News & Events
Witt Visiting Artists
Roman J. Witt Visiting Artists
Roman J. Witt Visits are offered to bring a unique artistic experience to the A&D community. The Witt Visitor comes to work at the school, give workshops for students, and participate in critiques and classroom visits. Visitors may be well-known artists-designers, as well as younger, emerging artists-designers. As visitors are meant to enhance curriculum in a practical manner, nominations are exclusive to faculty.
Fall 2015 Witt Visitors
Animation / Film Artist
The animation film artist Nikki Schuster was born in Austria in 1974 and lives and works in Berlin. In 2001 she founded her animation film label “Fiesfilm”. Her films have been successfully presented at international festivals and she has won several awards with her work.
Interdisciplinary Artist and Independent Curator
Heather Nicol is an interdisciplinary artist and independent curator based in Toronto. She has created site-specific installations across the globe. Her curatorial projects have often explored site-specific conditions as found in decommissioned, underutilized, repurposed and educational locations, and have fostered opportunities for large groups of artists working across a wide range of disciplines.
Ken Buhler’s paintings, drawings, and prints blend abstraction and recognizable imagery—often drawn from botanical or decorative forms—to explore the “terra incognita” of the natural world. Working with washes of bold color, meandering lines, stencils, and rubber stamps, Buhler creates images that feel at once new and familiar, revealing a world both luminous and layered.
Eva Wylie received her Master of Fine Arts in Printmaking from Tyler School of Art in 2003. Her work juxtaposes organic imagery with images that intimate how humanity and its detritus merge into the natural world. She currently serves on the board for Second State Press, a membership based printmaking studio located in Philadelphia, PA.
Signe Baumane is a Latvian animator, fine artist, illustrator and writer, currently living and working in New York City. A member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, she was a 2005 Fellow in Film of the New York Foundation for the Arts.
Beili Liu is a multidisciplinary artist whose time and process based installations explore subjects of cultural specificity and overlaps, transient or persistent energy, and conflicting and confluent forces. Working with everyday materials like thread, paper, incense, wood, salt, water, Liu manipulates their intrinsic and bare qualities to extrapolate much more complex cultural narratives.
Roberto Sifeuntes is Associate Professor of Performance at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Sifeuntes is an interdisciplinary performer whose work fuses highly charged cultural issues with a wild pop culture aesthetic. He is a founding member of La Pocha Nostra Performance Group, a multidisciplinary arts organization that provides a support network and forum for artists of various disciplines and ethnic backgrounds.
Feminist Artist & Gallery Director
Martha Wilson is a pioneering feminist artist and gallery director, who over the past four decades has created innovative photographic and video works that explore her female subjectivity through role-playing, costume transformations, and “invasions” of other people’s personae. In 1976 she also founded and continues to direct Franklin Furnace, an artist-run space that champions the exploration, promotion and preservation of artists’ books, installation art, video, online and performance art, further challenging institutional norms, the roles artists play within society, and expectations about what constitutes acceptable art mediums.
Selected Past Witt Visitors
Managing Director of Third Coast International Audio Festival
Originally from Chicago, Sarah Geis is the managing director of the Third Coast International Audio Festival. She began her career in audio at StoryCorps, where she travelled the country recording conversations with their Mobile and Griot tours. Later, she shifted her focus to community outreach as the manager of StoryCorps’ San Francisco program. Most recently she completed a stint as an audio producer for This Land Press, a new media organization based in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Animator, Book Arts
Colette Fu makes pop-up books using photographs from her travels around the world. She has designed for award winning stop motion animation commercials and free-lanced for clients including Vogue China, Canon Asia and Moët Hennessy • Louis Vuitton and the Disaster Research Center. Her pop-up books are included in the Library of Congress, the National Museum of Women in the Arts and many private and rare archive collections.
Leslie Fratkin is a freelance photographer, author and artist based in New York City. Fratkin’s work can be seen in many books and exhibitions and in publications in the US and abroad, including New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, National Geographic; and the Guardian, Observer, and Independent Magazines in the UK.
Nebojisa Seric Shoba
Installation, Conceptual Art, Photography
Shoba is an installation artist, photographer, sculptor, painter and performance artist currently living in New York City, originally from Sarajevo. He has exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide, including The 50th Venice Biennale (2003), Venice, Italy; Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville, Paris; Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Austria; Creative Time, NYC, among many more.
Marcelyn Bennett-Carpenter’s work explores the phenomena of structures and spaces that relate directly to the body. She creates large-scale interactive elastic installations, wearable elastic structures, sculptures, wall panels, drawings and cross-cultural community-based projects centered on weaving.
Chido Johnson is a Detroit based artist originally from Zimbabwe. Living between these two cultures has led him to explore spaces identified as other and different in an attempt to find physical or narrative performances to transform and negotiate a new sense of self, place and belonging.
