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Meet the 2015 Resident Artists

2015 Residency: May 30 – June 6

Zelený Les Artist Residency is proud to be entering its fifth year hosting week-long sessions for artists of all disciplines. This year our program is partnered with South Kortright Central School and will offer a day-long workshop to 6th grade students under the leadership of returning community artist Joe LaMantia and collaborating assistant Nadia Friedler. Expanding upon last year’s Portraits in Nature, students will engage in conversation, exploration, and opportunities to document self-portraits they create on the land using photography, together with the process of writing thoughts and feelings about their experience in journals. A group sharing of written expressions and artwork will round out the day’s activities.

Joe LaMantia portrait

Joe LaMantia is a community artist hailing from Bloomington, IN. He has worked with many K-12 schools  and organizations throughout the midwest for over twenty years and has led groups in the realization of over one hundred projects. “Who are you?” and “Why make art?” are questions the artist has asked himself for many years. His answers come by way of “The Experience.”  While documenting an unfolding community art project, he shares his own personal experience while empowering the group to take full ownership of their creative process. Artist’s website here.

Nadia with goatNadia Friedler is an undergraduate student at Clark University majoring in English and minoring in Education with a desire to be an impactful teacher and leader within communities of learning. In addition to her academic and career aspirations, she is working towards her 2nd degree black belt in Kung-Fu, and exploring the creative and technical processes of making hand-bound books and journals. While at Zelený Les, Nadia will deepen her involvement with bookmaking and contribute her teaching skills at the Portraits in Nature workshop with South Kortright Central School students.


Janette Chien and Wayne Kleppe are artists inspired by Dennis Oppenheim’s Two Stage Transfer Drawing and create work founded on the premise of collaborative drawing. A series of actions are constructed through various constraints, utilizing two artists and an environment. Their actions are a conceptual investigation of verbal and physical communication between the two artists with no finished product except documentation of the action. At Zelený Les, Wayne and Janette will produce one site-specific action per day over the course of the week in response to the environment.

An active member within the print community, Wayne Kleppe is a dedicated bookbinder and printmaker with his BFA from Tufts University, Studio Diploma from School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (SMFA) and MFA from Temple University. His work has been exhibited nationally, internationally, and is included in the public collections of The Center for Book Arts as well as libraries in the U.S. and abroad. Since 2013 he has served as Publishing Director for Stonefox Editions and currently teaches Studio Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

A Philadelphia-based visual artist and writer from Hong Kong, Janette Chien earned her BA in English from Tufts University and her BFA from SMFA. She has written for Title-MagazinePrinteresting, and NAPOLEAN. Her work has been shown nationally and internationally, and resides the collections of the Brooklyn Public Library, most recently via The Sketchbook Project (2015).

Merridee sculpture_3_holding

Merridee LaMantia is a visual artist and dimensional designer who transforms creative ideas into visual communication with positive impact. Inspired by the harmony of energies within the consciousness of nature, she explores the infinite possibilities inherent in the natural world and uses her art to discover these qualities in relationship with material. An activist artist In the early 1970s, Merridee was a founding member of the first all-women carpentry collective in Cambridge, MA. She currently works as staff designer for the City of Bloomington, IN Community & Family Resources while maintaining her studio-based practice. A returning resident artist at Zelený Les, she will continue tuning into the history and energy present within the land and take her creative guidance from the environment, experiencing sky and land as her studio while being inspired by abundant resources as her materials. She describes her part in the expression of art as “listening to her heart.”

Greg LookerseGreg Lookerse is an interdisciplinary artist who has been practicing since 2009. He received his MFA from Tufts University in conjunction with SMFA in 2014 and is the recipient of a 2014-2015 Emerging Artist Fellowship at the Kingston Gallery in Boston, MA, a year-long professional development program that culminates in a solo exhibition. Originally from California, Greg works in Boston and the New England area while exhibiting his work around the world. In a new performance related to Searching for a Honey Tree with Fear and Trembling, a performance he created in 2014, Greg’s intuitive response to the land at Zelený Les will be informed by the journals of Henry David Thoreau and writings inspired by the author’s time at Walden Pond. Artist’s website here.