bau 99: Jesse M. Kahn: Transformations and Marnie Hillsley and Simon Draper: Collage, Collaboration and CoHabitation

bau 99
Presents March Exhibitions at bau Gallery   
In The Beacon Room-
Marnie Hillsley and Simon Draper: Collage, Collaboration and CoHabitation - 

a decade of art in the Hudson Valley 


In The Main Gallery-
Jesse M. Kahn: Transformations
Opening Reception Second Saturday March 9th, 2013 6-9 pm
Exhibition runs from March 9th thru April 7th



In The Beacon Room

A project space within bau gallery dedicated to showcasing the talent of established, mid career and promising emerging artists living or working within the artistic community of Beacon and it’s surrounding towns in the Hudson Valley as part of our monthly programming.

For our second exhibition in The Beacon Room, bau is happy to exhibit two dynamic and well loved Hudson Valley artists -
Marnie Hillsley and Simon Draper: Collage, Collaboration and Cohabitation- A Decade of Art Making in the Hudson Valley.


Marnie Hillsley and Simon Draper moved from New York City to the Hudson Valley to start a family. They both grew up in small communities, and wanted to raise their family where there was strong sense of place. Over a decade later their family has grown to include an extensive creative community that continues to feed and support them.


That organic, rhizomatic sense of belonging which grows and evolves has also affected their creative paths.  Marnie and Simon both trained in object based art practices. Their current practice has become a hybrid of personal and social practice with the growth of their Habitat for Artists Project.


“The Community is important” says Simon “the Artist does not work in isolation, they both outwardly mirror and reflect upon the issues and context in which they live….”  In Marnie and Simon’s case this has led them to a more active role as they have explored the role of the Artist in the community both locally and nationally.”My father was heavily involved in his community, sometimes it felt that came first, before family. We try always to find a balance and remember that our family always comes first” says Simon.  Marnie and Simon continually juggle the roles or artist, breadwinner and parent, and make sure one parent is always around for their son Aidan, now 15 years old.


Marnie and Simon participated in their community initially by teaching in their son’s elementary class, at the local recreation and art center as well as organizing various shows at the local library and other spaces. This involvement formed the basis of other actions and eventually to their forming HFA.  “It was all about examining the role of the artist in a community, not just having a studio and maybe showing work locally” says Marnie. They continue to grow food in a community garden, and get milk and other CSA (Community Sponsored Agriculture) goods delivered to their street.


Aidan Draper now participates in the HFA project and recently went to DC with Simon. He also volunteered for Habit for Humanity and went to New Orleans, an experience which helped him realize he already had skill sets that could palpably help others.


Marnie and Simon both add that they are not exclusively social practitioners. They still like to go to their studios to make things.  Marnie says “I experience life visually. HFA has helped me expand how I see that visual world, like the quiet, even unheard poetry of discarded objects around us or the stack of unfinished pieces and off cut wood scraps in my studio that can become material for new work.”


A recent work “Insatiable Doing” is a collaborative work, a collage of different material. There is an immediacy of working. The piece is made up of a lot of small 5″ x 5″ parts some less or seemingly less important than others. The whole work covers a 5ft x 5ft space on one wall. The other work in the show reflects their own object based practice with an assorted mix of drawings, prints and sculpture from the past decade. Some of these works will be familiar to the local community, having been shown previously in the area. One of the walls includes a Brief History of the HFA project.


Marnie says: “HFA is like the process of quilting. Artists and the community are invited to bring their world, their art making process and their lives, like pieces of fabric, to be shared and stitched together. All the small pieces come together to make a whole. This becomes more than making an art product it is the experience of process, of living LIFE. Making Community through Making. ”

In the Main Gallery  

Jesse M. Kahn:Transformations



Transformations is a playful meditation on gender, beauty, and drag. Paying particular homage to Boy George, Annie Lennox, Leigh Bowery, and the New Wave movement of the 1980s, Jesse M. Kahn presents himself in an ongoing suite of life-size self-portraits in which he posits a fluid range of gender expressions and levels of attraction.


Underlying the humor and play of these various expressions of beauty and gender is an examination of issues of masculinity, identity, and queerness, both on the part of the artist and the viewer.

Transformations is presented in a grid and always in a odd-numbered set of images, always playing with the tension of the perfect and the imperfect, the regular and the queer.


Originally trained as a painter and printmaker, Jesse M. Kahn currently employs photography, graphic design, traditional handicrafts, and sculptural techniques to explore Gay male sexuality and concerns over the division between public & private space, freedom of expression, and between personal & national security. Much of his recent work is based in radical Queer theory, particularly the writings of Shannon Winnubst, Sarah Ahmed, and Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore.


Jesse holds a BA from Earlham College (1992) and an MFA from the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University (2008). He was a 1993 recipient of the Thomas J. Watson fellowship during which he was an assistant curator at the Organisation for Visual Arts in London. He is a co-recipient with Associate Professor Karen E. Roehr of a University of Massachusetts Lowell Faculty Development Center Assessment fellowship for 2009-2010.

An active fine artist, Jesse has exhibited in California, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. He has served on the Board of Directors of Chicago Neighborhood Artists and the Advisory Board of Cultural Connections, an arts initiative in East Boston, Massachusetts. He is currently a member of the Boston Redevelopment Authority’s Artist Certification Board. He is a founding member of the Boston LGBTQIA Artists Alliance, the East Boston Artists Group, and of the collaborative gallery Atlantic Works.

Jesse is currently an Adjunct Professor at Montserrat College of Art and a Visiting Lecturer at Framingham State University. His research and teaching interests include Gay identity in the history of art, Typography, and Book Arts. He has also taught design & digital photography to urban youth, and guest lectured on art history to college peers.



for more information contact us at

845-440-7584 or 845-222-0177