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Artist x Artist Talk on Collage | Michael Andrew Booker, Lisa Myers Bulmash, GA Gardner and Amber Robles-Gordon

25 Jan

Video credit: Jarrett Hendrix

Morton Fine Art is pleased to announce Creating a New Whole, a group exhibition of collage artwork by Michael Andrew Booker, Lizette Chirrime, GA Gardner, Hiromitsu Kuroo, Lisa Myers Bulmash, Amber Robles-Gordon and Prina Shah. Ranging in techniques, approaches and materials—from quilting, tapestry, fabric, paint and appropriated mass media—the artists in Creating a New Whole exemplify collage’s invitation to what Myers Bulmash has recognized as “a process of purposefully taking things out of context.” Constructing new contexts, forms and wholes, these artists’ practices are frequently as generative as much as they are reparative, seeking to draw connections to what was absent or ignored in their elements’ original context(s). Creating a New Whole, will be on view from January 4 to February 4, 2023 at Morton’s Washington, D.C. space (52 O St NW #302).

Continuing quilting techniques practiced by their respective ancestors, Booker, Chirrime, Gardner and Shah work with resonant materials that speak to the past while enabling the past to speak to the present. Kenya-based, Shah’s personally charged materials include paper, saree, bindis and block printing which she vividly combines using textures, colors and forms, the sum total creating new narratives and perspectives for her inner voice. DC-based Booker is influenced by the coded and colorful history of quilts, referencing them as sign markers, shields, portals and gateways to help secure safe passage to a parallel utopic, afro-futuristic community, what the artist has called  “Afrotopia.” Intensely layering marks of fineliner pen, color pencil, collage and fabric, Booker conjures complex, multidimensional figurative works, his figures and forms cohereing together out of countless small acts. 

Mozambican artist Chirrime sources scrap materials from her environment and immediate communities, using fabric, burlap, rope, paint, beads, leather and more to produce dynamic collages that speak to African womanhood, and more broadly, the human condition. Slicing and collaging Western printed media, Trinidad and Tobago-based Gardner appropriates both content and practice, “creating false images and out-of-context narratives” that ironically and seductively mirror the Western world’s misrepresentation of people of color. Likewise taking a critical, redemptive eye to Western mass media, Myers Bulmash’s “Not Geo” series, a cutting play on National Geographic’s nickname, seeks to rehabilitate and restore to dignity the publication’s now notorious rendering of Africans and other non-Western people. 

Overall, a sense of construction charges the works in Creating a New Whole, whether that be the notion of renovating the present and past or extending out of the frame into sculptural dimensions. The latter can be seen in the sculptural geometric-like works of Robles-Gordon (pieces the artist recognizes as “temples, places of spiritual practice” and which reference her larger textile installations) and Kuroo, inspired by the tradition of origami in his native Japan, whose thickly layered applications of paint and canvas exist on the boundary between painting and three-dimensional art. 

Abidingly constructive in spite of their rigorous interventions, the works in Creating a New Whole end up with more than they started with as a matter of process. 

http://www.mortonfineart.com

LIZ TRAN interviewed in ART PLUGGED

17 Jan

Liz Tran’s Rorschach-Inspired Inkblots Explore The Human Psyche And Imagination

Artist Interviews

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Last updated:January 17, 2023

Liz Tran

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Seattle-based artist Liz Tran’s practice is an immersive exploration into the depths of the human psyche and imagination, making her work a feast for the eyes as much as it is for the soul. Tran’s adept use of colours, dots, circles, blots, and splashes is like looking into a kaleidoscope. You see something new, a provocative experience that challenges perspective every time you look.

Liz Tran

I have a childhood memory of taking the Rorschach test and it made a lasting impression. The inkblots in the test are ambiguous and open to interpretationLiz Tran

Her past exhibition, Matriarchs and Daughters Dream Oceans of Braille at Morton Fine Art in collaboration with Homme DC in December last year, was inspired by Tran’s memories of being administered Rorschach tests. A psychological evaluation of mental health and trauma through associative responses to inkblots. In this body of work, Tran transforms disparate monochromatic prints into a captivating narrative of technicolour panels, a testament to her artistic prowess. Tran’s work features in public collections that include the City of Seattle’s Portable Works Collection, Capital One, and Vulcan Inc.

In this interview, we learn more about the Seattle-based artist practice, creative process and more.

Q: Hi Liz, can you please introduce yourself? Can you share a little bit about your background and who you are as an artist?

