Announcing the inaugural Stelo + Variable West Art Writing Residents

Luiza Lukova (left) and Eel Probably (right).

Stelo and Variable West are delighted to announce the inaugural cohort of art writing residents! We received double the applications we expected, and it was a tough decision to choose just eight finalists.

Thank you to Ashley Stull Meyers and Bean Gilsdorf for their critical and compassionate judging! 

November: Callum Angus & Daniela Naomi Molnar
December: Intisar Abioto & May Maylisa Cat
January: Ella Ray & Laurel V. McLaughlin
February: Eel Probably & Luiza Lukova

Join us in welcoming the next two art writing residents Luiza Lukova and Eel Probably! Learn more about these talented creatives below and stay tuned for information about the following four residents.

Luiza Lukova is a visual arts writer, poet and curator. Her critical writing can be found at Art Practical, Arts Watch, Art & About PDX, 60 Inch Center, and others. Her academic background lies in Art History and English Literature, with an emphasis on Post-WWII art and literature. When not engaged in arts writing she has a penchant for confessional narrative in her personal work. She is the co-founder of homebase, a non-traditional backyard gallery space in SE Portland which operated from 2019-2021. Born in Bulgaria, she is currently living and working in Portland, Oregon. Learn more about Luiza on her website at and her Instagram @lu.s.i. Photo Credit: Caroline Kairour Lee 

Eel Probably is an anti-disciplinary artist spending time on their own divergent road of artmaking. A majority of their ideas are filtered through their ongoing worldbuilding project entitled BLOOM, a multimedia visual research/dream initiative, in which the participants, objects, and ephemera enter and leave the collection with no warning, reason, or hesitation. Eel earned their Bachelor of Fine Art, with a Concentration in Painting, from Pacific Northwest College of Art in December 2020. They are living in so-called Portland, Oregon on the lands of the Confederated Tribes of the Grande Ronde.

Ella Ray (left) and Laurel V. McLaughlin (right).

Ella Ray is an art historian, cultural worker, and curator who produces texts, environments, and exhibitions that imagine, and attempt to realize, worlds otherwise. Ray sees remapping, remixing, archiving, and highlighting Black art histories as a community-based practice that must occur beyond the academy and museum spaces. In this work, Ella Ray attempts to trace the contours of where visual and written culture intersect and inform both everyday and dream-spaces. 

Ray is currently writing and making exhibitions in Portland, Oregon. Ray’s work can be found in Cult Classic Magazine, the Studio Museum in Harlem’s website, the Portland Art Museum’s members’ magazine, ArtAboutPDX, OregonArtsWatch, and accompanying various public and private contemporary collections.

Laurel V. McLaughlin (she/her/hers) is a writer, curator, and art historian from Philadelphia based in Portland, OR (on the unceded lands of the Bands of Chinook, Clackamas, Cowlitz, Kathlamet, Molalla, Multnomah, Tualatin Kalapuya, and Wasco peoples). McLaughlin holds a BA in English and Art History as a Presidential Scholar from Wake Forest University, MAs from The Courtauld Institute of Art and Bryn Mawr College, and is currently a Ph.D. Candidate at Bryn Mawr, writing a dissertation concerning performative migratory aesthetics. She has presented her research at conferences such as the Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present, Hong Kong; the College Art Association, New York; and Performance Studies International, Calgary. Her research has been supported by a 2020–2021 Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowship in American Art and a 2022–2023 Bryn Mawr College Dean’s Fellowship. Her criticism, essays, and interviews have been published in Art Papers, Art Practical, Performa Magazine, Contact Quarterly, Performance Research, PARtake: The Journal of Performance as Research, and Antennae: The Journal of Nature in Visual Culture, and her co-edited volume on the work of Tania El Khoury is forthcoming in 2022 by Amherst College/ Lever Press. McLaughlin has organized exhibitions at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the University of Pennsylvania in collaboration with the Arthur Ross Gallery and the ICA Philadelphia, Vox Populi, the Center for Contemporary Art & Culture, and Paragon Arts Gallery. She is currently organizing The Longest Leg, a solo exhibition of the work of Emmanuela Soria Ruiz at Fuller Rosen Gallery, OFFAL, a solo exhibition featuring work from Simone Fischer at Astoria Visual Arts, the traveling survey Emilio Rojas: tracing a wound through my body, September 2–November 13, 2021, at Lafayette College, and forthcoming spring 2022 exhibitions at Artspace, New Haven.

Learn more about our past residents

May Maylisa Cat (left) and Intisar Abioto (right).

Intisar Abioto (b. Memphis, TN. 1986) is an artist working across photography, dance, and writing. Moving from the visionary and embodied root of Blackgirl Southern cross-temporal cross-modal storytelling ways, her works refer to the living breath/breadth of people of African descent against the expanse of their storied, geographic, and imaginative landscapes. Working in long-form projects that encompass the visual, folkloric, documentary, and performing arts, she has produced The People Could Fly Project, The Black Portlanders, and The Black. With the five women artists in her family, she is the co-founder of Studio Abioto, a multivalent creative arts studio. Photo credit: Renee Lopez / IG: @intisarabioto

May Maylisa Cat is a multidisciplinary artist whose work spans new media, performance art, sculpture, and installation. Her bylines have appeared in Oregon Humanities, Cold Tea Collective, Tricycle Magazine, and many others. May grew up in Chicago, IL and graduated from Cooper Union School of Art in New York, NY. Her projects have received support from the Franklin Furnace Fund, Oregon Arts Commission and Regional Arts and Culture Council of Portland, OR. Residencies include Chautauqua Visual Arts, Fountainhead Residency, Santa Fe Art Institute, Caldera Arts, Glean Portland, Stelo Arts, and Pilchuck Glass School. She has spoken as a guest lecturer for Carnegie Mellon University School of Fine Art in Pittsburgh, PA; Yale School of Art in New Haven, CT; Cooper Union in New York, NY; and as a teaching artist for Caldera Arts and Boedecker Foundation. Photo Credit: Celina Flores Photo IG: @maymaylisacatz


Callum Angus (left) and Daniela Naomi Molnar (right).

Callum Angus is a Portland-based author and editor whose writing on nature, art, and literature has appeared in LA Review of Books, Orion, Catapult, Critical Read, LitHub, The Millions and elsewhere. He has received support from Lambda Literary and Signal Fire Foundation for the Arts, and was a 2019 writer-in-residence at the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest. He’s also worked as a bookseller at Odyssey Bookshop and Powell’s, a publicist for Catapult Book Group, and edits the journal smoke and mold. He holds an MFA in fiction from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and is the author of the story collection A Natural History of Transition (Metonymy Press).

Daniela Naomi Molnar is an artist, poet, and writer working with the mediums of language, image, paint, pigment, and place. She is also a wilderness guide, educator, and eternal student. She founded the Art + Ecology program at the Pacific Northwest College of Art and is a backcountry guide and founding Board member of Signal Fire. A member of the third generation of the Holocaust and the daughter of immigrants, she lives in Portland, Oregon, in the Cascadian bioregion on the unceded land of the Clackamas, Chinook, Multnomah, and other Indigenous peoples. / IG: @daniela_naomi_molnar