LAUREL HAUSLER’s “Dogtown” reviewed in The Washington Post

29 Jun

 


Laurel Hausler. “Midnight in Dogtown,” 2019. (Laurel Hausler)

Sunday, June 30, 2019

By Mark Jenkins

Laurel Hausler

“Dogtown,” the namesake of Laurel Hausler’s show at Morton Fine Art, is a real place: an abandoned Massachusetts town that literally went to the dogs. But it’s also a state of mind, one that has much in common with the outlook of the Arlington artist’s previous exhibition, “Ghost Stories.”

Like the earlier pictures, these feature spectral presences, mixed-media contrasts and compositions dominated by darkness. So the most surprising of the newer works is “Midnight in Dogtown,” in which a sketchy rendering of a human figure is framed by upside-down black drips and dwarfed by fields of bright orange and red.

The selection includes a few small pieces that employ found objects and encaustic, a mix of wax and pigment. More common, though, are expressionist drawing-paintings that combine pencil marks with oil and gouache. These appear vehement, yet rough in places. It’s as if Hausler leaves openings in case any spirit might seek to enter.

Laurel Hausler: Dogtown Through Wednesday at Morton Fine Art, 52 O St. NW, No. 302.

 

Available Artwork by LAUREL HAUSLER

 

CNN Style interviews artist VICTOR EKPUK

27 Jun

https://www.cnn.com/style/article/victor-ekpuk-exhibition-get-up-stand-up/index.html

 

Arts

Artist Victor Ekpuk’s mesmerizing mural pays homage to African writing systems

Published 26th June 2019

Written by Milly Chan, CNN

On the opening day of “Get Up, Stand Up Now — Generations of Black Creative Pioneers,” lines of visitors snaked around the courtyard of London’s Somerset House.

The landmark exhibition celebrates the last half-century of African diasporan artists, who have often been denied the recognition they deserve. And if the crowds are anything to go by, the acknowledgment is long overdue.

Among the more than 100 participating artists — from across multiple disciplines and generations — is Nigerian-American painter Victor Ekpuk. His room-sized installation, “Shrine to Wisdom,” invites visitors to sit and learn, while immersed in one of his signature murals, which is based on an ancient writing system.

CNN caught up with Ekpuk to discuss whether his afro-futuristic art pre-empted “Black Panther,” and why we need more platforms to champion black creativity.

CNN: Let’s talk about your new installation at Somerset House, “Shrine to Wisdom.” Why did you create this mural?

Victor Ekpuk: I was contacted by Zak Ové, the curator, to contribute to the exhibition because of the nature of my work — my large murals look at futuristic ideas of learning and knowledge. I write these glyphs inspired by ancient writing systems in (what is now) Nigeria. They are actually knowledge-based art forms called “Nsibidi.”

People come into the room and feel like they are in a sacred space where they should learn something. They’re always eager to know what the symbols mean. The idea was to have an interactive space were people would walk in and be engulfed, (and) feel like they are in the womb of this knowledge. You are engulfed in entirety in writing.

What originally drew you to Nsibidi symbols?

Way back when I was in art school, there was a push for students to look closer to Nigerian traditions. I came to Nsibidi because it’s my direct tradition: I’m from Nigeria. Also its one of the earliest forms of writing or knowledge.

Do your individual glyphs all have meanings?

I’m not necessarily using the traditional symbols in my work. I’ve crafted my own “language,” in making my own abstract marks. There’s also the sense of reducing ideas to their essence, because that’s what the art form is about — to reduce ideas or concepts to graphic symbols.

It’s not like the Roman alphabet, where graphic symbols represent sounds, and when they are put together they make a word which explains a concept. In this form of writing, the graphic symbols represent ideas.

This work has been described as afro-futuristic — would you say this is a fitting description?

Yes, it is definitely afro-futuristic. In a sense, Nsibidi themselves are afro-futuristic signs and technology. You see it in “Black Panther’ — (in) the symbols they used in the palace and on the clothes the actors were wearing. Even bracelets had beads with inscriptions of Nsibidi and other African graphic systems. And each of those beads were power systems that could be used as a weapon, or as a seed to create more.

“Black Panther’ plays into the rethinking of the presentation of African knowledge. I was doing it before the movie. Since I left college I’ve been making work in that style.

With films like “Blank Panther” and exhibitions celebrating black creativity — do you think there is a movement to rethink how African knowledge is presented?

I think so. It makes it easier for me to talk about my work. If I reference a blockbuster movie like “Black Panther,” people have already seen an example of how ancient African graphic systems are used as power symbols. It gives me an angle to talk to someone who has never experienced my culture.

