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The Nation features VICTOR EKPUK’s work on Achebe’s book covers at Smithsonian

7 Mar

Ekpuk exhibits Achebe’s book covers at Smithsonian


As part of global celebration of the 60th anniversary of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, Nigerian-American artist based in Washington, DC, Victor Ekpuk, will hold an exhibition featuring artworks used as book cover books, including TFA, in the United States.

The exhibition will hold at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art on March 15, 2018. The event will also feature a panel discussion featuring Prof Nwando Achebe – Jack and Margaret Sweet Endowed Professor of History at Michigan State University – Ekpuk and others.

Ekpuk’s art reflects his experiences as a global artist.  “The subject matter of my work deals with the human condition explained through themes that are both universal and specific: family, gender, politics, culture and Identity” says Ekpuk on his works.

His art, which began as an exploration of nsibidi “traditional” graphics and writing systems in Nigeria, has evolved to embrace a wider spectrum of meaning that is rooted in African and global contemporary art discourses.

Guided by the aesthetic philosophy nsibidi, where sign systems are used to convey ideas, Ekpuk re-imagines graphic symbols from diverse cultures to form a personal style of mark making those results in the interplay of art and writing.

Link to full article.

Click HERE to view available artwork by VICTOR EKPUK.



NATE LEWIS in Art in Embassies Exhibition/Catalog

18 Feb

We are pleased to announce that two pieces by artist NATE LEWIS have been included in an Art in Embassies exhibition in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. There is a catalog with the exhibition that features images and a write up about the work, which you can see below.

If you would like a PDF of the the introduction and Nate’s work, please contact the gallery.


ROSEMARY FEIT COVEY Featured in the James Renwick Alliance Craft Quarterly, Winter 2018!

6 Feb

Artist ROSEMARY FEIT COVEY is featured in the upcoming print and online editions of the Winter 2018 issue of the James Renwick Alliance Craft Quarterly. You can get a sneak peek below. To see available work by Rosemary, please visit our website or stop in and see us at the gallery!

Rosemary Renwick 1 web

Rosemary Renwick 2 web

Rosemary Renwick 3 web

Rosemary Renwick 4 web

American Lifestyle Magazine features artist MAYA FREELON ASANTE

17 Jan

‘Bleeding Art’ an interview with Maya Freelon Asante written by Shelley Rose featured in American Lifestyle Magazine Issue 87, 2018.


‘Visionary and artist Maya Freelon Asante discovered her preferred medium by happenstance.   While living with her grandmother during art school, she found water-damaged tissue paper in the basement and became fascinated by the bleeding of the color.  This fortuitous accident became her muse, and she has been using tissue paper to create her art ever since.’


“When I create the large tissue quilts, I always ask the community to help in the creation process.  [To me], community means, ‘I am because we are’ Ubuntu.”   ~Maya Freelon Asante


Please contact us here at the gallery by emailing for a PDF readable version of this article as well as additional information and images.  Available artwork by MAYA FREELON ASANTE can be viewed here on our website.

The Washington Post features JULIA MAE BANCROFT a review of ‘Mending Moments’

30 Dec

In the galleries: Julia Mae Bancroft stitches the past to the present

 December 28 at 4:00 PM

“Mamie’s House,” on view through Jan. 4 at Morton Fine Art. (Julia Mae Bancroft/Morton Fine Art)


It’s not only the predominantly gray palette that gives Julia Mae Bancroft’s artwork a ghostly feel. The mixed-media pictures in her Morton Fine Art show, “Mending Moments,” feature old-timey houses and interiors. Arrayed inside are women in long dresses, sometimes with faces transferred from vintage photos. The Virginia-bred D.C. artist graduated from the Corcoran College of Art and Design only a few years ago, yet seems fixed in an earlier era.

The “mending” in the show’s title refers in part to Bancroft’s use of embroidery. She stitches as well as draws and paints, working thin, white strands into compositions that sometimes also incorporate layers of paper pulp. The threads can be abstract elements or represent literal things, such as human hair. The vertical strings that cloak “Moonlit Overcast” suggest both hanging moss and the mists of time.

