Peggy Ahwesh: Woe Men - Keep Going


Your name/ age:

Trailer for the Other Cinema Release Xperimental Eros with work by Lewis Klahr, Peggy Ahwesh, Mark Street, Tom Palazzolo, Naomi Uman, Thomas Draschan & Stella Friedrichs, Julia Ostertag, Jeff Krulik, and Oscar Perez. See for more info

What’s your favorite color:


What’s your favorite place:


Name three of your favorite books:

On Longing, Susan Stewart

Stupidity, Anital Donell

Artificial Darkness, Noam Elcott

Which artists inspire you:

Harun Fanocki for one—brilliant cultural soothsayer who could reveal the worship of technology, the state, social control and violence in a deeply humane way.

Peggy Ahwesh,  Martina’s Playhouse , 1989, video still.

Peggy Ahwesh, Martina’s Playhouse, 1989, video still.

What is an artist: Good question! Just went to see the Hilma af Klimt show at the Guggenheim and she and her life’s work complicates that question, as do other conjurers and mystics, in a very interesting way.

What is art: It can be what you see out of your window if you are observant or something made out of nothing if you have marks on a blank sheet of paper.

Tears of Eros, a lexicon in the style of Georges Bataille by Peggy Ahwesh.

Tears of Eros, a lexicon in the style of Georges Bataille by Peggy Ahwesh.

How do you identify as an artist:


What was a pivotal project , person, or experience that shaped your practice:


What are key elements or constants in your practice:

Messing around with photographs, juxtapositions of media elements, women’s perspectives, play, the uncanny, research, outsider art, and documents of travel and adventure.

Peggy Ahwesh,  The Star Eaters , 2003, video still.

Peggy Ahwesh, The Star Eaters, 2003, video still.

What are your current interests as an artist:

Microminiatures I’m currently working on a video installation about the political landscape of Kansas with lots of aerial shots and emphasis on places where significant things happened to ordinary people with lots of amazing outsider art documentation

*portraits of strangers

Collection of Peggy Ahwesh

Collection of Peggy Ahwesh

What do you see as the value of art:

The way/power art has to make an argument or invite thought indirectly.


What is your greatest challenge as an artist:

Focus and letting myself so deep in for inspiration and lately confidence. (I gotta get off social media!)

Peggy Ahwesh,  The Color of Love , 1994, video still.

Peggy Ahwesh, The Color of Love, 1994, video still.

What has been a victory for you as an artist:

Having my old work from the 70’s and 80’s remain in circulation and of interest within current discourses and the younger generations.

Peggy Ahwesh,  The Vision Machine , 1997, film still.

Peggy Ahwesh, The Vision Machine, 1997, film still.

Portrait of the artist

Portrait of the artist

What’s next for you as an artist:


Mary MacGill: Seeing Light in Stone


Your name/age:

Mary / 30


I live in Tivoli/Clermont and work in Germantown


What brought you to where you live:


Space! Light! Trees! Water! People! Dogs!


It was blue for a long time...

I'm turning green though.


What's your favorite place:


Name three of your favorite books:

The Ice Palace, Tarjei Vesaas

The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis

The Collected Poems of Frank O'Hara

Which artists inspire you:

My mother, her ability to make work about home


What is an artist:

Someone who takes their time thinking about the world/ her surroundings

and expresses ideas by making something

What is art:

that something.


How do you identify as an artist:

When I see stones,

I can't help but want to make something out of them,

like I don't have a choice.


What was a pivotal project, person, or experience that shaped your practice:


Kazuko Oshima- My Mentor- showed me

that I could make jewelry with just my hands and a few other tools.


The last of the stones that started the business. Precious. Tourmaline: promotes inspiration and happiness, reducing fear, and building self-confidence.


What are key elements or constants in your practice:


What are your current interests as an artist:


I'm trying to figure out how to expand

my "Woven" series into lighting.


What do you see as the value of art:


What is your greatest challenge as an artist:


also being a business person


What has been a victory for you as an artist:

Cultivating the most wonderful/dynamic group of women as a result of what I do.


What's next for you as an artist:


Setting aside more time... 

to be alone

to be light

Discover more about Mary, her jewelry, and her shop here:


Caroline Wilder: Hands in the Soil, Hands in the Clouds


Caroline Wilder

almost 30

Where do you live/work:

Mostly with my partner in Tivoli, but also my family farm at Montgomery Place.