Liz Tran: I emerged into the world on the hottest day of summer in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. I hold no memory of a time when creating was not a part of my
life—Play-Doh sculptures and sand castle landscapes later morphed into massive
paintings and installations.

Matriarchs and Daughters Dream Oceans of Braille installation view
Courtesy Morton Fine Art. Photo credit: Jarrett Hendrix
Q: In some ways your art functions as a sort of anti- Rorschach or positive- Rorschach test, stripped of the pathological assessment that defined the original test. Can you speak into your appropriation of the form, how you came to the Rorschach test? The work in this series seems to operate on a number of levels, from colorful and invigorating to slyly subversive.

Liz Tran: I have a childhood memory of taking the Rorschach test and it made a lasting impression. The inkblots in the test are ambiguous and open to interpretation, which encourages viewers to consider their own subjectivity and how it influences their understanding of the art.

The Rorschach test has a long history and has been the subject of much debate and discussion within the field of psychology. By appropriating the form of the test, I’m exploring these themes and inviting viewers to approach it with an open mind, minus the intention of diagnosis, which, historically speaking, was often incorrect.

Liz Tran Baby Father, 2019
Liz Tran Baby Father, 2019 24 x 24 in. Mixed media on panel
Courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist
Q: Your work places generous emphasis on the self: self-knowledge, self-reflection, arguably self-care. How do you encourage and deepen these gestures to the self in a body of work that originates from a rather impersonal, profoundly analytical test?

Liz Tran: It’s true that the Rorschach test is often associated with psychological analysis and assessment, and it is typically administered by a trained evaluator in a clinical setting. However, the use of the Rorschach test in art can be a way to invite
self-reflection and exploration of the self in a more personal and artistic context.

Liz Tran
Mirror 11, 2020
12 x 12 in. Mixed media on panel
Courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist
Q: How do you view art? Buried in these works is the idea that there is no “correct way”to understand and engage with art. I’m interested in how you engage.

Liz Tran: I primarily engage with art and art making from the place of intuition and
feeling, later taking into consideration the context of the artist’s intentions and the cultural and historical context in which it was created. Keeping in mind that there are many different ways to engage with art, it’s important to remember that there is no “right” or “wrong” way to do so.

Q: What are your thoughts about abstraction? Obviously, you work in this mode, but your art nevertheless seems to be critically alert to how we talk about and look at abstraction (art)?

Liz Tran: Abstraction can be a very effective way for artists to explore and express complex ideas and emotions, allowing for a wide range of interpretations by the viewer. It can also be a way for artists to challenge traditional notions of representation and encourage viewers to consider the art in a more open-ended and subjective way.

Liz Tran-Heirloom
Heirloom, 2022 Mixed media fiber collage installation 198 x 53 in.
Courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist
Q: Heirloom has a delightful origin. Can you tell us the inspiration behind this piece, how long it took to complete, and its meaning? What was it like working with your mother on the piece?

Liz Tran: I have memories of sitting in church and staring at the oversized, colorful
wall hangings in the otherwise monochromatic space. This imagery definitely played a part in creating my own, non-denominational textile.

Heirloom is a large wall hanging composed of various bodies of work and pieces of installations completed over the past decade. The binding is my matriarchal grandmother’s tablecloth, cut up and dyed with turmeric and the entire piece is sewn together by my mother. Heirloom serves as a marker of my career as an artist, while simultaneously serving as a tribute to the women who came before me.

Liz Tran
Cosmic Circle 1, 2020 24 x 24
Liz Tran
Cosmic Circle 1, 2020 24 x 24
in.Mixed media on panel
Courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist
Q: What’s next for you as an artist?

Liz Tran: I’ll continue to follow my curiosity to worlds beyond explanation.

Learn more about Liz Tran

©2023 Liz Tran, Morton Fine Art

Len Gordon

Len is a curator and writer at Art Plugged, a contemporary platform inspired by a passion for showcasing exceptional artists and their work he also studying an MFA in Curating at Goldsmiths London.

Available artwork by LIZ TRAN

Artist JENNY WU paints and sculpts her piece “70 Year Old Intern Waiting for His First Real Job”

6 Jan

JENNY WU’s solo exhibition “Ai Yo!” runs February 8 – March 8, 2023 at Morton Fine Art in Washington, DC.

Featured here: Jenny Wu’s 70 Year Old Intern Waiting for His First Real Job”, 2022, 36″x24″, latex paint and resin on wood panel.

Visit www.mortonfineart.com for available artwork by Jenny Wu.