Katie McGowan explores empathy and affect through a variety of media including performance and creative nonfiction. In addition to her individual practice, which is often essayistic in nature, she is a co-founding member of an amorphous education collective called FREE @RT Sch001.
Matt Shlian is a paper engineer whose work is rooted in print media, book arts and commercial design. He uses his engineering skills to create kinetic sculptures, which have led to collaborations with scientists at the University of Michigan.
Trevor Stone is a professor of art at Eastern Michigan University and a performance artist based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He is a member of the interactive performance group Spontaneous Art, a trio that casts the audience in skits that take place from sidewalks to the Smithsonian.
Carrie Morris is a director, puppeteer and performance artist based in Detroit, Michigan. Through her experimental and multimedia theater approach she aims to bring her audience to a higher understanding of the world.
Greg Tom is the Gallery Director at Eastern Michigan University where he curates upcoming exhibitions as well as manages the Art Department Lecture Series and the University Art Collection. Greg Tom received his MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.
Animation, motion graphics, filmmaking, music/sound
Collin McRae-Leix combines her skills and interests in animation, music, filmmaking, and painting to ask questions about the nature of communication and its tenuous relationship with perception and understanding. She has recently started a media production company, Little Hill Studio, with husband, Peter Leix.
Science journalist and filmmaker
Flora Lichtman is a science journalist and co-founder of Sweet Fern Productions, a multimedia production company of filmmakers and science journalists. Her work has appeared on NPR, and in The New York Times, Popular Science and The Atlantic. Previously, Flora was the multimedia editor at National Public Radio’s Science Friday.
Information design, data visualization
Kat Hartman designs complex information, a process situated at the intersection of art and research. Her interdisciplinary approach to service and information design benefits through her ability to incorporate data analysis and data visualization techniques. Hartman often operates as a translator between the expert and the public, using narratives, metaphors, and images to foster communication.
Theodore Purves is a writer and artist based in Oakland. His public projects and curatorial works are centered on investigating the practice of art in the world, particularly as it addresses issues of localism, democratic participation, and innovative shifts in the position of the audience.
Publications, public events and exhibitions
Marc Fischer is a member of Temporary Services, an art group based in Chicago, Illinois, and Copenhagen, Denmark. They champion public projects that are temporary, ephemeral, or that operate outside of conventional or officially sanctioned categories of public expression.
Spontaneous Art aims to bring strangers together for moments of authentic social connectivity and flashes of creativity. We infiltrate public spaces in costume and create entertaining spectacles that alter routine daily life. Bystanders become part of the act and spectators jump in to help shape the direction of our skits. Spontaneous Art’s performances investigate and depend on the inventiveness of strangers to reach their full potential.
Host: Holly Hughes
Animator and Filmmaker
Jeff Scher has made over one hundred films, mixing painting, typography, graphic elements and film to create beautifully vibrant and emotionally charged animations. Scher draws inspiration from everyday life: he is a poetic observer, a modern-day Baudelaire enjoying the limitless boundaries of experimentation. Scher is a regular NY Times blog contributor.
Host: Heidi Kumao
Art Historian and Curator
Irfan Hošić is an art historian and curator, based in Bihaƒá, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He received his MA and PhD degrees at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb. His research area includes Contemporary Art, Architecture and Fashion within the conflicting societies, with a special emphasis on Bosnia and Herzegovina. Hošić has authored numerous Bosnian and Croatian publications (catalogues and magazines) on contemporary art and culture. From 2010 to 2012, he wrote regularly for weekly magazine, DANI, and received an award in Art Criticism from BIRN (Belgrade, Serbia). His recent curatorial projects include Clothing as a Symbol of Identity (2012) and Art and Terrorism: Bosnian-Herzegovinian Artwork Post 9/11 (2009). Hošić is the curator of the Bosnian Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale (2013). He is currently working at the Textile Department, the University of Bihaƒá and acts as the president of the academic conferences Clothing as a Symbol of Identity (2011) and Attention! Clothing, Art, Identity (2013) hosted by the University of Bihaƒá.
Host: Endi Poskovic
Abel has spent significant time living and working in the West Bank. His work uses narratives from Palestine to disrupt narratives about Palestine. Predictable images of military, checkpoints, walls and violence are absent in his videos. His work would provide a perspective into Palestinian culture as a place where young people develop new cultural forms that are informed by occupation but not defined by violence. These are pressing issues that are important to our community of artists and designers. Abels work has been exhibited throughout New York, including shows at Galapagos Art Space, Rush Arts Gallery, 3 emerging artist and graduate of the MFA in Photography and Related Media at Parsons, The New School For Design.
Host: Rebekah Modrak
Sean Cole is a producer for the award-winning WNYC program Radiolab. and frequent contributor to This American Life, All Things Considered, and Studio 360, among others.