I work in a little garage-turned-studio attached to a barn there.


What brought you to where you live:


I was born here


What’s your favorite color:


rose gold too.

and cream


What’s your favorite place:

Deep in the apple orchard at dusk late September, early October

Also my aunt’s home in Munich, Germany


Name three of your favorite books:

Braiding Sweetgrass, Robin Wall Kimmerer

Women Who Run with the Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Mary Oliver: New and Selected Poems, Mary Oliver


Which artists inspire you:

Lina Schynins, simplicity, intimacy, vulnerability

Sophie Leemyer, capsulizes my dreams, nightmares, imagination

Kiki Smith, use of nature


What is an artist:

Someone who makes you feel.


What is art:

Something that makes you feel.


How do you identify as an artist:

Hearing how people feel wearing Idunn. Also, if I’m not creating, I feel dead. That’s a little dramatic, but true.


What was a pivotal project, person, or experience that shaped your practice:

All of the women who I worked with and therefore raised me (mostly my mom).

I was so lucky to grow up around such special breed of woman: so hard-working, creative, beautiful, sensual. Hands in the soil, hands in the clouds. Dreamers and doers.


What are key elements or constants in you practice:



Looser fitting, longer silhouettes that drape in a flattering way on different bodies.


What are your current interest and inquiries as an artist:

Trying to do less better.

Also, I have been considering/ruminating on this quote by architect Lina Bo Bardi:

“We need a world of consumption in resonance with our hearts.”


What do you see as the value of art:

Natural way to alter your mood.

to unearth something, shine a light on it. .Catharsis.


What is your greatest challenge as an artist:

Being my own boss. Homing in on any one medium.

Putting a price on it so it can be attainable to who I am making it for but also afford me a living. wage.

What has been a victory for you as an artist:


Seeing the women I look up to wearing Idunn.


What’s next for you as an artist:

Getting back to the sewing machine.

I had help with production this year and feel like I really missed out.

My design process happens when I sew.


Lizzy Marshall: Self-Defined Editor in a Deep Atlantic Blue


Your name / age: 

Lizzy Marshall / 35

Where do you live / work:  Kingston, NY

Where do you live / work:

Kingston, NY




What brought you to where you live:

A job, but mostly a need for quiet


What's your favorite place:

The Northern California Coastline


Name three of your favorite books:

Radical Love, Fanny Howe

Eros the Bittersweet, Anne Carson

The Night Sky: Writings on the Poetics of Experience, Ann Lauterbach


Which artists inspire you:

Andre Masson, automatic, hallucingenic

Cy Twombly, force energy

RH Quaytman, her perfectionism

Mira Schor, politics in drawing



What is an artist:

someone who is self-defined.

What is art:





How do you identify as an artist:

As an editor.



What was a pivotal project, person, or experience that shaped your practice:

Amy Sullivan taught me about commitment and  I haven't let go since.






What are key elements or constants in your practice:

Drawing Always. The figure/ human form.

What are your current interests and inquiries as an artist:

What role does color play in my paintings?  How do I create two different spaces of time in one painting.


                                                        What do you see as the value of art:                          


                                                  What is your greatest challenge as an artist:


Rebecca Cosenza: That is, Makeshift and Mine

Joan Prepping for a Summer Party, Switzerland. Cyanotype, 2018.

Joan Prepping for a Summer Party, Switzerland. Cyanotype, 2018.


Steeped in sunlight on the first heatwave of the season, we descended upon Rebecca Cosenza's home studio in Germantown, NY; someone we know well, and get the pleasure of working with weekly at Instar. We found prints on coffee filters, alternative photographic prints, and all other sorts of treasures.  No surprise, except that perhaps giving an artist an opportunity to share their own words it's impossible not to be surprised!

In her own words ...

Screen Shot 2018-06-01 at 1.33.35 AM.png


My name is Rebecca Sienna Cosenza.

Three names.

Three syllables.

Each name has seven letters

And end in

The letter



 What's your favorite color?

Earth pigments, those umberssiennas, and ochres

hazy grey-blue and the shades of amber at golden hour

A Cafe in Vienna. Manipulated CYMK Gum Print, 2018.

A Cafe in Vienna. Manipulated CYMK Gum Print, 2018.

