Collective exhibition, until March 30, 2012.

The two Jamaican artists Oneika Russell and Sandra Stephens exhibit together at the gallery of the Minson-Williams-Proctor Art Institute in Utica, New York, USA.

Conceived as an individual exhibition where the works of the two women are combined together, and where they answer and associate with one another, Conversation Exchange is an ingenious assemblage of the drawings and illustrations of Oneika Russell and of the videos of Sandra Stephens. The principle is the following: each exhibits their most recent artworks, besides intervening in one or several pieces of the other.

Currently in Japan where she follows classes of animation and of artistic videos at the Kyoto Seika University, Oneika Russell presents “A Natural History”. This series completes the work of the artist on portraits: she often uses figures, imaginary characters for which she re-invents clothes, skins and textures. She creates a new language. Her dreamlike universe is imbued with the influence of fairy tales, of Pre-Raphaelites painting and of fantasy. Under this innocent cover, Oneika Russel is looking for the sources of our identity and for the ways we define ourselves in relation with our history and how the other perceives us.

Sandra Stephens & Oneika Russell © Munsons Williams Proctor Art Institute

Sandra Stephens is a video artist who explores the same questions of identity. Language and communication are essential elements in the perception we have of our self, which we want to communicate to others – just like they are important in the perception we have of the other. The Jamaican artist is also interested in the relationships to the skin color and to the imaginary it entails. The social and cultural gains influence us in the constitution of our identity and of our individual memory. Her pieces are going as far as entering the most intimate thing that we have: the skin, which she shows in hollow and in creases, so close from the skin that we do not know any longer which part of the body we are looking at.


School of Art Gallery, Pratt Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, 1200 State Street, Utica, New York, USA.

Exhibition on view from Monday to Saturday, from 8.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. (except Saturday until 12 p.m.), from March 2 to 30, 2012.