Archive | December, 2014


30 Dec

houston press logo

100 Creatives 2014: Nathaniel Donnett, Artist

Categories: 100 Creatives
Photo by Cipher
The Dark Imaginal by Nathaniel Donnett

It’s been a stellar year for visual artist Nathaniel Donnett. During 2014, he had his first ever solo show at a major museum with “Nothing to See Hear.” It was part of the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, “Right Here, Right Now: Houston” ongoing series of exhibits and events. In support of “Nothing to See Hear,” Donnett received a 2014 Harpo Foundation grant, one of fewer than a dozen awards for the year. (By the way, the Harpo Foundation was founded by Edward Levine. Its name was inspired by Harpo Marx. It’s not related to Oprah Winfrey or her company, Harpo Productions.)He also had a solo show at the Mattatuck Museum, “Alone In My Four Cornered Room,” which closes in January 2015.

He was the subject of Rhythm & Black, a documentary by Rice University film students Paige Polk and Lydia Smith.

And most recently, Donnett was awarded a 2015 Idea Fund / Andy Warhol Foundation grant to develop his blog, Not That This, into a website supporting the critical discourse related to African American artists and other groups whose work is largely overlooked, ignored, or misunderstood by the mainstream arts press. (Donnett previously won an Idea Fund / Andy Warhol Foundation grant in 2011.)

Photo by Nathaniel Donnett
The Hair Piece by Nathaniel Donnett

What he does: “Normally, I say I’m an artist. I don’t talk much about it but if I do, I say I’m an artist and I’m interested in observing people and how people interact. I personally like to critique and comment on those interactions, especially some of the more nuanced ones that people may not be paying attention to.”

Of the two actions – observing and commentating – Donnett says observing is the more important. “Observation is not only the intake of that information, whatever the information is, but it’s also the reflection on that information, the editing and determining how I want to present my take on it, how I want to reveal what I’ve got to say.”

Donnett says the act of observation isn’t an exact science. “I’m observing a person or people. I’m human. They’re human. What I think I’m seeing may not be the truth, it’s my perception of the truth and my perception is influenced by my experiences. But even if I end up commenting on something that I really didn’t see, that comment can still be relevant. It’s still real.”

Why he likes it: “I like the attention,” he laughs. “Actually I like having a voice. I like the communicative aspect of it. I like the process of observing and understanding and reflecting and communicating on something. I most enjoy when I’m in the process of creating. I’m inside this space or this zone. Being in tune with the idea is the most interesting part, it’s just me and my idea. When the work is done, it’s always a relief so I guess I could say that I like that part, too, but mostly I like finding a zone.”

What inspires him: “There’s the idea that there’s something in front of you, something beside you and something behind you. There’s a social context, an emotional context, form, instrumentation, layers and layers. When you look at a piece, you may see one thing but there’s a multitude of things going on, a multitude of layers of ideas and concepts that went into that one work.”

If not this, then what: “If I had to do something else, I would be a drummer. My ideal band would be a mix of jazz, funk and rap. When I was younger, I really liked music. I couldn’t really sing, but I liked music. I liked dancing, I liked drawing and I liked people. Those things have all resurfaced in my work but somebody else may look at a piece and not see those things.

If not here, then where: “So I have to realistic when I answer that question. There are five major art markets – LA, New York, Chicago, Texas and Miami. In LA and Texas, there’s lots of space. In New York, there’s not lots of space. So that’s one thing. The other thing is affordability. On the other side of that, I don’t have a big system of collectors here in Texas. I have it outside of Texas, but not here. So, realistically, I think I would go to California.

“On the fantasy side, I would want to go to Saturn. Sun Ra used to talk about going to Saturn; for me it would be Mars.”

What’s next: “I’ve got a group exhibition at the Arkansas Art Center. That will close out this year. After that I’ve got a few more group shows coming up, including a show called “Heart of Darkness.”

Images of KESHA BRUCE’s “The Guardians (A Continuing Series)”

18 Dec

Please enjoy this amazing slideshow of paintings from KESHA BRUCE’s solo exhibition “The Guardians (A Continuing Series)” on display at Morton Fine Art through January 6th, 2015!

Contact the gallery for pricing and availability.