Fundraising for artist LIZETTE CHIRRIME’s surgery

5 Jan

Passos de volta á vida / Walking back to life

Fundraising campaign by Lizette Chirrime Inhambane Tofo, MZMedical & Healing
video
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Campaign Story

Hello world,

This is an urgent appeal to friends, family, and kind-hearted strangers to help me heal. For those who don’t know me, you can learn more about my path as an artist here.

In 2020, in the middle of the pandemic, I underwent hip replacement surgery in South Africa. All was well until just over a year later, when I began feeling pain in the region where I had been operated.

Blood tests revealed that my surgery had not been as successful as we originally thought. After extensive doctors visits and medical opinions, I was told that my hip bone was infected and another hip replacement would be necessary, requiring two surgeries over three months. Specialists in Mozambique warned me of the risks of having the surgeries done locally, and my surgeon in Cape Town said that my infection was so severe that they would likely need to amputate my leg. I was shocked and scared and fell into a deep pit of despair.

With the help of family and friends, I was able to transform my despair into determination to seek an alternative. After an extensive global search, I found a surgical centre with the technology and skill to heal my hip without amputation. The Yashoda Hospital in India is reputable, cost effective, and able to do the surgery as soon as I can get there. The $25,000 I am attempting to raise will cover the two surgeries, hospital stays, and post-surgery physiotherapy.

The surgeon has urged me to come as soon as humanly possible, as the infection is severe and getting worse by the day. The longer I wait, the higher the risk of it entering my bloodstream, causing a life threatening condition called sepsis. I am also in chronic pain, which is weighing down my spirit, hindering my mobility, and keeping me from earning a living.

It is not easy for me to ask for help, but the cost of these surgeries is way beyond my financial means as an artist. Without your collective support, I am facing either the amputation of my leg, tissue damage and organ failure, or death. So time is of the essence, and every donation, no matter how small, is a gift of life.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

love,

Lizette

P. S. You can also contribute to the campaign by purchasing my art at the following online galleries and platforms:

50ty50ty Prints

Morton Fine Art, Washington, D.C.

Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, London

AKA, Dubai

Mutual Art

Artsy

Rewards

The Fluid Dance

This is my only work of art that has been turned into a print. It sells for 335 USD (compared to my original pieces that sell for between 2,000-6,000 USD) and is part of a limited edition of 50. It is 22 x 30 inches in size, numbered and signed by me, and hand-printed in South Africa. For more details: https://www.50ty50typrints.com/prints/fluid-dance-dressed-red/

Donate $500.00

reward_image

Fundraising Team

Lizette Chirrime b. Nampula, Mozambique, 1973. Lives in Tofo Inhambane

Multifaceted Artist and designer. Single mother of 2

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LIZ TRAN | Interlocutor Magazine | Artist and Curatorial Statements

26 Dec

INTERLOCUTOR

Dec 20

Exhibition Feature – MATRIARCHS AND DAUGHTERS DREAM OCEANS OF BRAILLE by Liz Tran

Exhibition FeaturesVisual Artists

Photos by Jarrett Hendrix

Morton Fine Art, in collaboration with Homme DC, is pleased to present Matriarchs and Daughters Dream Oceans of Braille, an exhibition of polychromatic inkblot prints and Heirloom (2022), a new 17-foot wall-mounted installation, by artist Liz Tran. Matriarchs and Daughters Dream Oceans of Braille will be on view by appointment through January 6, 2023 at Homme DC’s Washington, D.C. space (2000 L ST NW). 

Inspired by early memories of the artist being administered Rorschach tests — a psychological evaluation of mental health and trauma through associative responses to inkblots — Tran transforms and transports the familiar monochromatic prints into a world of vibrant, technicolor panels that explore the nature of viewer subjectivity. Featuring work from her Mirror and Cosmic Circle series, Matriarchs and Daughters Dream Oceans of Braille is an explosion of colorful dots, circles, blot, and splashes that accumulate on the panel and create a thickened impasto.

Heirloom, 2022 (Work in progress image) – Mixed media fiber collage installation, 198 x 53 in.
Mirror 32, 2021 – 24 x 18 in. Mixed media on panel

CURATORIAL STATEMENT – by Amy Morton

Exuberant and cerebral, Liz Tran is nationally recognized and well-known in her home city of Seattle, Washington. Conjuring a world of vibrant, technicolor visions, she explores the nature of viewer subjectivity. A generous and open artist, her current solo exhibition, Matriarchs and Daughters Dream Oceans of Braille, feels like a gift of connection —  almost a theme, this sort of connection continues the spirit of my gallery’s collaboration with Homme DC (in the exhibit’s presentation). This collaboration goes a step further in the form of Liz Tran’s spectacular installation piece Heirloom, which she lovingly completed with her mother.

