The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown welcomed its 2019-20 class of 20 winter fellows on Oct. 1, 10 in writing and 10 in visual arts. They will be in town through April, working on individual and, occasionally, collaborative projects. The Independent queried the fellows via email about their work and unique backgrounds. Here is what we learned.
Johannes Barfield is a familiar face in Provincetown, having lived here last year when his wife, Stephanie J. Woods, was a visual arts fellow at the work center. Barfield, hailing from Winston-Salem, N.C., is a multimedia artist who works with photos, sculpture, video, and sound installation. He plans to create a large body of work during his time here.
Born in Mexico, wood sculptor Raul De Lara immigrated to the U.S. in 2005 and became a dreamer in 2012. “I sculpt wood as I blend world traditions, rituals, and techniques with contemporary storytelling,” De Lara says. He most recently lived in Richmond, Va., and plans to work this year on group and solo exhibitions at FAWC’s Hudson Walker Gallery.
Visual artist Akiko Jackson is a second-year fellow, having already participated in the program in 2012. She’s glad to be back at the work center and in the greater Provincetown community. Jackson was born and raised in Kahuku, Hawaii, and uses found objects, clay, metal, clothing, and synthetic hair in her work, which, she says, asks the questions “How do we mourn for those we’ve lost?” and “How do we heal from the adversities we face?”
Anina Major’s practice explores “relationships between self and place,” she says. Her sculptures, tapestry and immersive installations often refer to her home in Nassau, Bahamas, and she is already finding connections to Provincetown. “I was struck by the similarities between this small beach town and some of my favorite places at home,” she says, such as the Cape’s pitch pines, which recall Caribbean pines from the Bahamas.
Hannah Morris is looking forward to studying the Cape’s landscapes in her work. Having grown up in upstate New York and the Berkshires, Morris ponders art theory and philosophy in conjunction with her painting. At the work center, she says, she plans to “keep painting and see what turns up on the canvas.”
Antonius-Tín Bui (they/them) plays with hand-cut paper, photography, social practice and performance in their work. “Calling myself an un-disciplinary or poly-disciplinary artist would be fitting,” says Bui, who plans to workshop performance pieces for the first few months at FAWC. Provincetown is a “little heaven” for Bui, who thinks “this is exactly where my drag persona was meant to be born! If anyone would like to be my local drag mother/father/guardian, please let me know.”
Hailing from Tampa, Fla., oil painter Jake Troyli creates absurdist portraits and surreal landscapes. He spent the summer working on new concepts for his work and plans to take full advantage of the time and space that the work center provides. Although Troyli is new to Provincetown, he says he’s looking forward to experiencing the seasons and “incorporate this new landscape into my paintings.”
Autumn Wallace (they/them) uses cartoons, sculpture, painting, and more to explore the intersections of sexuality and marginalized communities. Wallace is interested in how absurdity and confusion can create discussions “that will helpfully lead to a new or deeper understanding of a topic, or at least generate curiosity.” Already enamored with Provincetown, Wallace hopes to stay here through the summer.
Pat Phillips, who is from Pineville, La., plans to spend his first months at FAWC preparing for a solo show in Los Angeles in February. Phillips paints mainly with acrylic, airbrush, and spray paint, and knows Provincetown well, having rented a studio here last year. He says that he’s happy to be back, especially because the work center hosts “an amazing group of staff and fellows.”
Nora Corrigan plans to finish her first novel, which is set on a North Dakota oil rig, and continue work on a second novel this year at FAWC. “My parents live in Bourne, so I was familiar with the Cape before moving here, though I hadn’t spent much time this far out,” Corrigan says. She and her husband are already enchanted by Provincetown.
“Since I’ve arrived in Provincetown, I’ve felt a continental relief, an abandon that has been inspiring the voice of my autobiographical novel and autobiographical project of poetry,” writer Kevin Fitchett reports. Having driven here from the North Cascades in Washington state with his poodle, Fitchett, he is enjoying learning about the other fellows and soaking up Provincetown’s reflective energy and inspiring landscapes.
Esther Lin is from Queens, N.Y., and San Francisco’s Bay Area, and says that Provincetown “is the most rural place I’ve ever lived, and I’m happy for the chance to taste an utterly different spectrum of life.” Lin is working on her first collection of poems, Cold Thief Place, and often writes about herself and her family, including her mother’s experiences during the Cultural Revolution in China, and growing up as an undocumented immigrant in the U.S.
Originally from Maracaibo, Venezuela, and more recently from Brooklyn, N.Y., poet Francisco Márquez plans to spend his time at the work center writing, revising, and experimenting with visual art, potentially in collaboration with other fellows. His poems revolve around mortality, queerness, immigration, and family. “I’m always paying attention, writing down images or overheard lines, and sit with them as they orbit and, with luck, come together in surprising combinations,” he says.
“Right now, I’m thinking a lot about how we use language — sometimes mindlessly, or duplicitously,” poet Joy Priest says. Born and raised in Louisville, Ky., Priest plans to work in multiple genres and take full advantage of FAWC’s resources. Having visited Provincetown in 2016 for a workshop, she’s familiar with the joys the town affords. “The ability to access anything I need on foot, including the beach a little more than a block away, gives me a lot of peace,” she says. “It’s one of the most humane places I’ve ever been.”
Fiction fellow Callie Collins is from Austin, Texas, and although she has more recently lived in Ann Arbor, Mich., she is still writing about Texas. At the work center, she plans to wrap up a collection of stories and dive back into a novel she began a few years ago. “I’m interested in fame and infamy, womanhood, faith, geography, and history,” Collins says. Her novel is set in the ’70s Austin music scene.
The other FAWC fellows, whom we weren’t able to reach before press time, are second-year visual artist Coady Brown; Nigerian-born short story writer Gbolahan Adeola; writer J.W. Ptacek; novelist Hanna Pylväinen, an assistant professor at Virginia Commonwealth