrication jobs, industrial maintenance engineer apprentice, custom home design/construction, as well as private commissions for business and private residents.
Diagnosis - Dyslexia and what educational psychologist referred to as severe symbol reversal. Tayler found these were simply labels attempting to describe why letters, numbers, and symbols dance, constantly in motion, a mind in chaos. From this sprung first love, love of the chaos, the sights, thoughts, feelings, and responses to these human experiences. It’s like a sensory roller coaster whose path is unique to each rider.

Much like a mirror, art is reflection. Of much more than self; it’s time, it’s space, it’s the void filled through which we perceive and interpret not just our present but our collective history and our place and preservation within it. Art marks our ascension to a higher realm of thought, observation, representation, and introspective reflective embodiment. So all-inclusive that it has not only the ability to show us where we began, but the power to change what we’ll become.

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Brighton McCormick

Fall 2020

brightonmccormick.com

I am a maker. A maker of objects, images, spaces, sounds, reflections, sentences and mistakes. My heavily material based practice incorporates handcrafted objects, 2D images, as well as sound and video typically resulting in installed environments. I often combine various mediums, but the resulting works live in the domain of sculpture. Utilizing experimental casting techniques for metal and clay I fossilize memories and reflections of everyday moments and formed ideologies. Philosophical inquiry guides my studio decisions. Drawing heavily on my personal experiences of American culture I create atmospheres for the viewer to reflect and question ideas about society and themselves. 

 

Wisdom of a process gained over time, development of a muscle memory, and an intimacy with a tool or material changes the source and scope of knowledge. Through this way of working and learning both the head and hand are engaged in the development of tacit knowledge. Within my practice I’m processing how the marks and memories of our personal pasts are insidious to who we become. I’m seeking to understand how individual identity development has led to increasing polarization. By creating or recontextualizing furniture and other domestic objects my work reconsiders our remembered histories. Remnants of process and everyday items are repurposed and function as an archive of what they once were and what they once meant. In the making of craft objects historically viewed as women’s work through processes typically assigned to male labor, I question both the place of skilled craft and gendered work in our modern society 

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Lily Reeves

Fall 2019

lilyreeves.com

 

Lily Reeves’ sculptural work encourages emotional and physical well-being through a holistic lens of personal, societal, and environmental healing. She uses light, space, immersive installations, and audience-participatory performance as a tool to address spiritual chasms within contemporary culture, working to spark wonder and openness in a world that is increasingly disenchanted. Her aesthetic language utilizes an uncanny and supernatural kind of magical realism, a style galvanized through growing up in the American Southeast. With her practice, Reeves positions the audience as the performer, creating a space for viewers to undergo meaningful gestures that have an impactful, transformative effect on the psyche. These gestures intend to counteract destructive practices that have wreaked havoc on the ecosystem, the individual, and the collective consciousness.

 

Reeves earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Alfred University in 2015 and her Masters in Fine Art from Arizona State University in Phoenix, AZ, where she graduated in April 2018. In 2019, Reeves was awarded the NOVA Emerging artists award from the FRESCO foundation, and the SAXE Emerging Artist Fellowship from the Glass Art society. She currently lives and works in Birmingham, Alabama, where she runs her art and design studio, Reeves Studios, full time.

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Gwen Yen Chiu

Summer 2018

gwenyenchiu.com

Gwen Yen Chiu is a Chicago based artist who creates artwork that uses abstracted images of the human form in order to critique and mimic multitudes of human emotion, gesture and interactions. She attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she originally studied fashion, and quickly fell in love with metals and changed her academic course under the mentorship of Gabriel Akagawa and Daniel Matheson. She currently works under Eric Stephenson, at Lunarburn Studios in Chicago. Through her experiences with Stephenson, she honed her skills working on large public works, fabrication, welding and fitting, mold making, and all aspects of foundry.

 

Her work often includes the process of orchestrating different materials, including but not limited to, the casting and fabrication of metals, fabrics, plastics, technology, eccetera, which assist her to comment on the feelings of displacement and ‘weights’ of everyday life. Through enhancing abstracted figures with fantasy prosthetics and bodily appendages, She strives to create a visual language which addresses the strange and obscure, surrealism, and ideas on distorted psychology.

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Gillian Harper

Fall 2023

gillianharper.com

@g__harper

Gillian Harper is a sculptor currently based in Saint Petersburg, Florida. Through a variety of materials including cast iron, bronze, aluminum, steel, wood, found objects, and organic matter she employs a range of techniques to create art. She is particularly drawn to the fascinating complexities of nature that surround her. Through repetition, tangled lines, organic forms, and color, Gillian constructs work to connect with environment and people.

