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ROSEMARY FEIT COVEY | The Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center | If Not Now? exhibition

6 Oct

Portsmouth, VA The Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center is pleased to present If Not Now? an exhibition that features artwork by eight artists whose work draws attention to destructive environmental impacts dating to the beginning of the industrial revolution.

The work poses the questions: What can be done now; when might the next impact occur and who will take these challenges on? Many artists have collaborated with scientists and environmentalists to seek solutions. Others create work that provides a visual realization of how pollution impacts the air we breathe, the water we drink, the oceans and earth that we harvest, and the land that we live on. Artists are: Kim Abeles (California) a multi-media artist and early pioneer in the environmental art movement who utilizes smog as a printmaking medium; Jean Benvenuto (Portsmouth) focused the subject of her paintings on holding ponds created to contain and clean rainwater from road run-off; Rosemary Feit Covey (Virginia) printmaker and painter use print media to present the intricate web of interconnected root systems; Barbara Hennig-Loomis (Virginia) painter and silver-point artist-focused large-scale drawings on ghost forests, a result of rising sea-levels. Printmaker and book artist Nicole Pietrantoni (Washington State) creates large-scale installations of books that share the impact of melting glaciers.

Rosemary Feit Covey viewing her mixed media and experimental printmaking on canvas, Photo credit- Graham Scott

Multi-media artist and photographer Pam Ponce (Virginia) records the impact that drought had on the Great Dismal Swamp and rising sea levels around Virginia’s barrier islands. John Sabraw, of Ohio, incorporates scientific research into his artwork creating paint from iron oxides that are a remnant of acid run-off from former mining sites, including around the Chesapeake Bay. And, Millicent Young of New York is a sculptor whose work utilizes horsehair that speaks toward the fragility of life itself.

On Saturday, August 13, from 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., PACC will offer free programming to coincide with this exhibit. Mr. John Sabraw, an environmental activist and artist, will be conducting a demonstration and illustrated presentation, Anthropotography: Mapping the Impact of Art in the gallery. His works have been in TED, the Smithsonian, New Science, Great Big Stories, Business Insider, and Time. For details visit https://portsmouthartcenter.com/programs.

The exhibition will be on view through Sunday, October 16th, 2022.

Rosemary Feit Covey’s Broken Earth, 48″x60″, mixed media and experimental printmaking on canvas

About the Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center

The Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center (PACC), is housed in the historic 1846 Courthouse and is devoted to offering quality educational, cultural, and aesthetic experiences through rotating visual art and cultural exhibits, lectures, classes, and performances. It is located at 400 High Street in Portsmouth, VA. Museum Hours: Wednesday – Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., Sunday: 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. First Friday of each month: 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Admission: $3/adults, $2/ages 2 – 17 years; Under 2: Free; Members: Free; AAA, military and senior discounts available. www.portsmouthartcenter.com

Available Artwork by ROSEMARY FEIT COVEY

NATALIE CHEUNG | MADE OF LIGHT | Alternative Process Photography

5 Oct
Natalie Cheung, Intermediaries : 57 Hours, 2022, 42″x80″, cyanotype on paper

Morton Fine Art is pleased to announce Made of Light, a solo exhibition of alternative process photography and sculpture by the artist Natalie Cheung. Utilizing time, gesture and much technical expertise, the artist captures lived experience directly onto the surface of her photosensitive paper and microplastic sculptures. Cheung’s second solo exhibition with the gallery, Made of Light will be on view from October 15 to November 12, 2022.

A formally-trained photographer, D.C.-based artist Natalie Cheung no longer owns a camera. Having studied film photography during the advent of the medium’s “digital revolution,” Cheung’s education was heavily centered on the influences of light, duration and the chemistry of making a photographic print. As traditional photography began to increasingly rely on the pixel, Cheung continued to explore these elements in the darkroom without the aid of film images. What resulted was a microhistory of artistic development, her dive into abstraction mirroring the revolt against mimesis undertaken by painters in the late 19th century – ironically, in response to photography’s initial ascent at that time.


 

Natalie Cheung, Facsimile : Untitled 4, 2021, 42″x84″, silver gelatin chemigram on photo paper

Appropriately, then, Cheung’s experimental photography takes on a playful relationship with art history itself. In the artist’s “Facsimile” series, Cheung intuitively plays with light, chemical emulsion and photographic paper to create colors and shapes that pay homage to art history’s previous regimes. From the nautical wash of a Turner landscape to the relaxed staining of Helen Frankenthaler’s abstractions, Cheung’s free-associative style inclusively riffs on prior forms, indebted to her realization that no shape or configuration can ever be truly original. The humility of homage in Cheung’s work is balanced in turn by her technical mastery; her developmental ingenuity is so acute that she is able to translate impulse, memory and reference onto photosensitive paper with the subtlest of gestures. 