It’s mesmerizing to watch you drawing all over the walls in such an all-encompassing space. What’s going through your mind as you create the symbols?

I’m trying to let my hands catch up with what’s going on in my head at that time. It takes a lot out of me, mentally and physically. There’s only so much the physical body can do! But I do not plan … the next mark, it just flows. I do pre-plan the concept, but when I actually arrive at the space, I don’t make sketches.

What does it mean to you to be part of the “Get Up, Stand Up Now” exhibition?

It’s very significant for me. I believe as an African, as somebody who grew up in non-Western society, it always seems like our voices are not being heard. We’ve experienced a lot of appropriation of the ideas of African creativity, but haven’t had the creators at the center. Until now, when you talk about British art, for instance, very rarely do you see black names associated with it.

As an African in the diaspora, I share in this history of artists not being appreciated — not because their work is not good, but because of the color of their skin. So maybe this exhibit gives an opportunity for a dialog to begin to change. It’s a conversation that’s going on throughout the world. The United States is having that conversation too. Museums in the United States are becoming more inclusive, and they’re having large exhibitions of African American artists, and Africa diaspora artists, that before now have not been represented.

“Get Up, Stand Up Now — Generations of Black Creative Pioneers” is on until Sept. 15, 2019, at London’s Somerset House. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Available artwork by VICTOR EKPUK

 

"Shrine to Wisdom" an installation by Viktor Ekpuk, part of "Get Up, Stand Up Now ---- Generations of Black Creative Pioneers"

Artist Victor Ekpuk’s mesmerizing mural pays homage to African writing systems
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photo courtesy of CNN

‘Dogtown’ A Solo Exhibition of New Artwork by LAUREL HAUSLER

26 Jun
image3

Artist Laurel Hausler pictured with ‘Noir Rose’, 2018, oil and gouache on canvas, 36″x 48″

‘In my mind, there are three meanings of Dogtown.

There are the “Dogtowns” scattered throughout the US, usually desolate dusty places once frequented by rogues and unlucky outcasts.

There is a Dogtown-THE Dogtown- in Cape Ann, Massachusetts. This Dogtown is a historical abandoned settlement, once populated by outsiders, widows, witches and roaming packs of dogs. Today, it is still a wild place and one that should be preserved. Situated amidst Pleistocene boulders, the area continues to be a source of lore.

This exhibition is the third and imagined Dogtown- a mythical place that combines all of the latter aspects—and their metaphysical reflections. It’s a Blair Witch Project woods, a stony, inscrutable wilderness where women and witches live as they wish with dogs for companionship and protection—a place of ritual, noir and labyrinthian mystery, symbolizing persistence in the face of life’s craggy brutality.’ 

-LAUREL HAUSLER, 2019

ABOUT the Artist 
Laurel Hausler was born in Virginia. She works to create mysterious beauty in all media, and to remember and portray that which might be lost and forgotten. The works in this show are composed of graphite, gouache and oil paint on canvas.
Her artwork is featured in book publications including Cutting Edge; New Stories of Women in Crime by Women Writers, edited by Joyce Carol Oates and Retrograde, by Kat Hausler.
DOGTOWN marks her fifth solo exhibition at Morton Fine Art in Washington, DC. and is currently on view through July 3rd! 
ABOUT Morton Fine Art
Founded by curator Amy Morton in 2010 in Washington, DC, Morton Fine Art (MFA) is a fine art gallery and curatorial group that collaborates with art collectors and visual artists to inspire fresh ways of acquiring contemporary art. Firmly committed to the belief that anyone can become an art collector or enthusiast, MFA’s mission is to provide accessibility to museum-quality contemporary art through a combination of substantive exhibitions and a welcoming platform for dialogue and exchange of original voice.
Morton Fine Art
52 O St NW #302
Washington, DC 20001
Wed – Sat 12pm-5pm and Sun-Tues by appointment
For further information and images, please contact Amy Morton: mortonfineart@gmail.com

VICTOR EKPUK’s “Eye See You” on view at Smithsonian Arts and Industry Building for We the People festival in DC

22 Jun

 

 

Please join artist VICTOR EKPUK in conversation while viewing his monumental installation piece Eye See You in Halcyon’s By the People festival in Washington, DC, curated by Jessica Stafford Davis.