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Peninah B. Feldman

Summer 2023

@peninah.b.feldman

Peninah Feldman is an emerging artist from Colorado. She recently graduated from Colorado Mesa University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts. Her current body of work examines the cohesion of man, nature, and the perpetual corrosion of both. She chose to look at the effects of how man cannot survive without nature, analyzing the effects of man’s attempts to imitate nature, control and recreate it, and the destructive consequences that follow. Only by embodying the powers of nature, rather than
abstaining from their dominance, we will hopefully become as great as it. Her work looks to examine and embody nature’s effect to create and man’s natural instinct and effect to destroy. Sustainability is a major focus and driving force of her work and career looking to re examine not only man’s existence within nature through art but also through form and space of existence through design and architecture.

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Virginia Elliott

Summer 2021

velliott.com

@v_r_e_

Virginia Elliott is a sculptor, weaver, and mold maker from Cincinnati, Ohio, currently living and working in Birmingham, AL. After receiving her BFA from the University of Cincinnati, she has completed multiple artist internship and residency programs through Josephine Sculpture Park, Sculpture Trails Outdoor Museum, and Sloss Metal Arts.

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Katie Surridge

Summer 2020

katiesurridge.com

I have an aversion to modern technology and so allow my interest in folklore, and stories or skills from the past to inspire my material choices, and making techniques. After breaking a leg falling off the top pf my van , I was stuck on the sofa for two months and discovered the National school of Blacksmithing. When fixed I left London and trained here for three years… and so began my love of working metal.

 

My recent practice has looked at researching ancient techniques and tooling, for example a major body of work has been on learning how to extract my own iron from ore, to then use sculpturally. Im interested in controlling the whole cycle of making from start to finish. The idea of manipulating these skills or adapting them to make commentary on how we exist today, in comparison with the past, is a key concern

 

I have also become interested in the performative nature of using and making tools and idea of creating an art event, or activity, where by people meet and share an experience through contact with the items I make. This has led me to explore ways of exhibiting the physical act of creating work as a performance, thus blending the boundaries between making and final piece.

 

 

A sense of humour and a genuine interest in connecting with people through my art is key. Current work is involved in the formation of unusual groups or societies which act as a platform for people to meet and the unknown to occur. Self titling as a ‘fan girl’ reflects the OCD tendencies in my work and the levels of detail I am willing to go to in my process based work. 

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Matt Crane

Summer 2019

I am an observer a collector and builder making sculpture and objects that are informed by my environment and ideas. I think of my studio as a mental and physical gymnasium where my material collections, be it new stock, freshly made castings or previously unused and discarded metal parts are combined with ideas and worked out. I use materials that have a ubiquitous presence in the world and have an inherent recyclable value. By manipulating the scale and functionality of objects of recognizable imagery and transforming them my intention is to tell stories through sculpture while exploring these shifts int the identity of objects. My constructs are simultaneously familiar yet unique and point to the liminal space of the in between and of transformation. They live somewhere within the familiar and the unknown. This idea mirrors the human condition and how many of us make our way in the world sometimes fitting in while at other times standing out.

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Ian Skinner

Fall 2018

ianskinnerart.com

In our contemporary landscape, industrial and natural elements commonly oppose each other through mankind's actions and they are doing so at an expedited rate in today’s fast- paced, throw-away culture. Products of lasting quality and beauty have become less and less common in contemporary times. As the longevity of everyday objects dwindle, so does the lifespan of overlooked structures that support the infrastructures mankind has come to rely on. Tools, bridges, water towers, and other monolithic structures are symbols of mankind’s progress and used to transcend generations needing little maintenance or replacement. Yet today are ending up thrown away or scrapped at higher rates.

The abstracted forms I create are informed by these industrial structures and the natural environment, leading to a subtle commentary on the permanence and impermanence of humanity’s impact. The processes and machinery that lead to their creation and the permanence or impermanence of their existence are inherently beautiful to me. I am left in a state of wonderment when I see natural formations or feats of humanity's ingenuity.

Through process, materials, texture, and composition I make objects that connect with the viewer and leave them with a similar sense of beauty and wonderment. I try to capture the feelings I find in the forces and materials that commonly oppose each other through the use of my own constructions as well as found objects. I find it important to make objects that transcend traditional boundaries and division between not just the people who view my work but the materials and content within the work itself. 

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