17-feet long, Heirloom is composed of fabric drawn from her travels, memories and installations from around the world, including the curtains of a circus tent, an oversized fiber womb encased in a vintage trailer and a space suit onesie. The piece was sewn by her quilt-making mother, with whom Tran often collaborates. Tran’s work often places the self at the center, valuing self-knowledge and self-care. With Heirloom, Tran honors her mother and all the generations of women who came before her. Love and devotion seem to be at the center of Heirloom.

Cosmic Circle 1, 2020 – 24 x 24 in. Mixed media on panel
Baby Father, 2019 – 24 x 24 in. Mixed media on panel

ARTIST STATEMENTby Liz Tran

My maternal grandmother Joyce would be thrilled by the knowledge that my mother and I: dissected her pristine white tablecloth, stained it with turmeric and affixed it to my current installation, Heirloom. Like many grandmothers, Joyce was a little different. Meant for a lively life in the city, she managed to play the role of a farmer’s wife somewhat convincingly, but I often wonder what her story would have been like if she had been born into my generation. Her spirit’s foundational support of my beautifully unconventional life is forever present. I aim to make her proud, in my art and my life.

Mirror 5, 2020 – 27 x 54 in. Mixed media on panel
Mirror 8, 2020 – 54 x 27 in. Mixed media on panel
Cosmic Circle 3, 2020 – 24 x 24 in. Mixed media on panel

Matriarchs and Daughters Dream Oceans of Braille will be on view by appointment through January 6, 2023 at Homme DC’s Washington, D.C. space (2000 L ST NW). 

Check out our coverage of other current and recent art exhibitions

All images courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist

Tyler Nesler

Morton Fine ArtLiz TranTyler NeslerDC GalleryMixed MediaFiber ArtsContemporary ArtModern ArtInkblot printsInstallations

Available Artwork by LIZ TRAN

All Africa highlights LIZETTE CHIRRIME’s need for urgent medical procedure

17 Dec

Mozambique: Mozambican Visual Artist Lizette Chirrime Starts Crowdfund for Urgent Medical Procedure

Scrrenshot/GoGetFunding

A GoGetFunding has been set up to help raise funds for Lizette Chirrime’s surgery.

16 DECEMBER 2022

allAfrica.com

By Melody Chironda

Cape Town — In 2020, at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, Lizette Chirrime underwent successful, life-changing hip replacement surgery. Now doctors have revealed that the surgery was not as successful as initially thought, and this is threatening her life.

The self-taught multidisciplinary artist, according to Morton Arts, is well known for her “artistic work of combining textiles and found objects, in her symbolic abstract works – drawing inspiration from her journeys and dreams. Chirrime’s interplay between textiles and abstraction, as well as her palpable use of art as a therapeutic and spiritual tool, brings forth a reconfigured understanding of representation and human nature, using thread after colored thread to inspire hope and healing.”

Following a three-month residency at Greatmore Studios in Cape Town in 2005, she lived in South Africa until 2021, then returned to her native Mozambique. She has been featured in numerous galleries and museums such as Cape Town Art Fair, Kubatana, Vestfossen Kunstlaboratorim, Norway, including a solo exhibition, Rituals for Soul Search, at Morton Fine Art in Washington, DC

In addition to her exhibitions, she has participated in Nando’s Artist Society, Nando’s Chicken Run, as well as Yellowwoods Art’s Creative Block programme.

But now, Chirrime is facing the greatest challenge of her life.

She is seeking help from friends, family, and kind-hearted donors to help pay for her operation in India.

Outlined on her GoGetFunding page, Chirrime said that in 2020, in the middle of the pandemic, she underwent hip replacement surgery in South Africa and all was well until just over a year later when she began experiencing pain.

And after two years of constant pain and much research for relief, she was told that she needs to get another hip replacement.

Available Artwork by LIZETTE CHIRRIME

NATALIE CHEUNG Interviewed | PetaPixel | Camera-Less Photography

26 Oct

Camera-Less Photographer Creates Beautifully Abstract Cyanotypes

 OCT 25, 2022

 SONYA HARRIS

Abstract ocean waves blue and white Cyanotype image
57 Hours, 2022 (detail). Cyanotype photogram on paper. Courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist

In a unique blending of mediums, the works of artist Natalie Cheung invite viewers into a myriad of captured ‘experiences through time and movement’ set onto the surface of photosensitive paper and microplastic sculptures.

