Archive | May, 2014

CHOICHUN LEUNG & JULES ARTHUR in American Art Collector Magazine, June 2014

22 May

The June 2014 issue of American Art Collector Magazine features beautiful photos of CHOICHUN LEUNG’s painting Remembering William and JULES ARTHUR’s Charley Patton in the home of collectors Stephen and Kristina Penhoet. Read about their inspiration and connection to the original artwork that they acquired from Morton Fine Art as well as a number of other notable artworks in their beautiful residency.



AAC Choi 1

AAC Choi 2

AAC Choi 2A

AAC Choi 4

AAC Choi 5

AAC Choi 6

AAC Choi 7

AAC Choi 8

ETHAN DIEHL featured in The Daily Iowan

15 May


Art, faces, and stories

BY JUSTUS FLAIR | MAY 15, 2014 5:00 AM

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Walking into Ethan Diehl’s studio apartment felt a bit like walking onto a movie set of how an artist’s home should appear, so perfectly artsy, it was very nearly cliché.

The door opened into a long hallway lined with his oil paintings, predominantly black and white but with a few splashes of color throughout, all brightly lit.

As we continued down the passage, the apartment widened into a spacious glass room overlooking downtown Iowa City — a beautiful seventh-story view of the Ped Mall, the Arcade Building, the green-glass skywalk bridging the two biology buildings, and the towering steeples of several local landmarks. More art lines the walls here, too, but works of friends and fellow artists, not his own.

A partially completed colorless image of a woman sat on a modern-looking wooden easel, locked into place. But it hadn’t always been so secure; pointing to a smear of black and white turning into gray, Diehl said with a chuckle that was where the painting had fallen onto his head a few days previously, wiping paint across his hairless head and spreading it into squares of his painting.

Yes, squares of the painting. An oil painter, Diehl paints faces, primarily women’s faces, based on photos he has taken of them. Using Adobe Photoshop, he breaks the photographs down into grids, usually 1/6-by-1/6 inch squares on a canvas as large as 5-by-5 feet, and painstakingly paints each section individually with a Silver Bristlon Flat Zero brush — the only brush he uses.

“It’s kind of simple what I’m trying to accomplish,” Diehl said. “I come from a long line of storytellers; we tell stories, and I tell stories through my art. I use women’s faces and figures as a vehicle to tell a story about me or my family or my life.”

And it’s been an interesting life.

Born in Austin, Texas, Diehl moved to Iowa when his father, Paul Diehl, was offered a position at Grinnell College. A few years later, Paul Diehl became head of the University of Iowa’s Nonfiction Writing Program and the family moved again.

Growing up a block south of the Field House, Diehl used to sell chocolate-chip cookies in front of his home on Hawkeye football game days as he colored outside.

“There was always art around our house,” Diehl said. “From the earliest times, I can remember crayons and pencils and pens.”

The crayons, in particular, stick out to Diehl. One day, his older sister peeled off all the labels on his crayons, and Diehl, who said he always wanted to color everything the correct shade and stay inside the lines, could not tell which colors to use. His perfect blue sky came out purple.

That day Diehl discovered he was colorblind.

But that didn’t dampen his love for art. His experience with art at West High, though, did. His first high-school class, an art class, ended with him handcuffed to a desk, a “joke” by a senior, and his art classes did not much improve from there.

So he went off to college but not as an art major.

“I went to Stanford to be a rocket scientist. Literally,” Diehl said. “I wanted to build space weaponry. I didn’t want to kill people; I just wanted to blow shit up in space.”

As fun as that sounded at the time, he soon grew unhappy and bored, missing art. So he enrolled in a few art classes and, at the start of his junior year, became an art major.

And he was a terrible painter.

But he got better, working for hours a day, improving, honing his skill.

Then he graduated and stopped making art for four years.

When his now ex-wife, also an artist, got a job in California, Diehl went with her and decided to get back to art. He applied to five graduate-school art programs and got five rejections on his 25th birthday. Then he got divorced. And then, he began painting again.

He painted continually, 40 or 50 hours a week, and he got picked up by a few galleries, one in Austin and one in San Francisco.

Then, while watching “60 Minutes,” he saw a piece on Chuck Close, an artist known for his huge paintings of faces that up close seem abstract but at a distant show a distinct image of a face.

That led to his current painting style.

After finding a subject, Diehl takes a still image, almost always in his own apartment. Despite the close range, he uses a telephoto lens, allowing him to get a clear, close up photo from the other side of the room.

“I wanted to take the photos of people as far away as I could,” Diehl said. “I stand at one end of the room with my telephoto lens, and they’d be at the other, and it was like I was a wildlife photographer. I’d get much more natural photographs that way.”

Those natural photographs, once broken down into a grid, become his oil paintings, done in black and white to preserve their integrity and prevent color mistakes.