Name three of your favorite books:

  1. Poetics of Relation, by Edouard Glissant

  2. Writing Women's Worlds, by Lila Abu-Lughod

  3. The Prophet, Kahlil Gibran


Makeshift and Mine: Home Studio feat. Velvet Couch, Black Madonna, and a Cat named Baci

Makeshift and Mine: Home Studio feat. Velvet Couch, Black Madonna, and a Cat named Baci

Artists that Inspire:

Jenny Saville for her movement away, towards, and through beautiful bodies, 

and her memory of touch.

Carmen Amaya for her duende, her technique, and her pants.

 Njideka Akunyili Crosby for her process and storytelling.

Stone Cutting, Backyard.

Stone Cutting, Backyard.

What is an artist?  

an interpreter,

a translator,

an educator at times.                                                                                                                    What is art?

Art is relation, in constant flux. 

Art is communication.

Art is translation between

idea and action,

material and object,

breathe and performance.



How do you define yourself as an artist? 

As a biracial artist. A visual artist.  A dancer. A collaborator. I define myself as an artist through the objects I create, the dances I perform, the projects I am a part of, the communities I support. 

In the Painting Studio, SRC

In the Painting Studio, SRC

What was a pivotal project that shaped your practice? 

My portrait series of Kichwa women I worked and studied with in Ecuador as part of a linguistic ethnographic field site. Questions spilled from this project on the ways in which art can be used to bear witness to and hold space for others. 


On the constants in her practice: process. process in iteration. process as shown through form. the processing of memory. the process of being in place, out of place, holding place for someone or something. memory. movement. body, be it body in movement, body as form, or the memory of bodies.

On the value of art: Art is inherently relational. Where there is art, there is reaction. Where there is reaction, there is disruption. Where there is disruption, there is openness and opportunity. It is in this space that art spills through borders and creates the context for something else to occur.

Study of Loie Fuller in Atlas Mountains. Carbon Print, Digital Negative from iphone photo of Atlas Mountains., 2018.

Study of Loie Fuller in Atlas Mountains. Carbon Print, Digital Negative from iphone photo of Atlas Mountains., 2018.

Layered Fabric with Gum Prints, 2018.

Layered Fabric with Gum Prints, 2018.

What is your greatest challenge as an artist?


At this stage in my career,

allowing myself to continually redefine

what my artistic practice looks like as

I move between different studio spaces, mediums, and time schedules

—and remembering that mindfulness is as valuable as object making in a sustainable practice.

Color Scene of Lausanne from a Moving Train Window, 2018

Color Scene of Lausanne from a Moving Train Window, 2018

What has been a victory for you as artist?

In the car, in-between, on the way. I find I always come and go with a tobacco box filled with thread and paper, my portable studio.

In the car, in-between, on the way. I find I always come and go with a tobacco box filled with thread and paper, my portable studio.

Claiming and proclaiming myself as an Artist


Brece Honeycutt: Shades of Blue, Early Fuchsia, and Sharp New Greens of Spring

Honeycutt_instar_page 1.jpg

On a sunny day with ice still underfoot and tulsi tea in hand, we wandered and mused on flower names, process, and Emily Dickinson with artist Brece Honeycutt in her Sheffiled barn studio.

In her own words...


           shades of blue            early fuchsia            sharp greens of spring            shades of blue                     early fuchsia            sharp greens of spring            shades of blue            early fuchsia            sharp greens of spring            shades of blue            early fuchsia            sharp greens 

Shades of blue, as well as the early fuchsia and sharp new greens of spring

Shades of blue, as well as the early fuchsia and sharp new greens of spring

  1. The Poems of Emily Dickinson, edited by R.W. Franklin
  2. An American Dictionary of the English Language by Noah Webster
  3. The Paper Garden: An Artist [Begins her Life's Work] at 72, Molly Peacock
A few favorite reads...

A few favorite reads...

Artists that Inspire:

Patience Gray for the way she lived off, for, and by the land.

 Lois Dodd for her color, her observations, and her flowers.

Susan Howe for her archival mastering, Dickinson delving, and poetry building.

Mary Oliver for reminding us "to pay attention, that is our endless and proper work.

What is an artist? A maker.

What is an artist? One that looks at the world and wants to question, enhance, posit, educate, and better.

What is art? Actions taken. Objects made. Thoughts considered and pursued.



How do you identify as an artist?

Finding facts and bringing them to the fore.

Finding joy in making with my hands.


On the constants in her practice: research, the natural world, and the realm of women's work.


On the value of art: Awareness. Joy. Pathways of exploration.


What is your greatest challenge as an artist?