Nearly scraping the ceiling of the Arts & Industries Building, Ekpuk’s 18-foot-high “Eye See You” is the most imposing piece he’s ever exhibited in the District. -Mark Jenkins. (The Washington Post)

Sunday June 23, 2019
2:00pm
Smithsonian Arts and Industry Building on the National Mall
Jefferson St, SW Washington DC  

Artist ETHAN DIEHL interviewed by Silver Brush Limited

28 May

 

FEATURED ARTIST – ETHAN DIEHL

Brush Lady | May 20, 2019

We recently interviewed artist Ethan Diehl after meeting him at the 2019 Portrait Society of America show in Atlanta, Georgia. Ethan has an astounding talent for photo-realistic oil paintings. In fact, his paintings are so realistic that he even has a disclaimer at the top of his website that says, “Yes, these are paintings.” See for yourself!

SBL:  When did you start painting and what inspired you to pick up a paintbrush?
Ethan: I started painting almost before I could walk. Granted, it wasn’t in oil (closer to Gerber’s baby food), but it was the starting point.  My mother babysat a bunch of kids, and she converted our basement into an art room.  A half dozen young artists, mastering our watercolor craft.  I didn’t start painting in acrylics until junior high, and oils didn’t come on the scene until college. I don’t know why I picked up a paintbrush. I’ve always liked the visual world. The stars at night.  Storms on the horizon.  Movies.  Paintings. All of it.  Being able to capture images that lived in my head, and in front of me, always seemed special to me.   Like my superhero power.

“Train of Thought”

SBL: Do you have any formal training or instruction?
Ethan: I went to Stanford to study rocket science. Literally.  However, after a year of not enjoying my classes, I started to take studio art classes.  One of them, a drawing class, was taught by Nathan Olivera.  Nate was an incredible person.  We hit it off in his class, I completely changed the direction of my studies, and he became my art mentor.  More than simply learning the technical side of making art, Nate taught me how to pay much closer attention to what was right in front of me in the visual world.

SBL: Before you became a full-time artist, what did you do?
Ethan: The concept of full-time artist makes me chuckle. I knew very early on that it would be nearly impossible to make a living by just selling art.  So, I got a job, which I still have, as a software developer. I’ve been doing that for 21 years. However, this doesn’t mean that I don’t put in a fulltime amount of work each week in the studio.  I do.  I’ve been doing 40+ hour “work” weeks + 40+ hour “art work” weeks for almost 15 years.

“Tenacity”

SBL: What is your favorite subject to paint and why?
Ethan: People are my favorite subject.  Primarily women.  This isn’t exactly an original concept in the art world.  Haha.  I like spending my time focusing on the beauty that only women bring to the world. Within the subject of women, I only paint women I know.  It’s important for me to have a personal connection to my subjects, because it takes SO long for me to complete my paintings.  I really don’t want to spend months on end staring at a strange face in my studio.

SBL: How long have you been usingSilver Brushesand why do you like using them?
Ethan: I have been using Silver Brushes, and only Silver Brushes, since 2004.  That was the year that I started my professional art career.  I only use 1 particular brush: the Silver Bristlon® Flat size 0. My paintings are made of tens of thousands of squares of oil paint.  Each square is 1/6 in by 1/6 inch.  The Flat 0 is the perfect width for that size square.  The way that the bristles are constructed works well for me, too.  I like the flex of the bristles as I’m working on the squares.  Once I found this one brush, I was hooked.

“Constellation” painting process

SBL: Can you explain your painting process further?
Ethan: I use a pencil and ruler to turn my canvas into the equivalent of a super-sized piece of graph paper.  Then, I spend months looking back and forth between my computer monitor (which has a pixelated image), and the canvas, and painting tiny squares.  My Silver Brushes are never the same afterwards.  I normally use 1 single brush per painting, and then the brush is “retired”.  This process is not recommended for anyone else.  It works for me, but it’s painful.

SBL: Have any artists influenced or inspired your work?
Ethan: Chuck Close specifically influenced the way that I paint, from a technical aspect. I’m inspired by living artists like Jenny Saville, Mark Tansey and Banksy.

SBL: Is your artwork on display anywhere?
Ethan: My art is shown at three galleries:
• Julie Zener Gallery in Mill Valley, CA
• Robert Lange Studios in Charleston, SC
•  Morton Fine Art in Washington, D.C.

SBL: What advice do you have for aspiring artists?
Ethan: Work hard. Be nice. Enjoy the process. Fight envy with all of your strength.