The effect can be spooky. The subject of “Sitting in Her Empty Chair” has a indistinct face and a clawlike hand. “Reverie,” the most 3-D piece, is built upon an iron grate with a tombstonelike shape. Bancroft, it appears, doesn’t merely ponder the past. She actively disinters it.

Julia Mae Bancroft: Mending Moments Through Jan. 4 at Morton Fine Art, 1781 Florida Ave. NW. 202-628-2787.


Available artwork by JULIA MAE BANCROFT as well as her artist bio with statement can be found by following the highlighted link to Morton Fine Art’s website. Please contact the gallery for additional details.

“Abstract Minded” Curator Soiree with OSI AUDU & LAURIE ANN FARRELL at N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art

14 Nov
N'Namdi Center Logo
Next Saturday, November 18th join us at a special reception for Abstract Minded.
 Abstract Minded Curator Talk 2-full

Abstract Minded Curator Soiree
with Osi Audu, exhibition curator &
Laurie Ann Farrell, 
curator of contemporary art at the DIA 
Date:  Saturday, November 18, 2017
Time: 2:00pm – 5:00pm
Location: Detroit, MI – The N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art, 52 E. Forest Ave.

Abstract Minded curator and artist Osi Audu and the Detroit Institute of Arts’ curator and department head of contemporary art, Laurie Ann Farrell discuss the artists, exhibition, and influence of the African Diaspora on contemporary art at this intimate afternoon event.

Refreshments will be served.

Abstract Minded: Works by Six Contemporary African Artists” showcases explorative works by Osi Audu, Nicholas Hlobo, Serge Alain Nitegeka, Odili Donald Odita, Nnenna Okore, and Elias Sime that thematically or conceptually connect to the continent of Africa by pursuing the use of abstraction as a way of engaging the broader conversation about art. The exhibition will be on display through January 6, 2018.


Osi Audu
Osi Audu is a Nigerian born artist whose work explores the intersections of scientific, cultural and philosophical ideas about the nature of consciousness. His work, which has been shown in numerous international exhibitions including the Kwangju Biennale in Korea, the Africa Africa exhibition in Japan, and the Museum of the Mind exhibition at the British Museum in London; has also been collected by a number of public institutions such as the Newark Museum in New Jersey, The National Museum of African Art in Washington DC, the British Museum, and the Horniman Museum in London. He has presented papers and talks about his work at several international conferences such as the 16th ACASA International Triennial Symposium on African Art at the Brooklyn Museum, New York; The Human Image conference at the British Museum in London, Conversations with a Continent: FIVE AFRICAN ARTISTS at Columbia University in New York; and Next Wave Nigeria: Artists Dialogue at the Newark Museum. His article –Yoruba Concept of the Mind was published in the 2nd edition of The Oxford Companion to The Mind, edited by Richard Gregory. He was a lecturer in Painting and Drawing at the University of Benin for 9 years, and the Head of Art and Design at Sir Joseph Williamson’s Mathematical School in the UK for 11 years. He received an MFA degree in Painting and Drawing from the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia.  He lives and works in New York.


Laurie Ann Farrell
Farrell came to the DIA in 2016 in from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) where she was executive director of exhibitions initiatives. She directed exhibition programming for the SCAD Museum of Art and SCAD FASH, its museum of fashion and film, as well as the university’s galleries in Atlanta, Hong Kong and Lacoste, France. Farrell is currently an art consultant for the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium Art Collection in Atlanta and curator of the first Rolls-Royce art program in North America.
Farrell has curated exhibitions of work by a diverse group of prominent contemporary artists, among them Marina Abramovic, Doug Aitken, Carrie Mae Weems, Yinka Shonibare, Alfredo Jaar, Michael Joo, Sigalit Landau, Stephen Antonakos, Cao Fei, Kader Attia and Yeondoo Jung.
Farrell was curator of contemporary art at the Museum for African Art in New York City from 1998 to 2007, where she curated the exhibitions “Personal Affects: Power and Poetics in Contemporary South African Art” and “Looking Both Ways: Art of the Contemporary African Diaspora.”
In 2006, Farrell organized American participation at Angola’s inaugural Trienal de Luanda with support and funding from the U.S. Department of State. Farrell received the Abraaj Capital Art Prize with artist Kader Attia in 2010, the ArtTable New Leadership award in 2011 and the Southeast Museum Conference 2015 Museum Leadership Award. Farrell is widely published in art journals and has lectured throughout the Americas, Africa and Europe. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in art history from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a Master of Fine Arts in art history and theory from the University of Arizona.

