I explore and interpret through performance, video, objects and images, the ways that soft technologies in conjunction with hard technologies, facilitate the rendering and surrendering of the physical and psychological body over time. My work interrogates the material and immaterial possibilities of inheritance, memory, storytelling, race, ethics and aesthetics, while mapping the past onto geographies of the present.
I’ve been working with the character of Sally Hemings, Jefferson’s slave and mistress, for over three years. She is a conjured ghost, meant to unsettle and refuse easy interpretation. Her story is not that of a runaway or revolutionary, but speaks of the creativity, survival, endurance, and forced intimacy that constitute so much of everyday life, then and now.
Live performances have been site-specific, while video performances and installations have been focused on locating the character is a digital landscape. What Would Sally Do and Auction, involved singing karaoke, eating chicken, and going for a run at Monticello as Hemings, and auctioning off intimate handmade items she would have made for her master. The film, Hemings in Paris, explores Hemings’ experience in the city, where she spent two years of her life, where her relationship with Jefferson began, and where freedom was available to her and refused. For live video performances, Sally & Monica’s Hot Tub Hangout and Hemings and Hawings (later an installation), Hemings talked with fellow subject of scandal, Monica Lewinsky, who then featured in the talk show in which Hemings anchored a virtual roundtable of notable women hailing from four corners of the media landscape. WORKOUT With Sally Hemings, dealt with manual and affective labor as performed globally and domestically by people of color and pantomimed in First World exercise videos. Wanderings & Wondering with Sally Hemings was a guided tour conducted from the back of a tram bus at Storm King Art Center this past July 4th weekend. An upcoming Sally Hemings-led tour, on September 9th, will be conducted in the period rooms in the American Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Departing from the character-driven work, I am currently working on a commission from the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program’s Monument Lab, to build an ephemeral monument at Weccacoe Park, the site of a playground and recently-discovered African American burial ground.
I want to make history alive in the present through the magic of mimesis and against the forces of a forgetful cultural landscape. The work works on me as I hope it works on viewers; providing insight not only into how history is understood, but how it is felt.
WHITNEY MUSEUM INDEPENDENT STUDY PROGRAM, New York, NY- Studio Program
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF THE ARTS, Valencia, CA- M.F.A in Art
SKOWHEGAN SCHOOL OF PAINTING & SCULPTURE, East Madison, ME- Summer Residency
HARVARD UNIVERSITY, Cambridge, MA B.A. Cum Laude in Visual and Environmental Studies- B.A. Cum Laude in Visual and Environmental Studies.
Wanderings & Wonderings with Sally Hemings, Storm King Art Center, New Windsor, NY
Hemings in Paris: A Rough Cut Screening, Find & Form Space, Boston, MA
Slave to a Narrative, CalArts, Valencia, CA
In the Imagination of The Other, CalArts, Valencia, CA
Broadcast, The South Dallas Cultural Center, Dallas, TX
SELECT GROUP EXHIBITIONS
PDFOBJECT, Mana Contemporary Chicago, Chicago, IL
Hard Work, Skowhegan
the doer of great deeds and the speake r of great words, HAP Gallery, Portland, OR
Whitney Independent Study Program Studio Exhibition, The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, New York, NY
Live to Tape Artis t Television Festival, Links Hall, Chicago, IL
The New Familiar, 350 E 3RD Studio, Long Beach, CA
Violence, N udes, and Grandmas, The Situation Room, Los Angeles, CA
Marisa Williamson, J. S oto & Judith Leemann, Vox Populi, Philadelphia, PA
SkowheganPERFORMS, Socrates Sculpture Park, Long Island City, NY
Perform Chinatown 2014, Chinatown, Los Angeles, CA
#ImNotBuyingIt, The Arcade, Los Angeles, CA
MAS Attack, Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, CA
Haunted, Cultural Alliance of Long Beach, Long Beach, CA
TêteàTête, RAID Projects, Los Angeles, CA
Greater Los A ngeles MFA Exhibition 2013, Cal State University Long Beach, Long Beach, CA