Though the paintings are time consuming, taking months to paint each tiny 1/6-by-1/6 inch square, it’s a labor of love for Diehl.

“Painting is addictive for me,” he said. “I may stop making good paintings, but I’ll never stop painting.”

Ethan Diehl's painting in progress in his Iowa studio

Ethan Diehl’s painting in progress in his Iowa studio,  it will be on view at Morton Fine Art upon completion, summer 2014

Katherine Hattam’s essay “Counting and the Vulgar Reader”

14 May

To view available work by visual artist, KATHERINE HATTAM, please visit

Katherine Hattam, "The Egoist"

Katherine Hattam, “The Egoist”



“The desire comes first”. This phrase, one I read in a book about American artist Eva Hesse, explains most things in my life, and certainly why I decided two years ago, to call this exhibition Consciousness Rising, to create work springing from reflections on the 1970s feminism and the phenomenon of “Consciousness Rising” particular to that time.

I am revisiting and reflecting on that time, my education – literature and psychoanalytic theory disguised as political science – when I read texts like Sanity, Madness and the Family; The Divided Self; The Greening of America – now I physically cannibalize them to provide a grid over which to work, incorporating covers and spines.

Why look back now? Death – less importantly politics – watching Julia Gillard’s resignation speech, for all my criticism of her as leader, there was a huge sense of sadness. Certainly it was different being a woman as a politician – harder…I am not a political artist – that is where my drive comes from – so to death…Both my parents have been dead for years, changing me and the work. But it is the more recent and shocking death of my friend Diana Gribble that feeds directly into this work. It certainly raised my consciousness of mortality but it was her stories of the South Yarra women’s consciousness raising group in the 1970s, stories of young, mostly married women, awakened to the fact of living in a patriarchy and simultaneously – almost without knowing it – finding themselves out of their once happy marriages – she was fabulous talking about this, being funny yet acknowledging its significance, at the same time both mocking it and taking it seriously.

As I didn’t do it, my knowledge of “consciousness rising” is secondhand. I wasn’t asked – it was an urban thing and I was married at twenty, living in far western Victoria on a family property (that life less conservative than it appeared), where women were of necessity integral to the business and daily life, through it was assumed the sons would inherit the land. But, I was commuting to Melbourne University once a fortnight and reading various second wave feminist texts. In fear of ever being stuck at a cattle sale or outside the stock and station agents in town, I always carried a book, at times Germaine Greer’s The Female Eunuch or a novel, say Anna Karenina or Women in Love. We were reading of student unrest in The Uncommitted, about the personal being political, so I was, through my visits to university, in touch. Importantly, a friend, Winsome McCaughey emailed me information about WEL (Women’s Electoral Lobby) that, significantly, I chose not to act on.

Looking back, I see an intellectually sophisticated, but emotionally backward young woman, navigating my marriage, living in a place and a life more exotic and different than if I had gone to another country rather than to the country. Maybe I was too young; my friends who did join consciousness-raising groups are years older. However, talking about this with my sisters, it was perhaps more the legacy of my intelligent but anti-joining mother. Added to this, she was a Modernist, believed there was only good and bad art, not Women’s or Muslim, Gay or Indigenous art, and would have been horrified, mocked the idea of quota, affirmative action.

It’s taken me pretty much until now to disagree with her. Reading the essay on “consciousness rising” titled “The personal is political” in the 1960s pamphlet “Notes from the Second Year”, I now see what I missed. I get it – women told their personal experiences and, in the repetition, the similarity of experience came to realize that personal experience was political. In a recent lecture, Sophie Cunningham, publisher, writer and Chair of the Literature Board, listed damning figures in all the arts – portraying an extremely unleveled playing field – the visual arts being by miles the worst. She pointed me to the blog, “The Countess”, which does just that, counts. Two examples: 1) the 1986 Sydney Biennial had 50/50 male female artists – the Australia Council, for once, specified that the money would be given on the condition that this would be the case, the only time both things have happened – the numbers have never since been equaled. 2) of the two thousand works in the Kaldor Collection donated to AGNSW, two or maybe three are by women.

An erstwhile friend, a writer, a good one and amusing friend, a man who used to ring me to talk and gossip – it was always interesting and fun, but somewhere in these conversations, he almost directly, and I’m sure, unconsciously, quoted Mr. Tansey in Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse, saying, “Women can’t write and women can’t paint”. Eventually our friendship ended when we argued over the portrayal of an artist in a novel which enraged me, “That just wouldn’t happen”, I objected – (it annoys me when writers use the character of an artist to explore their own creativity and, unfailingly, get the details of the trade wrong). Hs reply was to call me a “vulgar reader”, a title I now wear with pride.