With this process itself having become second nature, Cheung’s predilections as an artist and preoccupations as a citizen are able to make their way transparently into her work. In the artist’s “Intermediaries” series, Cheung uses slow-reacting cyanotype to create abstract works that seem to map islands, river deltas or erosion itself. In a process that can take up to several days, the artist allows her chemistry to evaporate naturally, in a manner indicative of the slow creep of time and loss of water that defines humanity’s relationship with climate catastrophe. Taking up the same process as was historically used to make blueprints, Cheung’s Intermediary works are like designs for a future of ceded control, capturing the chaos of durations we are not accustomed to monitoring. Concern for the climate also comes out in the artist’s “Reclaim” sculptures – topographic models of islands constructed from nylon flocking, a non-recyclable form of compressed microplastic. Inspired by man-made landmasses such as Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah or even the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, Cheung’s works hang in lucite display cases like real estate offerings: a scathing reminder that no man is an island. 

Natalie Cheung, Reclaim : Model Islands (series of 6), 2021, 16″x16″/each, micro nylon fiber, paper, paint & plaster


Born in Virginia to a first-generation Chinese family, a formative artistic influence for Cheung was her mother’s practice of intricate chuāng huā papercuts, made on sheets of printer paper in honor of the Lunar New Year. Incorporating another form of alternative process photography, Cheung’s “Rock. Paper. Scissors.” series places these designs against a darkroom projector, blowing them up to monumental reliefs captured on photographic sheets. The resulting works carry the grandiosity and simplicity of Barnett Newman’s abstractions, though they are weighted with the significance of Cheung’s history and heritage. Open to the element of chance as she lets light slip in between the slivers of these shapes, such works are a synthesis of the artist’s great themes: balancing inevitability and accident in a delicate dance. 

Artist Natalie Cheung with her Rock Paper Scissors Series


Natalie Cheung (b. Falls Church, Virginia) received her MFA in Photography from Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia and her BFA in Photography from the Corcoran College of Art + Design in Washington, DC. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally; she has been profiled in Washington Spaces Magazine and has had work represented in numerous collections including the Museum of Fine Art, Houston and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. Cheung currently teaches at the George Washington University and has previously taught at the Corcoran College of Art + Design and Temple University, Tyler School of Art. She has been represented by Morton Fine Art since 2014.

Available Artwork by NATALIE CHEUNG

On view by appointment at Morton Fine Art, 52 O St NW #302, Washington, DC 20001

info@mortonfineart.com, http://www.mortonfineart.com, (202) 628-2787 (call or text)

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 | Take Me to the Water | Martin Cid Magazine

25 Sep
Kesha Bruce
Kesha Bruce Gifts for Mami Wata, 2022 40 x 30 in. Mixed-media Textile Collage on canvas Courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist

ART

New Mixed-media Paintings by Kesha Bruce at Morton Fine Art Represent a Crossroads Between Poetry and Praxis

THE FRUITION OF A LONG AND INTUITIVE PROCESS, BRUCE’S WORKS SUGGEST A CONSTELLATION OF SIGNSGREATER THAN THE SUM OF THEIR PARTS.

BY ART MARTIN CID MAGAZINE

SEPTEMBER 9, 2022

Washington, D.C. – 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 from September 17 to October 11, 2022 at Morton’s Washington, D.C. space (52 O St NW #302).

Kesha Bruce
Kesha Bruce Waves Singing for the Moon, 2022 40 x 30 in. Mixed-media Textile Collage on canvas Courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist

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.

Kesha Bruce
Kesha Bruce She was Born to Water, 2022 60 x 48 in. Mixed-media Textile Collage on canvas Courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist

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.

Kesha Bruce
Kesha Bruce Memory of Matala, 2022 60 x 48 in. Mixed-media Textile Collage on canvas Courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist

Kesha Bruce (b. 1975, Iowa). Born and raised in Iowa, Bruce completed a BFA from the University of Iowa before earning an MFA in painting from Hunter College in New York City. 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.

In addition to her studio practice, Bruce has been the Artist Programs Manager at the Arizona Commission on the Arts since 2019. She also serves as the Board Chair of Tessera Art Collective, a non-profit organization that supports and elevates the work and practices of BIPOC women artists working in abstraction. Bruce is also co-founder of Blac k Girl Basel – the only event during Miami Art Week intentionally created for Black women artists, creatives, entrepreneurs, activists and cultural change-makers.

