Crit Group Crew: Leslie & Jean

Mentor: Leslie Fandrich

Location: Warwick, NY, USA – ET

Mother to a 12 and 15 year old


IG: @lesliefandrich

Mentorship Style: “I believe in a supportive style of mentoring and critique where we discuss what the work is doing and communicating, rather than make judgements about whether work is good or bad. I am interested in what the goals of the artist are and I offer feedback that might help them understand their work better. I also have an extensive library and spend a significant amount of time reading and researching art and art history and sharing that knowledge with others is very important to me. I am interested in looking beyond what can be found in art history textbooks, and digging a little deeper for marginalized artists, personal stories and unique contexts for art.”

Bio: Leslie Fandrich is an interdisciplinary artist. Her feminist practice explores how her cisgendered female body has transformed through caregiving and how home can be a fractured, fragile and unsettled place. Leslie curates A Red Space, an online resource for artists that features studio visits, exhibitions and books focused on contemporary art by women and marginalized identities. She is an adjunct faculty member at Dutchess Community Collage where she teaches Digital Photography and Drawing, has facilitated workshops throughout the Hudson Valley, and has been a guest critic at The University of Connecticut and The University of Missouri. Leslie received an MFA from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston, MA and a BFA from the Alberta University of the Arts in Calgary, AB, Canada.

An Open Book, 2021, Fabric, thread, fiber fill, buttons, 8 x 24 x 16″

My work has evolved into a practice that is about the relationship of parts to wholes. I frequently use objects that can be found in a home, combined with sewn pillowy sacks and zippers that call out to the intimacy and dependency that develops in the foundational relationships between parents and children. Abstraction, the abject and humor are devices that allow me to explore heavy emotional issues related to loss, love and agency. I think about the dialectics between two opposing forces like hard and soft or male and female and I investigate the space between. That third space is the space I seek, a place where two opposite ends of a binary can be true at the same time. My understanding and acceptance of my queerness and bisexuality later in life has been critical to this work. I am currently working on a series of soft sculptural books, hand stitched and machine sewn, with a variety of tactile and sensual fabrics, that reference caregiving, parenting, bodies, intimacy, sexuality, queerness and identity. The books can be handled, engaging with haptic memory and a sense of touch.

Visiting Artist: Jean Shin

Website & IG: @jean.shin

Bio: Recognized for her monumental installations, artist Jean Shin transforms large accumulations of everyday objects into expressions of identity and community engagement. For each project, she amasses vast collections of a particular object—prescription pill bottles, sports trophies, sweaters—often sourced through donations from individuals in a participating community. These intimate objects then become the materials for her conceptually rich sculptures, videos, and site-specific installations that interrogate our connection with consumption, environmental impact, and the life cycle of objects. Distinguished by her meticulous, labor-intensive process, Shin’s arresting installations reflect individuals’ personal lives as well as collective issues that we face as a society.

Shin’s innovative work has been widely exhibited in over 150 major museums and cultural institutions, including solo exhibitions at The Museum of Modern Art in New York, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington DC, Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art in Arizona, Crow Collection in Dallas and Storm King Art Center. Her works have been on view at the New Museum, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Museum of Fine Art Boston, Asia Society Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Queens Museum, Museum of Art and Design, Barnes Foundation, among other prestigious museums. This year Shin has a solo project at Olana State Historic Site in Hudson, NY. 

Born in Seoul, South Korea and raised in the United States, Shin attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 1999 and received a BFA and MS from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. She also received an honorary doctorate from New York Academy of Art. Shin is a tenured Adjunct Professor of Fine Art at Pratt Institute and a recipient of Pratt’s 2017 Alumni Achievement Award. Shin is President of Joan Mitchell Foundation and serves on the Board of YoungArts The National Foundation for the Advancement of Artists.

She lives and works in Brooklyn, NY, and in Hudson Valley.

Installation view of Jean Shin | Pause, 2020, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. Photograph © Asian Art Museum of San Francisco