More about Ellie Irons and Dan Phiffer, the 2011 Wildcat Fellows

The Artists’ Biographies

Ellie Irons received her M.F.A. from Hunter College in 2009. Her work has been exhibited throughout the Northeast, including shows at the Estuary Gallery (Beacon, NY); Climate/Gallery (Queens, NY); the Williamsburg Firehouse (Brooklyn, NY); and the Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. In California, her work has been exhibited at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery. In The Netherlands, where Irons spent a semester at the Frank Mohr Institute in Groningen, her work has been exhibited in Schiermonnikoog and Assen. Irons’s previous honors include the Outpost Residency in the Signal Fire Residency Program (Portland, OR, 2010) and the Waddenwerk Summer Residency Program (Schiermonnikoog, NL, 2009). Irons is a CASA Teaching Artist of the Brooklyn Arts Council and an Adjunct Lecturer in the Electronic Design and Multimedia Department of City College (CUNY).

Dan Phiffer is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) at New York University, an Adjunct Lecturer in the Electronic Design and Multimedia department at City College of New York, and is also a Media Technology Developer in the Digital Media Department at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He graduated from ITP in 2007. He has lectured widely in Europe and throughout the United States and has been exhibited or featured at Ars Electronica FutureLab (Linz, AT), STUK kunstencentrum (Leuven, BE), MoMA (New York, NY), SFMOMA (San Francisco, CA), and V2_ Institute for the Unstable Media (Rotterdam, NL). His awards include a 2008 Rhizome Commission, a 2007 Turbulence Commission, and an honorary mention from Prix Ars Electronica for a project he co-founded, ShiftSpace.

The Artists’ Statements

Ellie Irons: “I am a New York-based artist making paintings, drawings and sculptural environments that explore the continuum between humanity and nature. I have been making art since I was young, but for some time, I truly thought I would be a scientist. When I was twenty one, I spent six weeks studying biodiversity in a remote part of Costa Rica. I was fascinated by my field work, but began to understand that rather than making a scientific report full of charts and graphs, what I really wanted was to express my passion for science and nature through art. Since that time, my artwork has grown from that realization. In combining a naturalist’s attention to detail and an artist’s license to translate and recontextualize those details, I find fertile ground for artistic expression.
In my current practice, I actively engage my immediate environment in an attempt to relocate the viewer and re-imagine the landscape around me. Whether my subject is a suburban wasteland or the wildest of forests, I seek out structures that tie that place to larger ecological patterns, and highlight those connections for viewers to explore in dynamic and unexpected ways. While I base my research on ecology and observation, the art I create is infused with a need to celebrate the unknowable aspects of nature and our place within it.”

Dan Phiffer: “I make artwork using software, photography, video, installation, and telephone systems, to raise questions about our shared technological and social circumstances. My work is focused on the values and biases embedded in online architectures and physical habitats, exploring how individuals perform their roles as consumers and authors of various media. Education and collaboration are attendant aspects of my art practice. I’ve had the privilege of working with a diverse range of collaborators and have taught in a variety of contexts including media festivals, workshops and university classrooms. My projects owe much to these collaborative experiences; exploring possibilities of artistic process is as important to me as the resulting product.
My art practice is situated between the ‘new media’ and the broader contemporary art world. I’ve been fortunate to receive support and exhibition space from the likes of Ars Electronica,, and Rhizome, as well as the Museum of Modern Art and SFMOMA. These two contexts —what Lev Manovich calls Turing-land and Duchamp-land—are more relevant to each other than ever. I hope my work can contribute to dismantling what remaining barriers separate the two ‘lands.’ I am exploring the cultural potential of technology as well as how technological approaches might enrich cultural production.”

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One Response to More about Ellie Irons and Dan Phiffer, the 2011 Wildcat Fellows

  1. Pingback: Art in the Catskills: The Wildcat Fellowship Program « Sunday Best Reading Series

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