With pictures reminiscent of Rorschach tests, Cheung’s captivating ‘camera-less’ photo series Made Of Light, leaves onlookers beguiled yet intrigued by the artist’s map-like aesthetics.

Cheung’s work is influenced by the natural world, as well as created by light, duration, and the chemistry of making a photographic print. Made of Light manages to adeptly pay homage while utilizing the cyanotype technique.

Cyanotype image blue and white (abstract)

“Cyanotype is the earliest form of photography;[…] it’s the same process from which early architectural blueprints were made.” Cheung continues, “One of the bodies of work featured in Made of Light […] is Intermediaries. In Intermediaries, evaporation is my subject. The mappings contemplate the incremental transformations our planet is facing as climate change progresses. It is predicted that warming temperatures around the world will cause coastal areas to become dramatically wetter and inland regions drier. The title of each work indicates the hours in which water took to evaporate completely, and what remains is a blueprint of evaporation. The titles in hours are an homage to the ticking clock (literal and figuratively) we have on our planet to reduce emissions and stave off the point of no return for climate change.” Cheung says, speaking to PetaPixel

Cyanotype sepia and dark beige and brown
Untitled 1, 2021. Silver gelatin chemigram on photo paper. (From the series Facsimile). Courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist

Cheung hails from a mixed-medium background. At 10 years old, she received an in-box 35mm Minolta film camera from her uncle and fell in love with the discipline then and there. She progressed as an avid film user, favoriting Hasselblad, and Rolleiflex and picking up inspiration from album art from bands such as the Pixies. Particularly, their Doolittle album art.

“The photographs in that album were so textural, rusty, and abandoned. So while other kids in my class were taking pictures of their friends and normal stuff teenagers would take pictures of, I was taking pictures of human teeth in crusty backdrops,” she says.

While studying film photography during the height of the “digital revolution,” and as traditional photography began to gravitate towards pixels, Cheung chose to dabble in the creation of new works in the darkroom without the aid of film images.

Teal and violet image, can see houses in the distance
Intersections of Light #060, 2022. Color pinhole photograph. Courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist

“When the digital revolution in the photo world took over a few years into my career, I started to think a lot about the essence of the medium: documenting a moment in time with light. I questioned why darkroom photographic processes were still relevant and how I could continue to use them in a contemporary context without my work looking like it was clinging to antiquated romanticism. This is the central idea behind all my work.” Cheung says.

She stuck with the basics, that being Crynotype, and fully committed to a cameraless approach to her images.

“The inspiration for my cameraless photography has shifted over the years. Everybody of work looks very different from the last; even what the artwork is about changes. But the artwork always remains connected by the importance of the process woven into the concept and by the random element of chance that is involved,” She says.

Abstract pink and white cyanotype image with red lines
Intersections of Light #033, 2022. Color pinhole photograph. Courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist

The conceptualization of her process is almost as abstract as the results of her works. In a controlled environment, Cheung uses slow-reacting cyanotype to yield inky-like images with intriguing shapes, textures, and patterns. While some images resemble a kind of cartography complete with river deltas and signs of erosion, others simply invoke the calm and contemplative, aggressive or panicked ‘mood’ of the artist.

“I think about my process like controlled experiments: there are control elements and there are factors I can play with to create a little chaos. I never know what’s going to happen exactly. Sometimes the artwork is a dud and sometimes it’s wonderful and that is very exciting,” Cheung says.

Sepia colored Abstract image, with lighter and dark blots and waves
Silver gelatin chemigram on photo paper. (From the series Facsimile). Courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist

The artist allows her mixtures to evaporate naturally, a process that mimics while subtly commenting on the steady passing of time and loss of water that defines humanity’s relationship with the climate crisis. The results are a brilliant merging of mediums, artistry, and social commentary.

“I’m always excited to see the outcome of an artwork. My work is not predictable: you can set everything up, but the image could be a dud…and there are a lot of duds. So when one turns out great, it’s magic. The process is so technical and labor-intensive that anything could go wrong during processing, so I feel super protective about the artwork until it’s dried and stored.”