Osi Audu’s curatorial abstract: 

“Abstraction is as indigenous to African visual culture as it is to other parts of the world. The exploration of purely formal elements is not only readily evidenced in the rich traditions of textile designs and other decorative practices from the continent, but is also present in the stylizations of much figurative work from Africa. The six artists in this exhibition, all born and, or raised in countries in Africa, produce work thematically or conceptually connected to the continent by pursuing the use of abstraction as a way of engaging in a broader conversation about art. In our increasingly global existence of the 21st century the world is becoming less and less exotic, and is being experienced more as a sphere of commonalities of being, dreams, fears and aspirations.

Cultural ideas once thought as discrete are now being understood as archetypical, having resonances across the wider world. Aesthetic engagement with form is as important a part of the content of these artists’ works as is their symbolic, historical, socio-political, or conceptual significance.

Among the many questions raised by this exhibition, the overarching one must be the dialectical question:

what is contemporary African art?

Abstract Minded: Works by Six Contemporary African Artists is not simply about looking for the African in African art, it is also about taking a look at what some African artists are doing today in order to get a fuller sense of the current ‘state of things’ in contemporary African art.”  –

Don’t miss the Curator Soiree happening next Saturday, beginning at 2:00pm at the N’Namdi Center!

The N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art presents diverse, multi-disciplinary and engaging art experiences. It serves to promote and perpetuate the cultural legacy of African-American and African diasporic art, along with art from diverse cultures. Since its conception in 2010, the N’Namdi Center has contributed to the Detroit arts scene by presenting art exhibitions by nationally and internationally renowned artists as well as local and emerging talent.

The N’Namdi Center’s work is based on two core beliefs: that the arts can play an integral role in the revitalization of Detroit, and that a thriving creative community depends upon the participation of a diverse group of artists, organizations and individuals. The N’Namdi Center builds on these beliefs by acting as a catalyst in the development of Detroit’s creative ecosystem, with a continuing focus on African American art and community engagement through the arts.

LAUREL HAUSLER’s “No Trace of the Woman”/ FRANCES GLESSNER LEE and “The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death”

18 Oct

As many of you may recall, artist LAUREL HAUSLER created an exciting series of paintings and sculptures of felted wood in her solo exhibition “No Trace of the Woman” inspired by FRANCES GLESSNER LEE’s 1940’s dollhouse rendering of “Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death”, composite crime scene models recreated on a one-inch-to-one-foot scale. Inspired by Glessner Lee’s visionary and zealous passion for forensics in a time when women were unable to become detectives, Hausler selects needles and fiber as her medium to honor traditional notions of “women’s art” or “craft”, mirroring Glessner Lee’s own meticulous attention to detail, down to every last hand-crafted clue, of the “Nutshell Studies”.


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A Washington, DC native, LAUREL HAUSLER‘s love of literature, antiquity, unsolved mysteries and the obscure inspire the stories behind her work.  Working in a subtractive and additive process, she creates the surface of her felt sculpted paintings by layering strands of felted wool. Admired for resisting a self-conscious approach to process, Hausler reveals lines, veils and gestures on her surfaces that demonstrate her decision-making process through the work’s evolution to its finished state.
Please contact Morton Fine Art for acquisition of artwork from “No Trace of the Woman”.
Morton Fine Art, 1781 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC 20009
(202) 628-2787


Opening Friday, October 20, 2017 at the Renwick Gallery      

(Smithsonian American Art Museum)

Murder Is Her Hobby: Frances Glessner Lee and The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death


October 20, 2017 – January 28, 2018

Renwick Gallery (Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street NW)
Interior detail of red bedroom study

Red Bedroom, Frances Glessner Lee, mixed media

This rare public display explores the unexpected intersection between craft and forensic science.

Murder Is Her Hobby: Frances Glessner Lee and The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death explores the surprising intersection between craft and forensic science. It also tells the story of how a woman co-opted traditionally feminine crafts to advance the male-dominated field of police investigation and to establish herself as one of its leading voices.

