Regional Emerging Artists in Residence

As of July 2012, Artspace is pleased to have expanded our Regional Emerging Artist in Residence Program and now offer two residencies every six months, four each year. The Regional Emerging Artist Residency provides emerging, Southeastern-based artists with six months of free studio space at Artspace, culminating in an exhibition and gallery talk.

For more information on the Regional Emerging Artist Residency Program or to apply please visit our Artist Opportunities page on the Regional Emerging Artist Residency Program. Applications are due twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall.

Current Residents
Mar Hester, Regional Emerging Artist in Residence

Studio 215
January – June 2019

Mar Hester employs photography in her collage and sculptural work, which challenges the traditional methods of her medium as well as comments on our ever-changing environment. She’s looking forward to engaging with the local community and pushing her work further to gain new perspectives.

Mar Hester is a North Carolina native and received her MFA from Florida State University. She was recently an artist in residence at Elsewhere Studios in Paonia, CO. Exhibitions include Artfields, Lake City, SC; Unnatural, Etsy Street Team Gallery, Toronto, Canada; Aimless Works, High Rock Outfitters, NC; and Remix, Sync Gallery, Denver, CO.

Artist Statement

“… the boundary between the real and the imaginary is more imaginary than real.” –Joan Fontcuberta

I see geometry as a visual language. As I explore this language, I try to discover a vocabulary that speaks of the deep connection we feel to our own personal reality. My photographic sculptures of abstracted landscapes utilize digitally altered photographs and geometric shapes to explore the complex world of the human perception while aiming to challenge the traditional ways of viewing photography. Through the active participation of the viewer, the work is ever shifting, elevating questions about what one identifies as reality and commenting on our continuously changing environmental surroundings.

Instagram Stories
Mar Hester, vsc sculptures 1


Kelly Johnston, Regional Emerging Artist in Residence

Studio 215A
January – June 2019

Kelly Johnston uses natural materials on a large scale to create sculpture and installations that explore the inherent tensions between emotional and physical discomfort.

While a resident, Johnston plans to explore how found elements can relate us to more intimate pasts, which may themselves be violent, or may instead offer us consolation; how certain objects can help us stand in critical relation to the present, or to dream of a different future; how the past informs our own bodies as objects, and how our bodies eventually become part of the past leaving behind only a few material traces.

Johnston is looking forward to further developing work where the relationship between art and memory is being publicly questioned and presenting this work to the local community.

Kelly Johnston was born 1991, Arlington VA. She received her  BA Anthropology, Trinity University, San Antonio TX in 2015 and a BA Studio Art, Trinity University, San Antonio TX, in 2015. Since 2010, Johnston has exhibited nationally.

Artist Statement

‘Blind Field,’ a term borrowed from Roland Barthes’ Camera Lucida, refers to a ‘double vision’ that occurs in viewing film; as opposed to a photograph, where the pictured subject appears static, in film the viewer affords the subject a life, thought to extend beyond the action pictured. For Barthes, this feeling can be evoked by a photograph that contains a punctum: a moment of rupture in the photograph that suggests its own outside. What is in the frame insinuates a world beyond the frame.

In this context, my work investigates subtleties in the fabric of our surrounding environments. Small moments constantly double our partial vision creating the larger narrative we interact with day to day.

I frequently incorporate identity objects, such as hair, teeth or trash, and found objects into my work to meditate on themes of identity, possession and status. By distilling experience into sculpture through the use of its everyday and castaway elements, personal history appears both immediate and compressed, revealing the fragmented and piecemeal nature of both identity and memory.


Kelly Johnston, Cultural Techniques