Natalie Cheung , with long dark brown hair and glasses and polka-dot shirt
Courtesy Natalie Cheung

‘Cameraless photography’ has afforded Cheung an unconventional yet intriguing kind of set-up and work space,

“I don’t use much equipment at all! I use jumbo darkroom trays, chemicals, light, lots of nitrile gloves, and Ilford paper. I keep tagging Ilford in my Instagram posts but have never gotten a nod. I’m sure they are horrified at what I am doing with their product.”

cyanotype image with cloud and water like abstract imagery
57 Hours, 2022. Cyanotype photogram on paper. Courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist

Without the traditional nuances of digital, it’s tempting to view Cheung’s process and setup as a simplistic form of photography, however life in a darkroom consistently has proven challenging at times for the D.C based artist,

“Everything is a challenge! I like to make large artwork and I’m small, so from cutting giant heavy rolls of paper to backbreaking processing & archival washing to figuring out who is going to help me move a 7-foot framed artwork, it’s all challenging in different ways. I use these huge trays in the darkroom and even moving one of those around, I think I did something weird and tweaked my shoulder once. Another time the darkroom suddenly had no water pressure…that was fun, to say the least. At the end of the day, I personally need to make this artwork and it’s well worth all the hurdles…and I move my trays carefully now.”

Feedback for Cheung’s works has both challenged and amused the camera-less photographer,

blue and white abstract and looks like clouds over a big blue ocean
67 Hours, 2018. Cyanotype photogram on paper. (From the series Intermediaries). Courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist

“If you’re an artist then you know there’s wildly varying feedback. Of course, I love the complimentary stuff, but I value critical, well-thought-out comments the most. Sometimes the most valuable comments come from the most unlikely people. I also secretly enjoy the weird comments like: “This reminds me of the time I spilled laundry detergent” or “I am confused but interested in this”. It’s like reading internet comments. I know it’s wrong to be so entertained, but I am!

Currently, Cheung is focusing on the Made of Light exhibition at Morton Fine Art, and is busy dreaming of future collaborations with artist Marimekko, or at least “a scientist with a powerful microscope.” In the future, she is staying committed to trying different mediums and assessing the fruits of her labors.

“I recently got into large-scale artworks and I’m kind of in love, so I am going to continue exploring scale. I also started making my reclaim (model islands) sculptures, so I want to see where I can go with those. It baffles even me, how after decades of strictly being a photographer, I just sat down and started carving out a sculpture.”

Abstract Cyanotype teal and orange and yellow image
Intersections of Light #008, 2022. Color pinhole photograph. Courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist

For more from Cheung, make sure to visit her Website and Instagram


Image credits: All photographs courtesy Natalie Cheung

Available Artwork by NATALIE CHEUNG

AMY MORTON | Morton Fine Art | Voyage Baltimore

20 Oct

LOCAL STORIES

Community Highlights: Meet Amy Morton of Morton Fine Art

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LOCAL STORIES

Today we’d like to introduce you to Amy Morton.

Hi Amy, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I come from a line of (underrecognized) women artists on both sides of my family and felt strongly rooted in a creative life from an early age. I majored in art history at Occidental College in Los Angeles and also studied anthropology and studio art. Although I loved having a studio practice, I felt my greater calling was toward advocacy for original voices and exceptional creations by other artists. I founded Morton Fine Art in 2010 and launched *a pop-up project, Morton Fine Art’s trade name, which was a mobile gallery model. After my debut exhibition in DC, I quickly understood I needed to establish a permanent gallery space, also in 2010, and have been exhibiting national and international artists here ever since.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
I don’t think many creative professions have a lasting smooth road, in fact a career in the arts typically ebbs and flows and has patches of uncertainty. As a gallerist, I have had to innovate continuously to ensure my business is thriving and surviving. I have a flexible mindset so when something isn’t working optimally, I am not fearful of switching things up in hopes of opening new paths for success. Many of the struggles include activating a collector base during times of collective uncertainty and fear, whether it be financial market troubles or a global pandemic.

As you know, we’re big fans of Morton Fine Art. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
Founded in 2010 in Washington, DC by curator Amy Morton, 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 art collecting can be cultivated through an educational stance, 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 specializes in a stellar roster of nationally and internationally renowned artists as well as has an additional focus on artwork of the African Diaspora.

Morton Fine Art founded the trademark *a pop-up project in 2010. *a pop-up project is MFA’s mobile gallery component which hosts temporary curated exhibitions nationally.

