E16: The Revolution Will Be Televised


E16: The Revolution Will Be Televised
July 20 – August 24, 2019

Saturday, July 20, 6:00 -8:00 pm

Transformer is proud to announce the 16th Annual Exercises for Emerging Artists Program – E16: The Revolution Will be Televised. Founded in 2004, Transformer’s annual Exercises For Emerging Artists is a peer critique & mentorship program created to support a selected group of DC-based emerging artists at critical points or crossroads in their professional growth and creative development.  

Focusing on a different artistic discipline each year, E16 brings together four emerging DC-based artists exploring the use of video as a medium for socially conscious commentary. The invited artists will receive guidance and feedback from a series of visiting mentors comprised of established artists, curators, and critics, as well as Transformer staff and their peer E16 artists as they create new work or new body of work over the course of the program.

Designed to stimulate and encourage the participating artists as they create new work, the artists will participate in bi-weekly meetings & as well as studio and museum visits over several months period (May- July 2018), resulting in a group exhibition July 20 – August 24, 2019.

E16 artists include Maps Glover, Alexis Gomez, Paula Martinez, & Tam-anh Nguyen; with lead mentorship from Plakooke (Rachel Debuque & Justin Plakas); and guest mentorship from Mark BeasleyLarry Cook, Leigh Davis, Jaimes Mayhew, Naoko Wowsugi, and Transformer staff.

Artists invited to participate in the Exercises are nominated by Transformer staff, Advisory Council, as well as area arts educators and curators. 

The E16 artists received guidance and feedback from a series of established video and new media artists & curators, including: lead mentors Rachel Debuque (Artist; Professor, George Mason) & Justin Plakas (Artist) - PLAKOOKEE, and Mark Beasley (Curator of Media & Performance Art, Hirshhorn Museum; Transformer Advisory Council Member), Larry Cook (Artist; Professor, Howard University), Leigh Davis (Artist; Professor, GWU & NYU), Jaimes Mayhew (Artist; Professor, American University), and Naoko Wowsugi (Artist; Professor, American University).


Justin Plakas is an artist and designer who focuses on photographic images, video, and new media work. He holds an extensive national exhibition history, including Ortega y Gasset (New York, NY), Tiger Strikes Asteroid NY (New York, NY), and Untitled Fair (Miami, FL). He has held residencies at both The Bemis Center for Contemporary Art and Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. In 2018, he was awarded an Individual Artist Grant in Photography from the Maryland State Arts Council. Justin Plakas has ten years of teaching experience in higher education. He has taught at The University of Georgia, New Mexico Highlands University, and The Corcoran School of Art and Design at George Washington University. He earned his MFA in photography at The University of Georgia and his undergraduate degree in Film/Video from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Rachel Debuque is a three-dimensional artist and designer who focuses on sculpture, installation and performance work. She has an extensive national exhibition record including shows at The Cue Foundation (New York, NY), Soil Gallery (Seattle, WA), and Vox Pouli (Philadelphia, PA). She was a Southern Constellations Fellow at Elsewhere: A Living Museum and resident artist at The Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts. In 2017, She was awarded the Individual Artist Grant in Sculpture from the Maryland State Arts Council. She is currently an Assistant Professor at George Mason University and the director of the Studio Foundations Program. Rachel Debuque is also a certified yoga instructor in Hyattsville, Maryland.

PLAKOOKEE (plah-koo-key) is a creative collaboration between Justin Plakas and Rachel Debuque. They are artists and designers who combine a mix of sculpture, installation, performance, video, and photographic imagery. Their work often incorporates synthetic and man-made materials in bold colors and patterns that push the boundaries of design, space, and form with a digital approach. Drawings and sculptures are digitized into fictional worlds and vice versa. The combination of elements and process that are considered oppositional reveal a harmonious relationship in both digital and real space. Conceptually, PLAKOOKEE is interested in how accessible expressions of humor and absurdity can defy traditional art paradigms. They look to create experiences that can exist outside the conventional gallery settings whether it is through augmented reality apps, web-based videos, or multidisciplinary convergence. PLAKOOKEE’s studio practice strives for innovation by embracing the notion of failure and emphasizing experimentation with materials and processes. PLAKOOKEE’s goal is to create work that is fresh, entertaining, subversive, and thought-provoking.


Maps Glover creates work inspired by human behavior and observation, and pervasive social issues. He visualizes how time affects behavior, and how observation of behavior alters perspective. He constructs portals in which the characters he creates exist and experience the world around them, often in ways that seem unnatural to the viewer. Maps has created and performed work at Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, Smithsonian Arts & Industries Building, Transformer DC, and more.

Alexis Gomez (b. 1994, Fairfax, VA) received his BFA from the Corcoran School of the Arts & Design at the George Washington University. Gomez is an interdisciplinary artist with a focus in figural sculpture and animation. Recent exhibitions include DC Arts Center, Target Gallery, Maryland Federation of Art, and Transformer Gallery. Gomez is a current artist in residence at the Torpedo Factory Art Center, Alexandria, VA. He is currently working on augmented reality sculptures and virtual reality experiences.

Paula Martinez (b. 1996, Aracaju, Brasil) is an artist living and working in Washington, D.C. Martinez is focused on the phenomenological effects of objects, eternal life, transcontinental cultural habits, and searching for “authentic experiences”. Through employing a combination of performance and sculpture, Martinez creates object narrative and relationship. The stories told, or impressions left by, objects as they exist beyond art/ viewer relationship are the crux of her interest. Her research focus is on critical race and gender embodiment philosophy.

Tam-anh Nguyen makes video and installations that create environments for (re)discovering what already exists in the temporal continuities of our surrounding geological and geopolitical landscapes. Informed by her archival experience in documentary filmmaking, she utilizes widely circulated historical and contemporary visual narratives as material for investigating the formation of identity through various networked transcultural interactions. Nguyen holds a BA in Film Studies and Communication Studies with a research focus in Critical Theory from the University of Maryland.