Host: Stephanie Rowden
Animator and Filmmaker
Miwa Matreyek creates animated short films as well as live works that integrate animation, performance, and video installation. Arriving to animation from a background in collage, her work explores how animation transforms when it is combined with body, both physically in her performance pieces, as well as a composited video element in her short films.
Host: Heidi Kumao
Performer, Director and Producer
Shawn Sides, director, is a member of the internationally renowned collective the Rude Mechanicals. Based in Austin TX, this company has toured to venues including the Walker Art Center, the Wexner Center, as well as winning Creative Capital grants and many other awards.
Host: Holly Hughes
A 2013 Guggenheim Fellow in Painting, Amer Kobaslija is originally from Banjaluka in Bosnia. In 1993, at the age of eighteen, Kobaslija’s family was ethnically cleansed from Northwestern Bosnia. Kobaslija family fled the war-ravaged country and arrived in refugee camps in Nuremberg, Germany. Afterward, Amer traveled to Dusseldorf where he attended the Art Academy. In 1997, Kobaslija was offered asylum by the United States and immigrated to Florida. Once in Florida, Kobaslija completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Printmaking at the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida. In 2003, he went on to pursue a Master of Fine Arts degree in Painting at Montclair State University in New Jersey. Currently, Kobaslija is an Assistant Professor of Art at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania. He divides his time between New York City and Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Kobaslija has had numerous one-person exhibitions in Paris, New York, Los Angeles,San Francisco, Chicago, and Miami. He is represented by George Adams Gallery in New York where he exhibited his fifth solo show with the gallery in March 2012. In
2005, he was awarded a grant from the Joan Mitchell Foundation; the following year, he received a grant from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation. Kobaslija‘s works have been reviewed and printed in publications such as The New York Times, Art in America, ArtNews, Art & Antiques, The Village Voice, New York Time Out, New York Magazine,The New York Sun, The San Francisco Chronicle, and The Florida Times Union.
Host: Endi Poskovic
Oliver Uberti is a visual journalist. He travels the world with a sketchbook in hand.
From 2003 to 2012, he worked in the design department of National Geographic Magazine, most recently as Senior Design Editor. His designs, information graphics, maps, illustrations, and art direction have won numerous international awards. In 2010, he designed 826DC’s Museum of Unnatural History–a novelty gift store, non-profit tutoring and writing center, and the only museum in America (he supposes based on absolutely zero research) with a cave, unicorn tears, and hundreds of volunteers teaching children to write.
A graduate of the University of Michigan School of Art & Design (Class of ‘03), Oliver went on to earn a Master’s in Writing from Johns Hopkins University. He is a member of the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators and has spoken at TEDx on creativity and the time required to produce good, soulful work. Oliver left National Geographic in 2012 to form his own studio, Oliver Uberti Creative. He is happy to be living and working back in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Jason de Haan
Jason de Haan is shortlisted for Canada’s prestigious Sobey Art Award. About his work, he writes: “Much of my past work has also been about allowing natural and/or environmental conditions to determine the completion (or in some cases the ongoing development) of a work or action. I work with natural tendencies, steer the known into the imaginable, creating glimpses into the unknown, the future. There is the possibility to capture and conserve both natureÊ¼s immensity and its miniature.”
Hosts: Rebekah Modrak and Robert Platt
Limin Fang is an artist and a member of the Chinese Artists’ Association. He currently lives in Hangzhou and is a Associate Dean of the Printmaking Department of the Chinese National Academy of Fine Art. He has exhibited nationally and has represented China in major international print biennials and triennials. Most recently Limin Fang’s work was shown at the University of Michigan Museum of Art Multiple Impressions: Contemporary Chinese Woodblock Prints exhibition. His works are in major collections in China, Japan, and England.
Hosts: Endi Poskovic and Y. David Chung, Larry Cressman and Kathryn Luchs
Heather Woodbury is an internationally renowned performance artist and playwright who is best known for ongoing, multi-character solos she creates with new episodes each week. Her current project is “As the Globe Warms,” which tackles environmental issues and has toured nationally.
Hosts: Holly Hughes and Malcolm Tulip
Dobkin’s performances, installations, artist’s talks and workshops are presented internationally at museums, galleries, theatres, universities and in public spaces. Her creative endeavors have received wide support and recognition, including awards from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and Toronto Arts Council, and repeated funding from the Franklin Furnace Fund for Performance Art and the Astraea Foundation.
Hosts: Holly Hughes and Malcolm Tulip
Luke Fowler is an artist, filmmaker and musician based in Glasgow. He studied printmaking at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee. He creates cinematic collages that have often been linked to the British Free Cinema movement of the 1950s. His documentary films have explored counter cultural figures including Scottish psychiatrist R. D. Laing and English composer Cornelius Cardew.
Host: Heidi Kumao