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Inside Out: A.J. Liberto

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Our Daily Red is pleased to continue our artist-in-residence series titled Inside Out. Every month, a new guest artist will have access to the platform to publish images and jot down thoughts about inspiration, obsession, creative failures and insights. Unlike an 'Open Studio' format which is predicated on potential sales, BR&S wants to provide the artist-in-residence with an outlet to place their practice in a more public realm, offering an expanded look at the creative process and placing emphasis on the time ideas and works take to mature. It is not expected that the artist produce anything finished or specific to BR&S in this time, only that they candidly share their explorations. Each artist will then invite an artist to follow them. The rules of the game specify that the guest must 1. work in a different medium, 2. live elsewhere, 3. write often and not think too much about what they post, 4. be someone whose inside the host artist is curious to see out.

Introducing: AJ Liberto

I’m pleased to introduce AJ Liberto as our April artist-in-residence. I met AJ while hanging out with some of my DJ friends. AJ happened to work at MIT at that time, as did some of our mutual friends. This was in the days after BR&S was coming back, but before anyone knew about it. We scheduled a studio visit, and I wandered over to Davis Sq. not knowing much about him other than he was sculptor, he went to VCU, and the drawings on his website were funny. Like a fake death metal Supreme Court band called Penultimate Justice type of funny.

What I saw there was something slightly outside my comfort zone. That’s usually a good sign to me. It was fun, thoughtful, complicated, and didn’t try to make itself precious. It was made of recognizable things and things that were exact castings of other things. I wasn’t sure where hand crafted sculptures ended and what might be readymades began. Just read the material list on Oppey Poodle, First Day Jitters: Cast of prehistoric whale eardrum fossil, replica of Ram and Cram® sex toy, cast copy of Big Dig, steel, paint, plaster, epoxy, graphite, adjustable screw feet

His recent solo show at UMASS, where he’s currently teaching, was partially about living in the Boston area rather than living in Houston or Virginia; two places he’s lived for extended periods of time. I know that I don’t have to tell you, but it’s expensive to live here. But his show riffed off of what it was to be here, to want to be here, but to be constantly on the edge of having to leave here for economic, employment, or any other reasons. For this show he created a pair of fish to replace two of the three Sacred Cod that had been either lost in a fire or stolen from the State House. How much more local could that be?

AJ was born in Houston TX, educated at University of Houston and Virginia Commonwealth University. He has shown extensively in places like Cambridge, New York, Providence, Claremont CA, San Francisco, Istanbul, Copenhagen, Houston, and Richmond VA. He recently co-curated Upsodown at the New Art Center and Shame/Less at FPAC gallery.

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About Author

John is an independent writer and curator. He was the Editor in Chief of Big Red & Shiny from 2012-13 and Journal Editor through June 2014. John has written for Art New England, Art Papers, Artsfuse.org, Artwrit.com, DailyServing.com, the New American Paintings blog, Printeresting.org and others.

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