Kesha Bruce
Kesha Bruce Gorée Kept Her Secrets, 2022 60 x 48 in. Mixed-media Textile Collage on canvas Courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist

Morton Fine Art

Founded in 2010 in Washington D.C. 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.

52 O St NW #302, Washington, DC 20001, United States

Morton Fine Art | Washington City Paper

24 Sep

POSTED IN ARTS

The Little Art Galleries That Could and Do

Check out these art exhibitions off the beaten path.

by STEPHANIE RUDIG

SEPTEMBER 22ND, 2022

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There’s no shortage of blockbusters coming to D.C.’s museums and galleries this fall. The Air and Space Museum will reopen on Oct. 14 following an extended construction project. The Rubell Museum DC will have its hotly anticipated opening on Oct. 29, creating a new venue for contemporary art in the city. And selfie snappers are sure to assemble for the last few months of One With Eternity: Yayoi Kusama in the Hirshhorn Collection and Mexican Geniuses, a new immersive experience featuring the work of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. These outings are fun and all, but some of the most interesting and unexpected art can be found away from the crowds and tucked into some of D.C.’s coziest spaces.

One of the tiniest of these is Transformer, a gallery whose emphasis on emerging and experimental artists has made it one of the most exciting places in the city for artistic exhibitions and events. In June, Transformer celebrated its 20th anniversary, and it will continue to have special events through the end of the year. Starting Sept. 17, the gallery will open its 19th Annual DC Artist Solo Exhibition, which features Commemorative Strands by Artise Fletcher this season. The D.C.-born and based artist has created textiles, films, and photographs around the topic of Black women’s hair. Many of the works feature hair as a material or storytelling device. In addition to the show, a series of programming invites audience members to consider wider cultural meanings and personal feelings around hair and beauty. Events include a panel and discussion as well as a hands-on activity to make your own commemorative cloth.

The spaces at 52 O Street Studios aren’t just used as studios—Amy Morton has hosted her contemporary art gallery Morton Fine Art there for the past four years. Without a street-level entry, the gallery is open by appointment only, which is great for gallery-goers who want to linger over the work uninterrupted, or interested buyers who want to spend some time with an artist’s work. MFA represents a wide variety of artists from around the world, as well as a good slice who work in the D.C. area. This fall, MFA has two exhibits that capture the best of these worlds. Take Me to the Water features mixed-media works by Kesha Bruce, an artist and activist whose bright works explore artmaking as a form of slowness and self care. Following that, Natalie Cheung’s exhibit Made of Light opens, showcasing her experiments with camera-less photography using light sensitive paper, movement, and stencil techniques.

Entertaining and dinner parties are extremely in style, and perhaps no dinner party will be more stylish than an exhibit of tablescapes at Friends Artspace in Arlington. Mise En Place continues the gallery’s habit of showing functional art and design objects as well as fine art in the garage that curator Margaret Bakke has converted into a miniature gallery. A large table fills most of the space, and all sorts of tableware covers every available centimeter of the surface. There’s place settings of course, but also goblets, candlesticks, mugs, sugar bowls, tureens, pitchers, vases, butter dishes, floral arrangements, chandeliers, and more. The exhibition’s announcement proclaims, “people come and go but glassware is basically forever.” Local artists and designers including Hadiya WilliamsCatherine Satterlee, and Dannia Hakki are among those who get a seat at this table.

Commemorative Strands runs through Oct. 22 at Transformer, 1404 P St. NW. transformerdc.org. Free. Take Me to the Water runs through Oct. 11 at Morton Fine Art, 52 O St. NW. mortonfineart.com. Free, by appointment.  Made of Light runs Oct. 15 through Nov. 12 at Morton Fine Art, 52 O St. NW. mortonfineart.com. Free, by appointment. Mise En Place runs through Dec. 10 at Friends Artspace, 2400 North Edgewood St. Arlington. friendsartspace.com. Free, by appointment

Available Artwork by KESHA BRUCE

Available Artwork by NATALIE CHEUNG

KESHA BRUCE | Take Me to the Water in See Great Art

20 Sep

ART IN THE NORTHEAST

Kesha Bruce paintings at Morton Fine Art in Washington, D.C.

BY CHADD SCOTT POSTED ON 0 COMMENTS

Kesha Bruce, Kesha Bruce Waves Singing for the Moon, 2022 40 x 30 in. Mixed-media Textile Collage on canvas Courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist.
Kesha Bruce, Kesha Bruce Waves Singing for the Moon, 2022 40 x 30 in. Mixed-media Textile Collage on canvas Courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist.

