For the past several years, Jaye Schlesinger has worked almost exclusively in oils and her subject matter has evolved to become “the common object.” She usually isolates an object from its normal context and portrays it in a way that allows it to become symbolic, metaphorical, or provocative. Her aim is to create an object portrait rather than a traditional still life composition. She finds that everyday objects can provide a powerful window into the lives that people live and the finished paintings often evoke powerful personal associations. She leans towards “the more mundane the better” in terms of subject matter and her work recently has included food items, shopping bags, packaging, and other popular culture items. She is constantly searching for subjects that possess just the right combination of strong visual appeal, a sense of whimsy or humor, and an element of social commentary.
Mario Kaiser is a writer of narrative nonfiction whose work seeks to expand the understanding of social justice and human rights. His stories are based on long-term immersion in environments that are difficult to access, illustrating how government policies and social disruptions transform people’s lives. He is a co-author of six books and has written about people smugglers in Albania, accompanied Mexican migrants on their journey to the United States, reported on the war in Iraq, and examined the first suicides at the prison camp in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. A former reporter and editor for Die Zeit and Der Spiegel, his work has also appeared in Granta, The International New York Times, Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin, Guernica, and Narratively. His writing has been recognized with numerous awards, including the Kurt Tucholsky Prize for Literary Journalism, the Henri Nannen Prize, and the Kurt Schork Award in International Journalism. He lives in New York City.
Professor Jerry Monteith has taught sculpture and woodworking in the School of Art and Design at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale since 1990. He served as Head of Graduate Studies for 10 years before stepping down recently. His work has been shown at venues across the United States and includes large, site-specific and interactive projects as well as a recent series of miniature works, called Attractors in mixed media on steel wire armatures. The latter were shown at OK Harris in New York in 2013, and recently at Gallery 210 at the University of Missouri in St. Louis. His monumental earthwork, Lightspill is sited on the grounds at the Cedarhurst Center for the Arts in Mt. Vernon, Illinois.