How Many Feminists Does it Take it Take to Change a Lightbulb?, Antena Gallery, Chicago, IL
Seminar: A Project with Clifford Owens, Pioneer Works, Brooklyn, NY
Yard Work, Craftswoman House Temporary Residence, Los Angeles, CA
Subject Matters: CalArts MFA 2013 Graduate Exhibition, Mandarin Plaza, Los Angeles, CA
This Is All We Have In Common, Lime Gallery, Valencia, CA
Project 0012, Journey’s End, Cape Elizabeth, ME
Greater Los Angeles MFA Exhibition 2012, Cal State University Long Beach, Long Beach, CA
In the Corner, Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Respect, Avenue 50 Studio, Los Angeles, CA
Forwar d Thinking: A Curatorial Roundabout, LA Convention Center, Los Angeles, CA
Faculty Show 2011, Fort Worth Community Art Center, Fort Worth, TX
Fictional, Bath House Cultural Center, Dallas, TX
Faculty Show 2010, Fort Worth Community Art Center, Fort Worth, TX
Massachusetts Hall Student Art Exhibition, Office of the President, Cambridge, MA
Inside/Out: Senior Thesis Show, Carpenter Center, Cambridge, MA
New Museum Seminars: (Temporary) Collections of Ideas, Fall 2015; Shandaken Project Residency, Summer 2015; ACRE Residency full scholarship, Summer 2014; Rema Hort Mann Foundation YoYoYo Grant awardee, 2014; Rema Hort Mann Award nominee, 2014; Armory Center for the Arts Teaching Fellowship, 20132014; Skowhegan/CalArts Full Scholarship, Summer 2012; Science of Black Hair Scholarship 2011; The Schlesinger Library, Carol K. Pforzheimer Student Fellowship, 2008; Harvard College Research Program Grant, 2007
Nat. Brut, 12 Emerging F eminist Game Changers In Media Journalism & The Arts. 2015
Studio International, Marisa Williamson: ‘I want to make history alive in people’s worlds’. 2015 Youn g Space, Marisa 2014
Williamson Asks: ‘What Would Sally Do?’. 2014
Artvoices Magazine, 25 Artists to Watch and Collect. 2013
VIA Publication, TêteàTête Recap with Michelle Carla Handel. 2013
Skowhe gan Journal, Defining Roles: Teacher / Mentor / Crazy Uncle. 2012
Dallas South News, Broadcast/The Onion Principle. 2011
The Harvard Advocate, Commencement 2008
ArtScope Magazine, May/June 2008
– VISITING ASSISTANT PROFESSOR PRATT INSTITUTE, BROOKLYN NY
Teach Introduction to Literary and Critical Studies for Architects and Introduction to Transdisciplinary Writing—a supplement to the studio course for first year students. Work collaboratively with architecture faculty to integrate design, language, and digital media, cultivating visual and verbal literacy in diverse student population.
– MUSEUM EDUCATOR BROOKLYN MUSEUM, BROOKLYN, NY
As Museum Educator and Teen Programs Coordinator, responsible for management and training of teen employees and oversight of programming including Teen Night and Museum Apprentices. Develop and implement curriculum for school programs. Lead weekly tours for school groups visiting from Brooklyn and beyond.
TEACHING ARTIST STUDIO MUSEUM IN HARLEM, NEW YORK, NY
Lead tours and workshops on site for diverse visitor groups on behalf of education department. Served as resident teaching artist in two fourth grade classrooms at Thurgood Marshall Academy Lower School in Harlem. Independently designed and implemented an eightweek course on art practice and appreciation.
ART INSTRUCTOR YWCA OF GREATER NEW YORK, NEW YORK, NY
Taught after school courses in activism & art, photography, and performance to atrisk high school students. Planned and lead field trips and enrichment activities.. Worked cooperatively to maintain daily functions of YWCA programming at Independence High School in midtown Manhattan.
VISUAL ARTS SPECIALIST LOS FELIZ CHARTER SCHOOL FOR THE ARTS, LOS ANGELES, CA Taught art to grades K5 parttime. Both collaboratively and independently developed curriculum for project based learning and arts integration, in adherence with CA Visual & Performing Arts standards.
TEACHING ASSISTANT CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF THE ARTS, VALENCIA, CA Managed scheduling for faculty member, Connie Hatch. Provided aid and supplemental instruction in collegelevel courses in studio, critique, video production.
HIGH SCHOOL ART TEACHER FORT WORTH COUNTRY DAY SCHOOL, FORT WORTH, TX Taught levels I, II, III and AP Photography and a section of 9th grade studio art.
MCMAHON FELLOW IN THE VISUAL ARTS GREENWICH ACADEMY, GREENWICH, CT
Taught video production in the Middle and Upper School Grades 812.