Artist Statement & Bio

Woolpunk..has the hands of a gifted artisan, the soul of a social activist, and the passion of an environmentalist.

--Hildreth York, Curator, Writer, Emeritus Professor


Artist Statement


I make knitted installations, fiber-based sculptures, and embroidered photographs to create social change. I am inspired by artists such as Martha Rosler, Tracey Emin, and Judith Pfaff, along with my paternal grandmother. A seamstress from Italy, she emigrated to America and sewed American flags for a living. Her patriotism and factory work inspire my studio practice.  Both local and global issues serve as catalysts for subject matter and I choose to create fiber-based art to pay homage to all who live and work in America. I do not consider myself a skilled knitter or traditional embroiderer, I am and make Woolpunk. The material and techniques I work with—found materials, stitching, knitting and crochet—speak of women’s history and of the ways in which the discarded material of times of plenty become valuable in times of deprivation. I recombine traditional women’s skills with repurposed materials and objects to create resonant works that have a texture, pattern, and meaning akin to that of obsessive drawings.


Artist Bio

Woolpunk is an American artist, born in Summit, NJ in 1971. Woolpunk, inspired by an immigrant seamstress grandmother who sewed American flags for a living, machine knits fiber installations, quilts sculptures and embroiders photographs to influence social change. She has fabricated site- specific installations for a variety of institutions including the Cathedral of St John the Divine; Hunterdon Art Museum; Lion Brand Yarn Studio and Knock Down Center. In 2014, Woolpunk founded the Gimme Shelter Project and hosted statewide community stitch-ins to bring awareness of the homeless increase in New Jersey. The stitch-ins created weatherized blankets which were donated to the PERC shelter in Union City, NJ on Global Homeless Day. The project was featured at Parson’s School of Design and on Verizon Fios. Her work has exhibited internationally at the Arts and Crafts Museum, Itami, Japan; Casaterra Residency, Italy; Atelier Turbine Space, Switzerland; and Galerie Kurt im Hirsch in Berlin, Germany. She has received grant awards from Puffin Foundation, Goldman Sachs and Geraldine Dodge Foundation. Woolpunk’s embroidered photographs are included in the permanent collections of the Zimmerli Museum, Hudson County Community College Foundation Collection and Montclair Art Museum. 

CV

Woolpunk
www.woolpunk.com


Born in Summit, New Jersey, 1971.
Lives and works in Jersey City, NJ


EDUCATION

2001 Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University, MFA
2001 Douglas College, Rutgers University, Women’s Studies Certificate



HONORS

2019 Sponsored exhibitor at Art & Social Activism Festival, NYC
2019 Sponsored Exhibitors Room, 14C Art Fair, Jersey City, NJ
2019 Invited exhibitor, New Jersey Arts Annual, Montclair Art Museum, NJ
2018 Advisory Board Committee, Apple Tree House, City of Jersey City, NJ
2017 Advisory Board Committee, Jersey City Arts Council, NJ
2016 Director of Dineen Hull Gallery, Hudson County Community College, NJ
2014 Guest Lecturer, Jerseyscapes, New Jersey City University, NJ
2013 Robinhood Foundation Grant, Hoboken Museum, NJ
2011 Woman of Action Award for PSE&G Mural Program, Jersey City, NJ
2011 “Grant Street..”, Collection of Hudson County Community College, NJ
2010 “Pacific Court”, Collection of Jersey City Museum, NJ
2009 _gaia Residency Program, NJ
2008 New Jersey Arts Annual, NJ
2007 Guest Lecturer with Paddy Johnson, Jersey City Museum, NJ

2007 Guest Lecturer and Curator, Pace University, NYC

2007 Guest Panelist, Lateral Attitudes, Raritan Valley College, NJ

2005 New Jersey Public Radio State of the Arts: Artist of the Month
2005 Guest Panelist, Circa Craft, Jersey City Museum, NJ
2005 New Jersey Arts Annual- Crafts, Jersey City Museum, NJ
2004 “Cast” Collection of Casaterra Residency Program, Puglia, Italy
2004 Geraldine Dodge and Fine Arts Work Center Grant Award, MA
2004 Casaterra Residency Program, Italy
2004 Goldman and Sachs Arts Grant Award, NJ
2004 Puffin Foundation Artist Award, NJ
1999-01 Teaching Assistantship, Rutgers University, NJ
1994-95 Artist in Residence, RC Volunteers, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation


SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2019 Rm 820, 14CArt Fair, Hyatt Regency, Jersey City, NJ
Ivy Brown, George Billis, Jonathan Levine, Curators
2015 Gimme Shelter Project, Windows at Columbus, Jersey City, NJ.

Eileen Ferara, Curator

2014 Gimme Shelter Project, Owen Grundy Pier, Jersey City, NJ

Luca Cusolito, Curator
2013-14 Tornado II, South Mountain Conservancy Wildflower Sculpture Park, South Orange, NJ
2011 Love Your River Project, Pierro Gallery, South Orange, NJ.

Sandy Martiny, Curator
2010 Interference, Lion Brand Yarn Studio, NY
2009 Water falls., Hunterdon Museum, Clinton, NJ
Mary Birmingham, Curator
2008 Threads, Object and Thought Gallery, Denver, Colorado
2007 Knot Constructs, The Garage, Jersey City, NJ.
Margaret Murphy, Curator

2006 Communal Ties, City Hall, Jersey City, NJ
2005 Bound, Jersey City Museum, NJ.
Rocio Aranda-Alvarado,PHD., Curator
2003 Shroud Series, Salve Regina Gallery, Washington DC
2002 Re-Form, Brunswick Window, Jersey City, NJ, Roger Sayre, Curator
2001 Knitting Lessons, Mason Gross Galleries, New Brunswick, NJ


SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2019 New World Water, Seton Hall University, NJ

2019 Art & Social Activism Festival, NYC

2019 Mauled in America, Off Space, Canton Glarus, Switzerland, Fred Fleisher, Curator
2019 New Directions in Fiber Art, Montclair Art Museum, NJ
2019 Ingenious Prospects, Novado Gallery, Jersey City, NJ
2018 Morir Sonando, Knock Down Center, NY, Alex Santana, Curator
2018 Maurice Sendak School Art Auction, NY, Chris Bors, Curator
2017 The Matrix, Long Island City University, NY, Fred Fleisher, Curator
2017 Quantum Overdrive, Hudson County Community College, NJ

Fred Fleisher, Curator
2016 La Storia, Casa Colombo Center for the Arts, NJ
2016 Contemporary Hudson, Hudson Community College, NJ
Laurie Riccadonna, Curator
2015 The Big Show, Art Factory, Paterson, NJ, Matt Gosser, Curator
2015 Threads, Art Factory, Paterson, NJ, Lillian Ribiero, Curator
2014 Jerseyscapes, NJCUniversity, NJ. Midori Yoshimoto, Curator
2012 Perception Shifts, Stockton College, NJ. Heather Gibson, Curator
2012 Digital Weavings: Pat Lay & Michelle Vitale Loughlin, Woolpunkstudios, Jersey City, NJ
2011-12 Value of Water, St John Cathedral, NY. Fredericka Foster, Curator
2011 Home, _gaia, NJCU University, NJ. Doris Cacoilo, Curator
2011 Aljira Auction, Aljira: A Center for Contemporary Art, Newark, NJ
2010 Emerging Patterns, Arts Council of Morris, NJ
2010 Natural Selections, Greylocke Arts, North Adams, MA
2010 (Re)Fashioning Fiber, Green Spaces, NY. Abigail Doan, Curator
2009 New Look, Same Great Taste, Jersey City Museum, NJ,
Rocio Aranda-Alvarado, PHD., Curator
2009 Uncommon Threads, Seton Hall University, Jeanne Brasile, Curator
2009 Money!, ABC NO RIO, NY, Vandana Jain & Doris Cacoilo, Curators
2008 Your Documents Please,Traveling exhibition: Arts &Crafts Museum, Japan; Galerie Kurt im Hirsch, Berlin, among others. Daniel Georges & Rumi Tsuda, Curators