How can people work with you, collaborate with you or support you?
I currently work with 28 global artist-partners from the U.S., Puerto Rico, Mozambique, Nigeria, Ethiopia, South African, Kenya, Japan, China, Australia, Germany and Trinidad and Tobago. Many of us have worked together for a decade or more with some new partnerships which were formed during the early days of the pandemic. Feeling connected with so many tremendous artists globally makes for inspiring collaboration, growth and continuous learning. We are grateful to have the support of other artists, collectors and art enthusiasts who value the programming and vision we are putting forward at Morton Fine Art.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Photo credit: Jarrett Hendrix and Morton Fine Art

KESHA BRUCE | Interlocutor Magazine | Interview

30 Sep

INTERLOCUTOR

Sep 29

Exhibition Feature – TAKE ME TO THE WATER by Kesha Bruce at Morton Fine Art

Visual ArtistsMultidisciplinary ArtistsExhibition Features

Installation View of Kesha Bruce’s solo Take Me to the Water at Morton Fine Art in Washington, DC. Photo credit: Jarrett Hendrix

Morton Fine Art is pleased to announce Take Me to the Water, a solo exhibition of mixed-media paintings by the artist Kesha Bruce. An intuitive combination of painting, collage and textile art, Bruce’s work represents the culmination of a holistic creative practice developed by the artist over several decades. Her eighth exhibition with the gallery, Take Me to the Water will be on view through October 11, 2022, at Morton’s Washington, D.C. space.

The wall works of Kesha Bruce are less discrete executions of a concerted vision than the steady accumulation of a long creative process. Referred to by the artist simply as paintings, these mixed-media compositions are in fact patchworks of painted fabric, individually selected from Bruce’s vast archive and pasted directly onto the canvas in a textile collage that can sometimes resemble a quilt. The result of a slow and perpetual artistic method, each work represents hours of treatment, selection and juxtaposition until the whole becomes manifestly greater than its parts. Bruce’s process ends with her titling of each work: a poetic articulation of what the work is at this point capable of expressing for itself. 

Much like water, the routine behind Bruce’s artmaking is cyclical and in service to a greater equilibrium – a pointed contrast to many of the epitomic works that make up much of the traditional art histories of the past several centuries, and which tend to aggressively emphasize rupture, madness and unsustainability as the most fruitful mothers of invention. Bruce’s process is distinctly different, and points to more a promising alternative for artmaking, in which creativity and lived experience are inseparably intertwined. For Bruce, this means that art can be not only a form of self-care but an act of self-discovery. Noting that her color palette has become markedly warmer since she moved to Arizona (where she currently serves as the Director of Artist’s Programs for the state’s Commission on the Arts), the artist delineates her method as a form of strategic openness – making room and taking time to allow the materials to guide her toward their final form, rather than the other way around. 

The show’s title, Take Me to the Water, alludes to a 1969 rendition of the traditional gospel song by Nina Simone at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Bruce locates something transcendent in the recording of Simone’s performance that encapsulates what any form of artmaking, at its best, can be: a conversation between oneself and the divine. Deftly aware of the elemental power of water as a force that follows its own paths and forms its own shapes, Bruce identifies her artistic process closely with this element, and notes how the transcendental effects which result from it can be as overwhelming and rhythmic as the ocean waves of Big Sur. 

La Sirene, 2022, 48 x 36 in. Mixed-media on canvas
Florida Water, 2022, 36 x 36 in. Mixed-media on canvas

Amy Morton/Morton Fine Art – Curatorial Statement

What moves me about Kesha’s work is the way one can sense her holistic process within every finished piece. We have worked together for 12 years, and, through our relationship, I have gained rich insight into her intuitive method. She works at her own pace, and an individual work may take years to reach completion, yet it becomes so ingrained in her daily life that its momentum is almost perpetual. Her paintings gradually accrue over time, organically ebbing and flowing between her unconscious and conscious mind. She also embraces her life in the present tense, oftentimes visible in the relationship between her palette and surroundings. I can feel the level of care, attention and vitality in her creations and sense her sustained presence emanating out of each of her remarkable compositions.

Let the Current Take You, 2022, 36 x 36 in. Mixed-media on canvas
Memory of Matala, 2022, 60 x 48 in. Mixed-media Textile Collage on canvas

Kesha Bruce – thoughts on Take Me to the Water

I believe art is a conversation between the artist and the Divine. For me, this belief finds its way into every part of my practice, from painting and writing to creating a strong connection to my community.

I believe art objects are imbued with the intention and Spiritual power of the maker. Each individually dyed and painted piece of fabric in my work comes from an archive that stretches back years. Creating these fabric pieces is a meditative process at the very foundation of both my Creative and Spiritual practice.