To be current, both in step and out of step with the world.

What has been a victory for you as an artist?

When the circle is completed.


It is a whole life... When the circle is completed.


Words and handwriting, Brece Honeycutt. 2018.

*She is leading a wildflower walk at Bartholomew’s Cobble, 105 Weatogue Road, Sheffield MA Sunday May 13 at 3pm


Creating with More Time: Sonia Corina Ruscoe

(Full audio conversation below)


I was delighted to spend the afternoon with Sonia Corina Ruscoe the curator of our upcoming April exhibit, Tragic Instant.  We sat down in the women's writing room and recorded what could be best described as a mash up of Oral History and casual conversation.  Having recently attended Suzanne Snider's Oral History Winter School as a Community Fellow, I am eager to play with audio interviews and enamored with the ethos of Oral Histories, and of course have big OH future plans (give me a taste of something new and delightful and I'm gangbusters).  Some definitive characteristics of Oral History Interviews, is there are no pre-scripted questions, and it is primarily an opportunity for the narrator (what OH calls the Interviewee) to share a part of their life story--and one other peculiarity is long pauses. 

( I also want to suggest that if you have any interest or curiosity in Oral History, Suzanne is enrolling her Oral History Summer School program in Hudson, NY right now!  It is hands down one of the best educational programs I have EVER engaged in!  Inspiring is too small of a word.) 

But, lets talk about SONIA!!!  Sonia, approached me at Instar shortly following the presidential election with a beautiful and compelling project proposal, Tragic Instant.  In it she spoke eloquently about the instants that change everything, with their pain, tragedy, confusion, comedy, the strangeness that emerges at once.  She wanted to frame these quick cutting moments, giving us time as an audience to witness them. 

In our conversation Sunday afternoon, I learned more about Sonia's artistic practice as a self-taught painter coming from a formal photography history, which she shares in her interview.  She speaks of"more time" when creating, and what can happen when time is stretched, and how the slowing down of time is something she relishes about life upstate.

Listen to her interview (press that play button) and enjoy!  View more of her work here!  Come see her upcoming exhibit April 15th at Basilica Back Gallery, participate in the Sedar-Style dinner she's co-created, and join her and the group of 'Tragic Instant' artists for an in person closing conversation--learn more about everything 'Tragic Instant' here!  And consider helping send her to her upcoming European residency and castle drawing experience here!

Remote Dreams of Creation: An Interview with Artist Ruby Palmer

Original installation ideas laid out in the Ruby's studio, before being written into directions to be reconfigured later by students at SFCC

Original installation ideas laid out in the Ruby's studio, before being written into directions to be reconfigured later by students at SFCC

We recently interviewed local Hudson Valley artist, Ruby Palmer, to learn more about her exhibit, “Subject to Change: a remote installation.”

During the month of January, Palmer followed a similar process to artist Sol Lewitt, writing and mailing specific instructions for wall drawings and paintings to be executed by a team of faculty and students of Spokane Falls Community College (SFCC) in Spokane, WA. Through this project, Palmer was able to explore a new meaning of what it is to create, by relinquishing control of her creation, by placing it into the hands of others and cooperatively imagining into its final form. The end results were better than she could have imagined.

IL: How has this project opened you and your practice as an artist?

The project was ALL about opening up. Since others were actually making and installing many of the ideas which I drew and designed, I had to completely reconsider how I approach making things.  I sent the team of instructors and students elements that I had made in my studio or at least chosen the colors for, and they assembled them with help from my written instructions. It was both exhilarating and challenging for me because I had to really get imaginative with hardware store materials and the given space, which I had never visited. I’ve always been curious about how instructions are written, and how to convey direction, whether it be in a cooking recipe or for IKEA furniture, and it’s a lot harder than I thought!

It was daydream-like in many ways. It actually parallels my creative process as I usually solve problems in my work through sleep or waking dream. I don’t work directly from my dreams, but I do have that moment when waking, where I “know” the answer to a problem. It’s usually a solid response that I trust.

In fact, the whole concept for “Subject to Change” came about that way. I went to bed thinking I couldn’t do an installation so far away, and I woke up with the idea to work remotely, turning it into a game with the students—giving them direction and they would interpret and make the ideas. The results were sort of incidental, and the hope was that they would learn a bit about my process through making.

IL: How do you measure success of this project?

The biggest feeling of success came from the students’ texts and emails to me expressing their enthusiasm and curiosity, and willingness to participate.