For more information about Ethan and his artwork, please visit these links:
www.ethandiehl.com
Facebook
Instagram

Please contact Morton Fine Art for available artwork by painter ETHAN DIEHL.
Morton Fine Art
52 O St NW #302
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 628-2787
mortonfineart@gmail.com

Washington Post In the Galleries: JULIA MAE BANCROFT ‘Through Glass Lace’

25 May
Violet'sWindow_web

‘Violet’s Window’, 2018, ink, gouache, pencil and oil pastel on paper, 20″x 20″

Julia Mae Bancroft

There are fewer photo transfers in Julia Mae Bancroft’s “Through Glass Lace” than in her previous Morton Fine Art show, but the weight of old photographs remains heavy. The D.C. artist’s mixed-media pictures are almost all in black and shades of gray, with just occasional touches of pale pink or green. Bancroft conjures the past as drained of color but crowded with memories.

Texture is as crucial as image to Bancroft’s style. The pictures incorporate pulp, fiber, papier-mache and hand-stitched embroidery, and they are on sheets of paper mounted to stand slightly away from their backdrops. The layers represent what the artist’s statement terms “a glass lace screen” while “piecing together a fragmented narrative.”

That narrative doesn’t seem to be autobiographical. Some of the photo imagery is older than Bancroft, evoking the 1960s and much earlier times. The same is true of the artist’s technique, notably the needlework. The reminders of traditional women’s crafts ground Bancroft’s ghostly reveries in real-world labor.

~ Mark Jenkins, 2019

Julia Mae Bancroft: Through Glass Lace Through May 22 at Morton Fine Art, 52 O St. NW, No. 302.

ThinkingofFalling_web

‘Thinking of Falling’, 2019, ink, gouache and collage on paper, 22″x 11.5″

Remaining available artworks by JULIA MAE BANCROFT can be viewed here on our website and are also accessible for viewing in person at Morton Fine Art.

Morton Fine Art

52 O Street NW #302, Washington DC 20001

Hours: Wednesday – Saturday : Noon – 5pm

Sunday – Tuesday : by appointment

JULIA MAE BANCROFT’s “Through Glass Lace”

9 May

We are pleased to share new mixed media artworks by JULIA MAE BANCROFT currently featured in her solo exhibition, “Through Glass Lace”, currently on view at the gallery until May 22, 2019.  Each artwork takes a minimum of 40-60 hours to create.

 

Jellyfish Heart, 2019, 29.5”x 17”, ink, gouache, and collage on paper

 

 

Violet’s Window, 2018, 20”x 20”, ink, gouache, pencil and oil pastel on paper

 

In my latest body of work Through Glass Lace I continue to evolve the idea of piecing together a fragmented narrative by way of layering medium and texture.  Imagining a glass lace screen through which we can blur the lines between  strength and fragility, imagination and reality, macro and micro.

I chose to focus on creating emotion within the atmospheric spaces, allowing the reflective figures to float across the layers.  In this series we are free to explore the boundlessness of intimacy and how our internal conversations parallel and reflect the spaces we trace.

-JULIA MAE BANCROFT, 2019

 

Thinking of Falling, 2019, 22”x 11.5”, ink, gouache, and collage on paper

 

Alone in My Backyard, 2018, 22”x 23”, ink, gouache, and collage on paper

 

Lace Moon, 2019, 22.5”x 12”, ink and gouache on hand textured paper

Bancroft intricately and thoughtfully applies layers of imagery onto paper using oil pastel, gouache, watercolor, various fibers and ink transfers. Many of the pieces also incorporate embroidery hand stitched directly into the altered surface, complementing the figurative drawings. The intentional absence of color allows the viewer to focus on the obscured perspectives and depth of texture throughout the narrative. Bancroft’s unique and intensive layering process produces developed artworks that take up to 40-60 hours to complete.

 

Murmur, 2019, 14”x 38” (triptych), ink and gouache on hand textured paper

 

Infinite Pools, 2018, 22.5”x 12”, ink, gouache, and collage on paper

 

After the Rabbit’s Bride, 2019, 22”x 33” (diptych) oil, ink, gouache, and collage on paper

A few images of “Through Glass Lace” on view at Morton Fine Art. Hours are Wednesday – Saturday 12pm-5pm and Sunday – Tuesday by appointment.

 

“Through Glass Lace” at Morton Fine Art

photo credit: Alex Mcnaughton

 

“Through Glass Lace”

photo credit: Alex Mcnaughton

 

Enjoy! Please be in touch with any inquiries or requests for pricing.

Morton Fine Art

52 O St NW #302

Washington, DC 20001

(202) 628-2787

mortonfineart@gmail.com

http://www.mortonfineart.com