Morton Fine Art presents “Take Me to the Water,” a solo exhibition of mixed-media paintings by Kesha Bruce. An intuitive combination of painting, collage and textile art, Kesha Bruce paintings represent 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 (52 O St NW #302).

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. Kesha 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.

https://e3343eeda4fdbe43f0a924ca968222bf.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

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, Kesha 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.

https://e3343eeda4fdbe43f0a924ca968222bf.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

About the Artist

Kesha Bruce (b. 1975, Iowa). Born and raised in Iowa, Bruce completed a BFA from the University of Iowa before earning an MFA in painting from Hunter College in New York City. 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.

Kesha Bruce is also co-founder of Black Girl Basel – the only event during Miami Art Week intentionally created for Black women artists, creatives, entrepreneurs, activists and cultural change-makers.

Kesha Bruce, Memory of Matala, 2022 60 x 48 in. Mixed-media Textile Collage on canvas Courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist.
Kesha Bruce, Memory of Matala, 2022 60 x 48 in. Mixed-media Textile Collage on canvas Courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist.

https://e3343eeda4fdbe43f0a924ca968222bf.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

Morton Fine Art

Founded in 2010 in Washington D.C. 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.

Available Artwork by KESHA BRUCE.

KESHA BRUCE | Take Me to the Water in East City Art

18 Sep
Kesha Bruce, Memory of Matala, 2022, 60″x48″, mixed media textile collage on canvas

About Take Me to the Water

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, DC 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.

About Kesha Bruce
Kesha Bruce (b. 1975, Iowa) 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.

About Morton Fine Art
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.

Gallery hours: By appointment only.

Morton Fine Art is located at 52 O St NW #302.

Available Artwork by KESHA BRUCE

ETO OTITIGBE | “Materiel Remains” reviewed in The Washington Post

25 Jun

Eto Otitigbe

Review by Mark Jenkins

June 24, 2022 at 6:00 a.m. EDT

“Dr. Nova,” by Eto Otitigbe, in the exhibit “Materiel Remains: Consider This a Blueprint, a Series of Blueprints.” (Eto Otitigbe)

At first glance, the Eto Otitigbe paintings at Morton Fine Art don’t seem to have much connection with his best known ventures, which are public sculptures. But the swirling, inky facades of the artist’s “Materiel Remains: Consider This a Blueprint, a Series of Blueprints” are inscribed with intricate designs that have an architectural quality. These half-hidden forms do suggest blueprints, albeit for purely theoretical structures.

Otitigbe, who teaches sculpture at Brooklyn College, generally paints on valchromat, a variety of colored plywood introduced about 25 years ago. The artist buries the substance’s bright hues under mostly black paint, which contrasts the lines engraved by a computer-controlled process. The cleanly cut patterns are as precise as the applied pigment is loose and smeary.

The artist is a member of the design team for the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers at the University of Virginia, and his paintings do allude indirectly to hidden African American history. But they can also be seen as embodying the hidden structures that underlie a seemingly disordered universe. Trained as an engineer at MIT and Stanford, Otitigbe imposes structure even as he indulges painterly intuition.

Eto Otitigbe: Materiel Remains: Consider This a Blueprint, a Series of Blueprints Through June 28 at Morton Fine Art, 52 O St. NW, No. 302. Open by appointment.

di Rosa Museum of Contemporary Art | ADIA MILLETT | A Force of Nature

16 Jun

JULY 23 – OCTOBER 30, 2022

adia millett: a force of nature | opening july 23

“the land at di rosa… changing like the direction of the seasonal smoke, reveals to us that with death comes new life.” -adia millett

Adia Millett: A Force of Nature presents new paintings, textiles and sculptural installations by the Oakland-based artist, created in response to di Rosa’s distinctive landscape. “The land at di Rosa,” Millett writes, “lush with soaring vultures, cracks in the decomposing earth, traces of snakeskin, and endless layers of shadows, arouse our creative minds to remember where we come from. The multitude of colors, changing like the direction of the seasonal smoke, reveals to us that with death comes new life.”

Ranging across diverse media, Millett’s practice is rooted in “taking things apart, removing, replacing, cutting, pasting, sewing and building.” Evoking “the mended shapes of an old quilt, or polygonal segments of a cathedral window,” the works suggest “the importance of renewal and rebuilding, not only through the artistic process, but also through the possibility of transformative change.” Human beings, like earthquakes, forest fires or floods, are also forces of nature.

