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Alchemy is an Ontario-based artist residency bult on four pillars: art, food, farm and community. Attracting artists from Canada and throughout the world, its programming initiatives are led by artists Claire Tallarico and Tonia Di Risio. In July 2023, we begin our 7th Harvest Season session in Prince Edward County, Ontario.
In the various arts disciplines and mediums I work in, the important elements I seek are related to our universal experiences as emotional, intellectual, constantly evolving human individuals. I am profoundly interested in the human experience (its dilemmas and joys), in what binds us and creates connections between us. I am as much interested in the soul of people (and things) as in the surface realities. Stories are tantamount. I believe in the sacred nature of “story” in the sense that the telling of stories has been the primary conduit of sharing our human nature between
cultures and ages, whether in words, in film, in a photograph, or visual art. Human actions (and the emotions that describe our actions) define us in love, in war, in pain, in joy. I seek to capture these stories of human action whether it's in my writing, theatre, photography, filmmaking, or art work. The impulse comes from the same place (my curiosity about us as beautiful, and often suffering, creatures). The artistic medium may shift, but seeking out the human grace that resides within our contradictory emotional lives is the steadfast principle behind my work.
Adriana Daniela Ciocci is an interdisciplinary artist and PhD student conducting research in the history of technology at the University of Toronto. Currently, she is investigating the materiality of knowledge production in the 17th century — such as inks, paper, and printing technologies. In 2023 Ciocci completed a Book History and Print Culture Printing Fellowship at the Massey College Bibliography Room, where she reconstructed a 17th-century ink recipe, inking tools, and papermaking processes. This research forms the basis for her project at Alchemy during the summer of 2023, in which Ciocci plans to gather materials for ink to be used for letterpress prints that reference Hillier, Ontario, in their materials and text.
Ciocci holds an MFA in sculpture from Pennsylvania State University and a BFA in sculpture from the University of Delaware. Her art practice specializes in using atypical materials and processes that range from freezing food into alginate molds to weaving with naturally dyed fibres. Recurring themes in her work are nostalgia, absence, and restoration.
Barbara Brown trained as a visual artist at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (now NSCAD University) and completed her graduate work at what is now Manchester Metropolitan University, in England. Her thesis work was concerned with the production of large scale sculptural installations for architectural spaces using enlarged textile techniques. She has completed public commissions for the City of Ottawa, the Province of Ontario at Thunder Bay and Manchester Metropolitan University, England.
Barbara has exhibited in solo and group shows nationally and internationally, most recently in Terroir: belonging to place at the Ottawa School of Art and Returning and LifeCycle Conversations a collaboration with sculptor Cynthia OBrien, shown in Ottawa and Minden Ontario., EarthBound a series of 4 images for the Photosynthesis Garden at the School of Photographic Arts Ottawa, and a solo exhibition, Desire for Acadia at David Kaye Gallery, Toronto, 2018 (Contact Photography Festival). Participation in residencies includes, Kingsbrae International Residence for the Arts, St. Andrews, NB, 2017; Kala Chaupal Artists Collaborative Residency, Jaipur, India, 2017; and Alchemy: An Artist-Led Residency, ON, 2018, 2020 and 2023. The Ontario Arts Council has supported her exhibitions.
Her current project is Sowing the Future which showcases women farmers and their regenerative and sustainable farming practices which debuted as a three way collaboration between Jess Weatherhead, farmer/painter, Diane Perazzo eco poet with photography by Barbara. During the 2023 growing season Barbara will carry on the project independently with a focus on women farmers in Prince Edward County.Barbara Brown trained as a visual artist at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (now NSCAD University) and completed her graduate work at what is now Manchester Metropolitan University, in England. Her thesis work was concerned with the production of large scale sculptural installations for architectural spaces using enlarged textile techniques. She has completed public commissions for the City of Ottawa, the Province of Ontario at Thunder Bay and Manchester Metropolitan University, England.
Patti Randazzo Beckett is a graduate from McMaster University with a BA in Honours Art and Women's Studies. Before pursuing her own artistic career, she spent several years supporting artists in various genres. Patti's artwork has been showcased in solo and group exhibitions throughout southern Ontario, and she has also participated in artist residencies.
The inspiration for much of Patti's artwork comes from her feminism, Canadian-Sicilian heritage, and her love for horses. She incorporates these influences into her pieces, which often explore themes of land, water, and flora. Patti's extensive travels play a significant role in her artistic process, as she uses photo documentation to capture and examine her surroundings. She has a particular affinity for taking close-up, intimate shots of small areas, such as a six-inch square of flora, land, or structures.
Patti's paintings convey a simple narrative that is filtered through her personal experiences and studies of her Sicilian ancestry. Her work delves into the interplay between line and empty space, as well as color and form, creating a sense of disquiet and tension. She begins her creative process with gestural life drawings and then employs intuitive embellishment, resulting in pieces that are both representational and abstracted.
Overall, Patti Randazzo Beckett's artistic practice is a reflection of her exploration of various elements, including feminism, her heritage, and her observations of the natural world. Through her unique approach to painting and her use of photography, she brings a distinctive perspective to her artwork.
Annika Walsh is an emerging artist who works with food, cooking, and nature to further the notion of connectedness and togetherness. Their work is often presented as participatory sculptural installations and performance. Annika reliably uses surrounding ingredients and materials in a sustainable manner. Collaboration with other artists and folks from different disciplines is also a very important part of their practice.
Daniel Sharp is an Ottawa-based visual artist. Sharp works in a variety of directions in painting, exploring abstraction and representation. His work can be regarded as research into the idea that his paintings are signs or markings like poetry, like diary notes, like telling stories, or like notations for music. Art is articulation of thoughts and feelings. Sharp is speaking about his sense of our present time where truths are provisional and contextual. Ultimately he is trying to make interesting paintings to look at.
Daniel Sharp studied painting and design at York University in Toronto (BFA 1979) and did graduate studies in art history and cultural theory in Canadian Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa (1985-89). Sharp worked at the artist-run Artspace Gallery in Peterborough Ontario (1980-82) and was Artistic Director at the Ottawa artist-run centre Gallery 101 (1989-91). From 1991 until 2017 he worked as a program officer, then manager and curator with the Canadian government’s art collection for embassies and diplomatic missions abroad. He is currently employed in an on-going practice of painting and drawing.