(202) 628-2787


This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Harpo Foundation : NATHANIEL DONNETT and Contemporary Art Museum Houston

16 Dec


Nathaniel Donnett and Contemporary Art Museum Houston

Harpo Foundation is pleased to provide project support for Nathaniel Donnett’s “Nothing to See Hear” for Contemporary Art Museum Houston’s exhibition “Right Here, Right Now:
Houston.” “Nothing to See Hear” is an investigation into how sound and light can create a space of remembrance and meditation. Through the use of minimalist gestures, Donnett has created an immersive environment that integrates light, sound, sculpture, and works on paper that give visibility to the contemporary portrayals of resistance and protest, loss and mourning. Donnett pays homage to the numerous men and women who have died while placing themselves on the front line for justice. His installation functions as a visual eulogy to their sacrifice as well as a conscious and thought provoking call toward social awareness.

On left: ”Nothing To See Hear” on view at "Right Here, Right Now: Houston".  On right: “Innocence," synthetic and human hair, graphite on paper bags 30in x 43in 2013.

Morton Fine Art at Aqua Art Miami featured in the Washington City Paper

5 Dec

Arts Deskwashington city paper

A Look at the D.C. Galleries and Artists at Miami’s Aqua Art Fair


While D.C. chills in the freezing rain, D.C. gallerists are sweating out Miami humidity in breezy, emptied hotel rooms at South Beach’s Aqua Art fair, one of several fairs operating alongside Art Basel this weekend.

Amy Morton of Morton Fine Art has been showing at Aqua for three years, and brought a collection of paintings, photos, drawings, and collages from a slew of living contemporary artists, including three from D.C. The gallery scored one of the largest (and coolest, temperature-wise) rooms at the fair. The Miami art fairs put D.C. on the global art radar, Morton says. “D.C., we’re really making our stamp down here,” she says, and since Morton made its Aqua debut, “I’m seeing more of a D.C. presence overall.”

At Morton’s booth, the work of local artist Stephon Senegal—who does most of his work in bronze and steel—was represented in large-format portrait photos of children. Senegal has an undergraduate degree from Howard University and a master’s from the Maryland Institute of Contemporary Art. Morton also showed oil paintings from Nigerian-born D.C. artist Victor Ekpuk(top) and mixed-media collages by GA Gardner, who worked in D.C. for many years and now lives in Trinidad (below).


A few doors down, Farmville, Va.’s J. Fergeson Gallery sold one of several $1,400 model trains painted by D.C. graffiti artist Tim Conlon (below) and is exhibiting a few of his spray-painted canvases, too. Fergeson has brought Conlon’s work to Miami for a few years now, but always as part of a collection of several artists. This year, Fergeson’s showing Conlon on his own. “His trains have always been popular, but it’s never worked out that I’ve had a good venue to show his paintings before,” says gallery founder Jarrod Fergeson. Conlon’s working on a street-art piece on a wall in Miami’s Wynwood Art District this week.FullSizeRender_2

Hamiltonian Gallery, also at Aqua, is showing the work of several of its fellows and alumni. Joshua Haycraft‘s tiny sculptures (below) are cataloged as elements of an alternate universe called BHBITB. Though the pieces are all handmade, Haycraft made painstaking efforts to craft them in precise, geometric forms that look like they could have come from a 3-D printer.


Also in Hamiltonian’s room at Aqua is one of Sarah Knoebel‘s “Cycles” videos of a frozen ball of detritus—a head of lettuce, fake hair, feathers—melting in a cloudy tank of water. The gallery’s already sold “Rock My World,” one ofAnnette Isham and Zac Willis‘ $500 collages depicting Michael Jackson and Elvis as religious idols (below), riding googly-eyed unicorns and ruling over Lisa Frank cat stickers. Art collectors who are scared of the dark, take note: One of the Elvis pieces still on view (bottom) gave the Hamiltonian reps a shock as they closed up shop last night. When they turned out the lights, they noticed for the first time that it glows in the dark.

Follow #washingtonmiamipaper on Twitter and Instagram for more updates on D.C. artists and galleries from the Miami art fairs this weekend.




Morton Fine Art – Booth #216 at Aqua Art Miami 14

4 Dec

This slideshow requires JavaScript.