We are pleased to welcome our inaugural Artist-in-Residence, Beverly Acha, to Fishers Island. Beverly is a past Lighthouse Works Fellow and is helping us pilot a long-form version of our Fellowship Program, which seeks to deepen our past-fellows engagement with their work on Fishers Island. Beverly will be in-residence with us through May, and we hope you’ll say “hi” when you see her around!
You must be excited to be back on the island. What is one of your fondest Fishers Island memories?
There are so many! Definitely one of the best is visiting the Fishers Island Oyster Farm. Going out on the boat with everyone and getting to taste (and eat our fill!) oysters straight out of the water. The whole trip was such an incredible sensory experience. Also if I remember correctly we had grilled cheese dinner afterward, one of my favorite Chef Nate specialties.
What are you most looking forward to?
Daily island sunsets.
What’s your favorite color to work with these days?
Is there something, in particular, you’ll be exploring in your work during these next few months?
My work usually develops in series where groups of paintings live together in the studio and are worked on simultaneously. Collectively they develop a shared visual vocabulary and logic. Lately, I’ve been really interested in thinking about poetic structure (not only within poems but also the way books of poems are organized) as a way of thinking about these groups of paintings. Poems resonate with my more fractured way of thinking through painting. I’ve seen my work over the years giving into my whims of the moment: the environment I am in, my emotional state, the weather, and landscape, and all of these are fleeting and in many ways psychological. My work is very much about perceived reality, which is irregular, intangible, and constantly shifting. I love that in poetry, language itself, despite seeming concrete, becomes fluid in this way. I want to see how I might embrace this more consciously during these next few months.
What does this Artist-in-Residence afford you?
Especially in the strangeness of these times, the Artist-in-Residence offers me much needed respite from a tumultuous year of changes, many of which started before the pandemic and only intensified afterward. I was not able to make much work this past year, so I really look forward to delving back into my practice with few distractions. I see this as a momentary retreat from uncertainty and a return to a place that is flush with daily pleasures- many related to connecting with nature. I’m returning to a beloved place where I was incredibly productive and where I can find a slowness that allows space for the unexpected.
Beverly Acha (b. 1987, Miami, FL) makes paintings, drawings, and prints. Her work has been exhibited at DC Moore Gallery, Rubber Factory, El Museo del Barrio, LeRoy Neiman Gallery, Smack Mellon, Underdonk, La MaMa Galleria, International Print Center of New York, among others. She is a recipient of the inaugural 2018 CUE Art Foundation Aon-CUE Artist Empowerment Award, Robert Schoelkopf Memorial Travel Grant, and the Frederick M. Peyser Prize in Painting. Acha has participated in residencies at the MacDowell Colony, Lighthouse Works, Roswell Artist-in-Residence Program, Wassaic Project, and was awarded the Zeta Orionis Fellowship at Vermont Studio Center. She attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2018, received her BA from Williams College in 2009, and her MFA from Yale School of Art in 2012. Acha is based in Austin, TX and Brooklyn, NY. She is currently Assistant Professor at the University of Texas at Austin.