Frances Glessner Lee (1878-1962) crafted her extraordinary “Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death”—exquisitely detailed miniature crime scenes—to train homicide investigators to “convict the guilty, clear the innocent, and find the truth in a nutshell.” These dollhouse-sized dioramas of true crimes, created in the first half of the 20th century and still used in forensic training today, helped to revolutionize the emerging field of homicide investigation.

Lee, the first female police captain in the U.S., is considered the “mother of forensic science” and helped to found the first-of-its kind Department of Legal Medicine at Harvard University when the field of forensics was in its infancy. At the time, there was very little training for investigators, meaning that they often overlooked or mishandled key evidence, or irrevocably tampered with crime scenes. Few had any medical training that would allow them to determine cause of death. As Lee and her colleagues at Harvard worked to change this, tools were needed to help trainees scientifically approach their search for truth. Lee was a talented artist as well as criminologist, and used the craft of miniature-making that she had learned as a young girl to solve this problem. She constructed the Nutshells beginning in the 1940s to teach investigators to properly canvass a crime scene to effectively uncover and understand evidence. The equivalent to “virtual reality” in their time, her masterfully crafted dioramas feature handmade objects to render scenes with exacting accuracy and meticulous detail.

Every element of the dioramas—from the angle of miniscule bullet holes, the placement of latches on widows, the patterns of blood splatters, and the discoloration of painstakingly painted miniature corpses—challenges trainees’ powers of observation and deduction. The Nutshells are so effective that they are still used in training seminars today at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore.

A photograph of a nutshell study of unexplained death showing a detail of a burned cabin.

Frances Glessner Lee, Burned Cabin (detail), about 1944-48. Collection of the Harvard Medical School, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, courtesy of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Baltimore, MD

Showcasing the Nutshells at the Renwick allows visitors to appreciate them as works of art and material culture in addition to understanding their importance as forensic tools, and to see Lee’s genius for telling complex stories through the expressive potential of simple materials. While the Nutshells represent composites of real and extremely challenging cases featuring homicides, suicides, and accidental deaths, Lee imagined and designed each setting herself. She was both exacting and highly creative in her pursuit of detail—knitting tiny stocking by hand with straight pins, hand-rolling tiny tobacco-filled cigarettes and burning the ends, writing tiny letters with a single-hair paintbrush, and creating working locks for windows and doors.

The exhibition also highlights the subtly subversive quality of Lee’s work, especially the way her dioramas challenge the association of femininity with domestic bliss and upend the expected uses for miniature making, sewing, an other crafts considered to be “women’s work.” Also evident is her purposeful focus on society’s “invisible victims,” whose cases she championed. Lee was devoted to the search for truth and justice for everyone, and she often featured victims such as women, the poor, and and people living on the fringes of society, whose cases might be overlooked or tainted with prejudice on the part of the investigator. She wanted trainees to recognize and overcome any unconscious biases and to treat each case with rigor, regardless of the victim.

As the Nutshells are still active training tools, the solutions to each remain secret. However, the crime scene “reports” (written by Lee to accompany each case) given to forensic trainees are presented alongside each diorama to encourage visitors to approach the Nutshells the way an investigator would.

Murder Is Her Hobby: Frances Glessner Lee and The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death is the first public display of the complete series of nineteen studies still known to exist. For the first time since 1966, 18 pieces on loan to the museum from the Harvard Medical School via the Maryland Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, will be reunited with the “lost nutshell,” on loan from the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, courtesy of the Bethlehem Heritage Society. The exhibition is organized by Nora Atkinson, The Lloyd Herman Curator of Craft.

Lee’s hyperreal constructions inspired contemporary artist and scenic designer Rick Araluce, whose immersive, large-scale installation is presented in the adjoining gallery. Rick Aracluce: The Final Stop opens concurrently with Murder Is Her Hobby: Frances Glessner Lee and The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death on October 20th.

“The Nutshells are essentially about teaching people how to see. … So much of our culture has gone digital, and that’s where craft shines, because it’s three-dimensional. You can’t really understand it from the Internet, or from a flat page; you have to investigate it fully in the round.” – Nora Atkinson

Click HERE for more info on Murder is Her Hobby : Frances Glessner Lee and The Nutshell Diaries of Unexplained Death at the Renwick Gallery