That was a relief for me, especially since we’ve never met! The final result was also interesting and dreamlike to see these images appear on my screens and realize I was responsible for them. 

 IL: What’s happening in your studio now?

I’m doing watercolor drawings in response to the Spokane project. I’m back to thinking about cutting into walls and floors and making compositions inside those shallow spaces. Since the opportunities are rare, I’m imagining them a lot.  I’m also continuing my “flower paintings” which I began last spring and are a departure in many ways, but are informing the other work. Who knows where they are going, but they satisfy my need for color, more voluminous shapes, more gesture and less hard edge geometry.

IL: It's not a secret, at Instar we love artist moms and are always interested in what that relationship is like. Can you tell us a little about your own experience of being a mother artist?

It’s a pretty big challenge and I am SO happy to have my kids in my life, I love them so much. I can’t work the way I used to, so I’ve adjusted, and my work has adjusted, for better and worse. Like, I have to leave all the dishes and piles of laundry and have a messy house.  Before I had kids I used to sit around contemplating my work a lot—too much, and now I really don’t have time—I’ve gotta get to the point. 

Ruby Palmer lives and works in Rhinebeck NY with her husband and twin daughters. Since 2016 she started and has run an artist lecture series at the Morton Library in Rhinecliff NY called ARTalks that runs monthly. Her work has been shown in NYC at Exit Art, Smack Mellon, Parallel Art Space, and Morgan Lehman Gallery, at Page Bond Gallery in Richmond VA, as well as Samuel Dorsky Museum in New Paltz, NY and Instar Lodge in Germantown, amongst others. Visit Ruby Palmer’s website to see her multi-disciplinary work. 

Ruby Palmer, “Subject to Change: a remote installation”, 2017 Spokane Falls Community College Art Gallery, Spokane, WA, Photo credit: Chris Billings

The Hidden Past of Now: An Interview with Artist Melora Kuhn

Melora in studio

Standing inside Melora Kuhn’s studio, one steps into her upcoming installation.  An other room, something imaginary with painted walls displaying both the unnatural version of nature and interior settings of some mysterious historical place, a grand trompe l'oeil. Deeper than that, it is a space within a space and moves your thoughts to a mind inside a mind.

Her work confronts modern issues through a historical lense. In past work, Kuhn displays the idea of a known scene confronting the unknown. In paintings such as The Interior Chamber, she moves the viewer from a setting in an interior room to a place where the walls are filling the room with water. Or, as seen in The Wolf’s Cry, dogs and wolves battle in a Habsburgian wilderness. Her art provokes themes of class, race, and unspoken histories that can too often be lost in the fondness for a past time.

“I love to play off of reality,” says Kuhn. “I want to understand the thinking system and hidden elements within it.”

Kuhn’s upcoming installation for the Eigen + Art gallery in Leipzig is being finished inside her studio, a converted red barn from the late 1800s in Germantown. As a resident of the area for the last eight years, she has seen not just the small community of Germantown grow, but the Hudson Valley as a whole bioregion. This cycle of renewal and change mirrors her work, but Kuhn’s influences stretch beyond the valley.

Melora's Barn

“The quiet helps you to go deeper in the work,” explains Kuhn. “But those daily interactions [among artists] are missing. It makes you need to seek them out more.”

The as-yet-untitled installation will be shown this spring at the Eigen + Art in Leipzig. Her installation expands her previous work into a fully immersive piece, with painted walls, furniture, and interactive elements.

“I’ve always painted 19th century rooms. Now, I’m making one,” Kuhn explains.

Melorakuhn installation

The scale of her installation, incorporating a fully enclosed room, pushes her to new ways of creation. While she would always mix her oil paints the need for consistency lead Kuhn to developing her own color palette using Benjamin Moore house paint.

“I had to with more space,” Kuhn says. “It was to save time and make the colors consistent.”


As she is putting the final touches on her installation, her work takes on, literally, a new dimension. She moves from paintings of a room to art as a room. This natural evolution of her work goes on to establish what she most wants a viewer to take away from her work.

“To unravel it. To find out where we are now,” says Kuhn.

Melora Kuhn’s installation will be on display at the Eigen + Art Gallery in Leipzig from April 22nd through May 27th. For more information, visit their website.

Reported by William Crane, images by Dawn Breeze for Instar Lodge.

Melora Kuhn was one of the inaugural artists exhibiting in Time & Again in August 2016