Winosha Steele, a Caribbean artist residing in New York, incorporates her identity and passion fearlessly into her work. As a Black female artist, she creates her pieces with flamboyance, aiming to establish a connection between the viewer and the artwork. Steele believes that the concept of nuances produced in her work create meaningful conversations and deeper understanding of the world provoked through introspection. Drawing inspiration from her Antiguan heritage, Steele's art is boundary-pushing, yet deeply personal. Her desire to expand her artistic horizon and emphasize racial correlation, however radical, stems from being a small islander.
Steele has a wide range of experience with mediums such as sculpture, chalk pastels, and a variety of paints. However, oil paint fascinates her the most, as it offers her the freedom to manipulate the paint in a way that brings her visions to life. In addition, she admires chalk pastels thanks to their smooth blending, richly pigmented capabilities that bring out the intensity beyond the composition. The inclusion of elements such as collage and emotional text amplifies vehemence, heightening the essence that she feels goes beyond her work.
Steele received her B.F.A. degree from SUNY Plattsburgh in 2021 and has exhibited her work in numerous local and regional exhibitions in New York. She finds pleasure in working for and with the nonprofit sector, constantly seeking out ways to leave a lasting impact and inspire others who are committed to creating a better future.
Vermont resident William Ransom is primarily a sculptor whose work originates at the intersection of his material engagement and his investigations into personal history, collective history and agricultural experience. Ransom was born and raised on a dairy farm in Vermont and his work and life continue to be informed by his early material experiences and engagement with the cycles and rhythms of the natural world. Balance has always played an important role in his life and work. As the son of a bi-racial union: balance between black and white. As a farm kid living in the city: balance between rural and urban, city and soil. As a diabetic: balance between his sweet tooth and the need for insulin injections. Ransom’s work often reflects this sense of balance, suggesting flux, movement, things in a state of becoming or diminishing; a transitory provisional state, rife with an inherent unease and uncertainty. The forces brought to bear on the material pull into sharp focus the tensions and underlying instabilities and stresses of our world’s current state and the ever-present potential for flare-up or collapse.
Ransom received an MFA in Sculpture from Claremont Graduate University in 2008 and a BA in Sculpture in 2004 from Bennington College. His work has been included in exhibitions at Arena 1 Gallery, the Torrance Art Museum, Greene Exhibitions and Fellows of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, Ogilvy and Mather in New York, Open End Gallery in Chicago, the Albany International Airport and at the Franconia Sculpture Park in Minnesota among others. He has had solo exhibitions at Chime and Co. in Los Angeles, the Lenzner Family Gallery at Pitzer College, John Davis Gallery in Hudson, New York, the Staniar Gallery at Washington and Lee University, and the Brattleboro Museum in Vermont. Most recently his solo show “HoldUp/UpHold” was at NE Sculpture in Minneapolis.
Clemmons Family Farm is pleased to announce that Winosha Steele and William Ransom are the artists-in-residence for our new program “UnderWater, UnderGround: Black/Indigenous Creatives Historize Charlotte, Vermont’s Sea Change”. The two artists were selected by an independent jury following a Call to Artists and a competitive process that was open to artists in Vermont, New York, and Quebec who self-identify as bearers of African-American, African Diaspora, or Afro-indigenous cultures. The jury selected the artists based on the criteria of artistic excellence, commitment to the spirit and purpose of the residency, and availability and flexibility to fully engage in the residency.
UnderWater, UnderGround creatively lifts up the past, present, and future voices and experiences of the peoples of the African diaspora who reside or resided in the Lake Champlain Basin area (parts of Vermont, New York, and Quebec). This program will support the two artists to research, learn about, and create new works about some of the untold history, cultures, and geography of the area.
During the residency program, which will run between October 2023 and December 2024, each artist will receive $7500, logistical support, art supplies, transportation assistance, and occasional lodging and studio space on the historic Clemmons farm in Charlotte, Vermont. This support will facilitate the artists’ research and creative work to develop multi-media art about Lake Champlain Basin’s ecological, geological, and cultural histories and to engage with visitors to the farm and with surrounding communities. One of the subjects of the artists’ research will be the 11,500-year-old skeleton of a Beluga whale, which was discovered in 1849, ten feet underground and just two miles south of what is now known as the Clemmons farm. The artists will make field trips to the Beluga Whale Historic Marker in Charlotte, the UVM Perkins Museum in Burlington where the Charlotte Beluga whale skeleton is on exhibit, and Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, Connecticut, where they will see live Beluga whales.
Ransom and Steele will also research the history of the Underground Railroad in the Lake Champlain Basin area by visiting the historic McNeil homesteads in Charlotte, Vermont, Rokeby Museum in Ferrisburgh, Vermont, and the North Star Underground Railroad Museum in Ausable Chasm, New York. The ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain will be another base for the artists’ research on the ecology of the area. Finally, the two artists will explore more contemporary stories of Black Vermonters who moved to make their homes in the state during the Great Migration and over the past several decades.
Creative outputs of Ransom and Steele’s artist residencies will include works-in-progress, artist talks and presentations, and co-creation art workshops for surrounding communities and visitors to the Clemmons farm. An UnderWater, UnderGround multimedia art exhibit created by the two artists will be installed at the Clemmons farm and open to the public in Fall 2024.
Clemmons Family Farm’s UnderWater, UnderGround artist-in-residence program is funded in part by an agreement awarded by the Great Lakes Fishery Commission (GLFC) to the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC) in partnership with the Lake Champlain Basin Program (LCBP), and by grants from the Vermont Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.