The works I’ve created for Take me to the Water are unique in that they are so deeply rooted in my personal stories of my experiences with water. I am very influenced by the elemental forces of nature, but I am especially moved by the Ocean every time I have the chance to see it. Ultimately, these works are about my experiences of the ocean as a place for healing and transformation.

Her Reflection in the Moonlight, 2022, 60 x 48 in. Mixed-media on canvas
Your Eyes are the Night Sky, 2022, 36 x 36 in. Mixed-media on canvas
Teach Me to Dance, 2022. 36 x 36 in. Mixed-media on canvas
Lagoon, 2022, 48 x 36 in. Mixed-media on canvas

Take Me to the Water will be on view through October 11, 2022, at Morton’s Washington, D.C. space.

Check out our coverage of other current and recent art exhibitions

All images courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist

KESHA BRUCE | The Truth in This Art Podcast

22 Sep

The Truth In This Art – A Baltimore Podcast « »Artist Kesha Bruce

a day ago 39:06 

 

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Kesha Bruce, Born and raised in Iowa, she completed a BFA from the University of Iowa before earning an MFA in painting from Hunter College in New York City. Kesha Bruce has been awarded fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), The Vermont Studio Center, The CAMAC Foundation and the Puffin Foundation. Her work is included in the collections of The Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture (14 pieces), The Amistad Center for Art and Culture, The University of Iowa Women’s Center, The En Foco Photography Collection and MOMA’s Franklin Furnace Artist Book Collection. She has been represented by Morton Fine Art since 2011.

Morton Fine Art is pleased to announce Take Me to the Water, a solo exhibition of mixed-media paintings by artist Kesha Bruce. An intuitive combination of painting, collage and textile art, Bruce’s work represents the culmination of a holistic creative practice developed by the artist over several decades. Her eighth exhibition with the gallery, Take Me to the Water will be on view from September 17 to October 11, 2022 at Morton’s Washington, D.C. space.

The wall works of Kesha Bruce are less discrete executions of a concerted vision than the steady accumulation of a long creative process. Referred to by the artist simply as paintings, these mixed-media compositions are in fact patchworks of painted fabric, individually selected from Bruce’s vast archive and pasted directly onto the canvas in a textile collage that can sometimes resemble a quilt. The result of a slow and perpetual artistic method, each work represents hours of treatment, selection and juxtaposition until the whole becomes manifestly greater than its parts. Bruce’s process ends with her titling of each work: a poetic articulation of what the work is at this point capable of expressing for itself.

Much like water, the routine behind Bruce’s artmaking is cyclical and in service to a greater equilibrium – a pointed contrast to many of the epitomic works that make up much of the traditional art histories of the past several centuries, and which tend to aggressively emphasize rupture, madness and unsustainability as the most fruitful mothers of invention. Bruce’s process is distinctly different, and points to more a promising alternative for artmaking, in which creativity and lived experience are inseparably intertwined. For Bruce, this means that art can be not only a form of self-care but an act of self-discovery. Noting that her color palette has become markedly warmer since she moved to Arizona (where she currently serves as the Director of Artist’s Programs for the state’s Commission on the Arts), the artist delineates her method as a form of strategic openness – making room and taking time to allow the materials to guide her toward their final form, rather than the other way around.

The show’s title, Take Me to the Water, alludes to a 1969 rendition of the traditional gospel song by Nina Simone at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Bruce locates something transcendent in the recording of Simone’s performance that encapsulates what any form of artmaking, at its best, can be: a conversation between oneself and the divine. Deftly aware of the elemental power of water as a force that follows its own paths and forms its own shapes, Bruce identifies her artistic process closely with this element, and notes how the transcendental effects which result from it can be as overwhelming and rhythmic as the ocean waves of Big Sur.

As an exhibiting artist for over 25 years, Bruce has steadily oriented her craft toward capturing and encouraging the process of artmaking as an end in its own right – a way both of making something new and taking stock of oneself. As an administrator who oversees the creative programming for the entire state of Arizona, Bruce is intuitively attuned to the reciprocal relationship between transcendent acts of self-expression and the quotidian struggle to survive. In this role, she is a mentor and advocate for hundreds of other artists; the example she sets in her own artistic practice, with its emphasis on personal growth over commercial capitulation, thus becomes a form of potent political praxis.

The Truth In This Art

The Truth In This Art is a podcast interview series supporting vibrancy and development of Baltimore & beyond’s arts and culture.

Mentioned in this episode:

Kesha Bruce
Come see Kesha Bruce’s 8th exhibition with Morton Fine Art starting Sept. 17

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Available Artwork by KESHA BRUCE.