2008 Of The Cloth, Shore Institute of Contemporary Art, Long Branch, NJ
2008 Sprawl, NJ Arts Annual, Jersey City Museum, NJ. Catalogue
2008 Sculptoure, The Shore Institute of Contemporary Art, Long Branch, NJ
2007 This Is That, Pace University, Westchester & Manhattan, NY
2007 Lateral Attitudes, Raritan Comm. College, NJ, Tom Mc Glynn, Curator
2007 Noah’s Ark, Shore Institute of Art, NJ. Brendan Carroll, Curator
2006 Faculty Exhibition, Newark Museum, NJ
2006 The Sum of All Parts, The Hogar Collection, Brooklyn, NY
2005 (K)nots, NJCUniversity, NJ
2005 Contemporary Drawing, Brookdale Community College, NJ
Aaron Williams, Curator
2004 Nomadic Poets, Casaterra, Italy
2004 AV Club, Victory Hall, Jersey City, NJ


SELECTED PRESS & PUBLICATIONS
2019 I Can’t See the Stars featured @DailyTrumpet, Jonathan Horowitz, Curator
2019 New Directions... Exhibit Catalog, Montclair Art Museum, NJ
2018 “In Conversation with Alex Santana: On Curating Morir Sonando..” Jasmin Hernandez, gallerygurls.tumblr.com

2018 “Morir Sonando”, Editors of ARTnews, artnews.com
2017 “The Matrix” Long Island City University Exhibit Catalog
2017 “Protest Quilt with Bazooka...”, Chris Barth, DailySoundandFury.com
2016 “La Storia: Jen Mazza, Laurie Riccadonna and Michelle Vitale”, Paddy Johnson,artfcity.com

2016 “Michelle Vitale…”, chichpeaJC, www.chicpeajc.com
2015 “As Artists We Protest Everyday...” Becky Nickolls, artistscribles.com
2015 “Michelle Vitale..”, Branding..Podcast with Susan Newman
2015 “Choosing a..”, featured at Parsons School of Design, intergratedstudioce.wordpress
2015 “Gimme Shelter Project”, Push Pause, Verzion Fios Channel 1
2015 “Gimme Shelter Stitch In” featured on Channel 12 News
2015 “A Stitch In Time Can...”, Matthew Speiser, Jersey Journal
2015 “Jersey City Artist..”, Summer Dawn Hortillosa, Jersey Journal
2013 “Colorful Life Returns to Jersey City”, Brendan Carroll, Hyperalleric
2013 “Oral Histories of Sandy”, Tammy La Groce, New York Times
2012 “Value of Water”, St John Divine Cathedral, World Policy Blog
2012 “Value of Water”, St John Divine Cathedral, Vimeo
2012 ”Newly Opened Woolpunk..” Summer Dawn Hortillosa, Jersey Journal

2011 “Former Jersey City...” Brendan Carroll, Jersey City Independent
2010 “ Woolpunk Extraordinaire”, Abigail Doan blog
2009 “New Meanings..”, Sabrina Gschwandter, Interweave Magazine
2009 “Family Skills..”, Hildy York, Surface Design Journal
2009 “Home Sweet Home”, Jessica Hemmings, Embroidery Magazine
2009 Sprawl Exhibition Catalog, Rocio Aranda-Alvarado PHD
2007 “This Is That”, Patty Johnson, Art F City
2007 Lateral AttitudesExhibition Catalog, Tom McGlynn
2006 (K)notsExhibition Catalog, Michelle Vitale
2006 Circa Craft Exhibition Catalog, Rocio Aranda-Alvarado, PHD
2005 “State of the Arts”, NJN Radio, Peter Shea
2005 “Taking Art To The Streets”, Jersey City Magazine, Peter Zinsil
2005 “Shrouds Series No 2”, Featured in Puffin Foundation Catalog