Mellon Visiting Practitioner Fellow (2020-2021)
James Montford AKA Ari is an interdisciplinary artist, whose work ranges from photography and collage to performance art. He works between his studios in Providence, Rhode Island and Boston, Massachusetts. Graduating with honors in fine arts at Brandeis University, he was awarded the Rosland W. Levine Award for outstanding Achievement in Fine Arts and served on the Advisory Committee to the Dean of the College. He went on to earn his M.A. in art and education at Columbia University and MFA at the Hoffberger School of Painting, Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. He has pursued opportunities to study and work under great artists such as painter Robert Colescott, architect Paolo Soleri, painter Grace Hartigan and painter Joseph Stefanelli. Dr. Leslie King-Hammond informed Montford as to pursuing a studio practice committed to challenging the canon.
For over thirty-five years, Montford has exhibited his work nationally, curated exhibitions and educated students in a variety of disciplines and media. In 2015 Persuasions, a mid-career retrospective exhibition, was presented at the Boston Center for the Arts. Vera Grant was the curator. Montford’s numerous residencies include several Yaddo Residency Fellowships in Saratoga Springs, NY, the Art Matters Inc. NYC Individual Artist Fellowship, Skowhegan residency and a VT Studio Center Residency Grant. And the Dune Shack Residency Cape Cod MA in 2019 as well as a Blue Mountain Residency in NY. Montford received two Connecticut Commission on the Arts grants, funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, a NEA Individual Artist Fellowship, the New England Foundation Art Matters Grant and was twice awarded the Pollock Krasner Foundation International Grant to support independent work. In 2020, he was a recipient of the A.R.T. Grant of the Berkshire Foundation, MA
Montford is currently on the faculty of Montserrat College of Art. From 2005 till 2017, Montford was Director of the Edward M. Bannister Gallery at Rhode Island College, where he was a professor in the Art Department and curated thought-provoking exhibitions by both regional and national artists. Montford had previously worked at the RISD Museum and taught in the fine arts division. His current academic affiliations include the University of Rhode Island, Bunker Hill Community College and Montserrat College of Art. Montford is represented in Boston by the Howard Yezerski Gallery and is affiliated with the June Kelly Gallery NYC. His work is in the collections of the RISD Museum, the Chrysler Museum of Art, the DeCordova Museum the Taft Museum, Scottsdale Arts Center, Visual Artists Fellowship Archive At the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American Art and the Haas Family Arts Library at Yale “3 Decades of Change” Artspace, among others. His work is a recent acquisition of the Rose Art Museum of Brandeis University. Additionally / Montford is a Fellow of Brown University’s CSREA / Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America for 2020-21.