Millett earned her BFA from UC Berkeley followed by an MFA from CalArts. Her work has been exhibited at institutions including the Studio Museum in Harlem; the Craft and Folk Museum in Los Angeles; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Atlanta; the Santa Monica Museum of Art; and the Contemporary Art Center, New Orleans.

related programs

July 23: opening reception

October 29: Artist talk

triangle
Adia Millett, Snake in the Fire, 2022.
“The countless creatures I witnessed living on the land, including a baby rattler, became mirrors. We are able to see ourselves in other living beings. As they navigate the land, so do we. I imagine the young snake using its senses to transition from the challenges of one season to another. Here the triangle-shaped painting, not only integrated the shades of red to symbolize fire, but blue, green, yellow, and gold, for the water, air, and earth. Like the snake, we move, shed, and thrive.”
a blue and white dress on a wood floor
Quilted Ancestor: Earth (unfinished)
The three Quilted Ancestors titled Sun, Moon, and Earth were created to bring the fabric to life. As a viewer, we can begin to imagine a ghost, spirit, or loved one beneath the shrouds. In turn, the titles suggest that we can then image our planet or the moon as an entity, or family member. The quilts are covered with pieces of fabric that reveal the layers and complexity of who we are.
a pair of blue and white underwear
The Collective ( 1 of 10)
The Collective is a series of ten abstract forms, slightly resembling the shape of a figure or mummy. These forms are designed to float amongst the wall, each one unique and still connected to the others. Millett does not see these as body forms, but rather an energetic trace within the body. Like all the work in this exhibition, they are emblematic of transition, elevation, and the many dimensions of who we are.
a colorful rug with a design
Grandmother is perhaps the most personal piece in this exhibition. It starts with a piece of an unfinished quilt top from Millett’s grandmother. Adia adds hand-stitching in and around it and moves outward creating a mandala of feathers, most of which were collected from the land at Di Rosa. Earth tones surround what Adia calls a “medicine wheel”. Being the great-grandchild of Indigenous and African American slave foremothers, Adia uses her art to pay homage to the woman who came before her. The vast elements of the earthwork as a connection point to her matriarchal lineage.

di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art 5200 Sonoma Hwy, Napa, CA 94559 | 707-226-5991 | Hours | Contact

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Available Artwork by ADIA MILLETT

ETO OTITIGBE | Surface Magazine | Artist Statement

13 Jun

ARTIST STATEMENT

Eto Otitigbe’s Blueprint for Excavating Unseen Histories

Seeking to bring history’s repressed narratives to light, the Philadelphia artist meticulously engraves remnants of his own public sculptures onto wood panels to create imaginative inquests for future archaeologists.

BY RYAN WADDOUPS

June 13, 2022

“Don’t You Know That Eye Can Read Your Eyes” (2022) by Eto Otitigbe. Courtesy of the artist and Morton Fine Art

Here, we ask an artist to frame the essential details behind one of their latest works.

Bio: Eto Otitigbe, 45, Brooklyn and Philadelphia (@etootitigbe)

Title of workDon’t You Know That Eye Can Read Your Eyes (2022).

Where to see it: “Materiel Remains” at Morton Fine Art Gallery (52 O St NW, #302, Washington, DC) until June 28.

Three words to describe it: Chemistry, polyvisual, medusa.

What was on your mind at the time: Rummaging through my past and trying to get out of my own way. I wanted to create an image that was about seeing through darkness.

An interesting feature that’s not immediately noticeable: Below many thin layers of acrylic paint is an engraved aluminum plate that was treated with a fluid wash of gun-blackener, which brings with it associations to industry and weaponry. There are a few areas where I removed the acrylic paint and you can see the base layer of metal along with subtle reflections of ambient color and light. The color palette is inspired by syntax highlighting color schemes that are used in software programming languages. This color scheme in particular favors green as a base color alongside other saturated colors that create a sort of electrified static against dark black computer screens. Each color is representative of a unique way that language functions while scripting computer code.

How it reflects your practice as a whole: My process starts with drawing linear patterns-abstractions, or abstract-actions, of structural elements from my previous sculptures and public art projects. Rearranging or remixing prior blueprints expands the visual language of each project and conjoins them. Using software and digital fabrication, the drawings are carved into aluminum plates. I work with artists who run machine shops allowing for detours from the computational blueprints. During the engraving process, machines are stopped, and adjusted, toolpaths are changed; resulting in improvised variations. This process creates branches of work as the concept drawing is met with formal concerns raised by the material. Sanding occurs between each layer to create a sense of visual tension between the carved lines and liquid forms. Likened to a kind of excavation, the engraved lines fluctuate between visibility and invisibility among the layers of acrylic and gun blackened.

One song that captures its essence: I keep looking at and looking into this piece. Siba Dub Plate sets the tone for this kind of introspective journey.

Available Artwork by ETO OTITIGBE