The West Harlem Art Fund and Pratt Digital Arts are pleased to announce the Northern Manhattan artists selected for a special Under the Viaduct premiere. Rafia Santana, Charlie Reynoso, Dianne Smith and Debra Swack will work with Pratt this summer to create four original digital works that will be presented in our third installment of Under the Viaduct, 2015 in October.
Pratt Digital Arts is providing technical support that will help realize these innovative works. Additional support was made possible by the West Harlem Development Corporation. Special thanks is given to NYC Department of Transportation’s Weekend Walks, the Office of Councilman Mark Levine, the Office of Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Manhattan Community Board 9, 26th Police Precinct and 30th Police Precinct.
I’m a multimedia artist whose work centers around mental health and reaffirming my identity & existence on earth. As a small black woman I am persistently misunderstood and underestimated so I make images prominently featuring myself, digitally altered, often in grotesque ways to express my discomfort & struggles with depression, anxiety, and racism. Along with visual art I create music and digital soundscapes.
Charlie Reynoso is a native New Yorker, born in Washington Heights and currently residing in Inwood. Raised in New York, hip hop culture and the urban environment had a huge influence on Reynoso’s love for art. He began drawing in school notebooks as a kid and over time developed as a graffiti artist and photographer. Today, Reynoso works with “I Love My Hood”, a collective of artists, supporting and implementing public art that engages local communities and encourages them to take pride in their hood.
Smith’s career as an abstract painter, sculptor, installation artist, art’s educator and Cultural worker spans over 17 years. Her work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions both nationally and internationally.
Her solo and group exhibitions include Surface and Soul, 2012, Piedmont Art Center, Martinsville, Virginia, Connections, 2012, Art Basel, Miami, No Limits, 2013, at The Harrison Museum of African American Culture, Roanoke Virginia, and a group exhibition in Berlin, Germany at the Atelierhof Kreuzberg entitled Transformers Coiled Potentials, 2012. She is also known for her public art installations such as, Gumboot Juba, 2011, Armory Week, New York City, Organic Abstract, 2013, the New York City Parks Department, Armory Week and Bartow Pell Mansion as well as, the Andrew Freedman Houses, Bronx, New York.
In 2007, the historical Abyssinian Baptist Church commissioned Smith to create the artwork commemorating their 2008 Bicentennial. She was also featured in the 2007 Boondoggle Film Documentary Colored Frames. The film took a look back at fifty years in African-American Art. In addition, she co-produced an online radio show the New Palette, for WPS1 ArtonAir.org dedicated to visual artists of color. Her work is in the private collections of Danny Simmons, Rev. and Mrs. Calvin O. Butts, III, Cicely Tyson, George Faison, Arthur Mitchell, Terry McMillian and the late Dr. Maya Angelou.
Smith attended the Otis Parsons School of Design, the Fashion Institute of Technology, and LaGuardia High School of Music and Art. She received her MFA from Transart Institute in Berlin, Germany.
Debra Swack is a writer, Fulbright Specialist and Phi Theta Kappa in computer science who began exhibiting new media and sound art in the early 90s at Xerox Parc. She is employed as an Education Specialist by the SUNY Research Foundation at Buffalo State College where she does software testing and technical writing and lives and works in Harlem.
She is mentioned in Art and Innovation at Xerox Parc, published by MIT in 1999, and works with immersive and interactive environments and has received three co-production grants (Carousel, 95 Chimes and Digital Maze Symmetry Project) and a Fulbright grant for research in haptic and eye-tracking devices from Banff Centre. Her last article on The Emotions after Charles Darwin, a project on the universality of emotions on a biological level was published by Leonardo Electronic Almanac/MIT Press in 2013 and was featured in Binghamton University Magazine in 2015 in addition to being presented internationally.
Animal Patterning Project; a software derived, synthetic bio-art interactive animation was published in Infinite Instances, by Random House in 2011 and exhibited at the Binghamton University Art Museum and Offline at Central Booking Gallery in NYC in 2014. In 2014, she was a visiting artist at the American Academy in Rome and also presented Cloud Mapping Project at the Pera Museum in Istanbul for MIT as part of the Trans-disciplinary Conference on Molecular Aesthetics (published by LEA/MIT Press). She is also collaborating with evolutionary biologist Monica Gagliano on Bloom, a bioacoustics sound-art installation that was presented at the Sound, Images and Data Conference at NYU for LEA/MIT and which will also be published in Plants and Us, edited by Monica Gagliano and LEA/MIT Press. Animal Patterning Project will be presented outdoors projected interactively onto moving dancers as part of the Under the Viaduct series curated by Savona Baily McCain in collaboration with Pratt Institute on October 3, 2015. 95 Chimes, a sound art installation relating music to String Theory first presented at the Museum of Natural History in 2002 in conjunction with the ASCI-SCI Art Symposium, will be presented in Resonant Structures at SUNY Stony Brook in February 2016.