STEPHON SENEGAL featured in the April/May 2014 edition of Uptown Magazine

8 May


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Stephon Senegal
Washington, DC

Stephon Senegal creates personal diaries through sculpture. By putting himself on display, he creates bold and beautiful pieces revealing the oftentimes tumultuous ebb and flow of the human condition. As a Louisiana youth, he would make his own toys out of popsicle sticks and black electrical tape, but has since graduated to bronze and other metals because they help present the body as a metaphor for life. “The work is a deconstruction and rebuilding of the self and the things that go with it in terms of vice, obsession and sexuality,” says Senegal. “An individual really can’t access who they are completely until they are tested both physically and mentally in regards to the ability to deal with what life may throw at them”.

Visit to view available sculptures and drawings by STEPHON SENEGAL.

DAK’ART Biennale opens May 9th, 2014 in Dakar, Senegal

7 May

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The International Exhibition of African and African diaspora artists is the main event of the Biennale. The selection is entrusted to the curators of Dak’art 2014: Elise Atangana for selecting the diaspora, Abdelkader Damani for North Africa and Smooth Ugochukwu Nzewi for sub-Saharan Africa. The selection is the combined result of artists invited by the curators, eight for each curator, and artists selected on the basis of portfolios provided by the artists or their representatives.

At this international exhibition are added four other events: an exhibition of guest artists dedicated to cultural diversity, the exhibition of African sculpture, Tributes exhibitions and Dak’Art into the Campus.

“Producing the common”

” All over the world biennial exhibitions multiply with the aim of creating a global image. Some might see it as a clear manifestation of globalization, a most exasperated expression, and a repetition of contemporary art exhibitions in a never-ending quest for novelty. For others, including us, the multitude of art biennials is an attempt to find “globality” and a common desire to produce a feeling of a singular world (Tout-Monde) in each place, a term coined by Édouard Glissant. What Glissant calls the “Whole-World,” is “our universe that is ever changing yet remains the same, and the vision that we have of it.” 
“Producing the common” is our central theme for Dak’Art 2014. With this theme, we seek to link politics and aesthetics in a vigorous and engaged way. Is the encounter of works of art in a specific place, the art exhibition, not an attempt to instantly produce the public space which people seek through movement and protests?
Most contemporary artists see politics as the prism through which they receive and interpret existential reality. They engage reality in their works and consequently involve their work in reality. Aesthetics is shaped by a wealth of forms and approaches used by artists to make their work legible. Thus, if politics is a way of communicating in the public space, is art therefore the base?
Art, more than any other domain, creates a chain of relations between men and women, but also the interplay between humanity, nature and the Universe. Artists’ creations must possess the vital force in order to command the attention of audiences. Art should be able to take into account common aspirations, fears, hopes and daily struggles with the utmost sincerity. That is why we think of the exhibition as the “distribution of the sensible,” to draw from Jacques Rancière. It is why we share his point of view of linking politics to art and aesthetics.
Our framework, “to produce the common”, is a conscious act of engaging what is collectively shared, and to take into account what affects everyone, the “Whole-World”. For Dak’Art 2014, we are interested in new modes of address used by contemporary artists (from Africa and elsewhere) in thinking critically about art and the artistic process as a public vocation, and as part of the whole. 
A timetable for video screening and cinema, as well as interventions in public spaces, completes this program for Dak’Art 2014, anchored in both reality and the imaginary. We hope this ensemble will provide a space and time to think about art, politics, and affirm that being together is the only horizon for human creation. “

By the curators: Elise Atangana, Abdelkader Damani, Smooth Ugochukwu Nzewi.

Venue: Village of the Biennale, Route de Rufisque.

Don’t miss the work of Morton Fine Art’s VICTOR EKPUK on view at DAK’ART 2014.  For available work by this internationally celebrated artist, please visit

Victor Ekpuk, Soliloquy Series 5, 15"x12", collage, ink & tempera on handmade paper

Victor Ekpuk, Soliloquy Series 5, 15″x12″, collage, ink & tempera on handmade paper

LAUREL HAUSLER’s “Yuki Onna (Snow Ghost)” for KWAIDON

1 May
LAUREL HAUSLER was recently asked to produce an original painting which would be reproduced as a poster for the Spooky Action Theater’s current production of KWAIDON.
Inspired by Lafcadio Hearn’s book Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things (which was first published in 1904), visual theater director Izumi Ashizawa brings to life a series of Japanese ghost stories. Hearn’s original unique collection of stories were ghostly sketches of an unreal world combined with a sense of spiritual reality. Kwaidan runs May 29- June 22, 2014 at the Spooky Action Theater located at 1810 16th St NW, Washington, DC 20009.
This wonderful new work can be seen at Morton Fine Art located at 1781 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC 20009.
Yuki Onna (Snow Ghost), 50"x40", mixed media on paper

Yuki Onna (Snow Ghost), 50″x40″, mixed media on paper