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SHOW US YOUR WALL – The New York Times feature on the art collection of Tony Gyepi-Garbrah and Desirée Venn Frederic including VICTOR EKPUK

1 Aug

THE NEW YORK TIMES

 

SHOW US YOUR WALL

Collecting to Explore ‘Origin, Culture, Form, Function and Race’

This Washington couple has floor-to-ceiling art as well as wearable creations and folk art curiosities.

Tony Gyepi-Garbrah and Desirée Venn Frederic at their residence in Washington.
Credit Ting Shen for The New York Times

By 

WASHINGTON — Desirée Venn Frederic and Tony Gyepi-Garbrah live in a light-filled apartment in the Trinidad neighborhood of Northeast Washington that is small in size but grand in scope.

The charcoal walls, stretching up to 15-foot ceilings, hold dozens of paintings, prints, photographs, 100-year-old textiles, collages, drawings, pastels, ceramics and antiques, conferring a museumlike aura on the home.

Ms. Venn Frederic is wearing art as well. Her floor-length slip dress, by the Brooklyn-based designer Fe Noel and the Chicago painter Harmonia Rosales, incorporates the image of a Yoruba deity, Oshun. Ms. Venn Frederic said the appeal of the dress was in its “fanciful and disruptive” character.

When the couple met four years ago, they were acquiring art individually. “One of the reasons I took an interest in Tony was because he understood legacy-building with art,” she said. She and Mr. Gyepi-Garbrah, 39, plan to marry later this year.

He is a first-generation American born to Ghanaian parents who works as an information technology engineer. He is also a photographer and painter.

She is of Geechee and Maroon ancestry. She was born in Freetown, Sierra Leone, and raised in Montgomery County, Md. Through her company, Combing Cotton, she pursues her interest in social equity.

“God Head” (2011), top, and “Untitled (Red and Black)” (2010), by Victor Ekpuk.
Credit Ting Shen for The New York Times

She also envisions creating a museum of fashion and related ephemera.

These are edited excerpts from the conversation.

TONY GYEPI-GARBRAH In true salon style, 75 art aficionados, collectors and artists stood shoulder-to-shoulder talking art, art, art.

How do you select works to buy?

DESIRÉE VENN FREDERIC Meticulously. I don’t merely collect what I like. I’m attracted to works that challenge the linear understandings of origin, culture, form, function and race. I call these aesthetic triggers.

GYEPI-GARBRAH We buy from galleries, art fairs and auctions. We also scour estate sales and private vintage collections. Often we buy directly from the studios of artists with whom we build friendships. I do a lot of research before acquisitions.

Is there a piece with an interesting back story?

GYEPI-GARBRAH The two mixed-media works by Victor Ekpuk. I went oversees to Galerie SANAA in Utrecht, the Netherlands, to acquire “God Head.” During that time I discovered that Ekpuk was represented by Morton Fine Art [in Washington]. They had “Untitled (Red and Black),” so I bought it too. Now the pair is in conversation. Ekpuk lives in Washington and we’ve become friends.

Figurative wood sculptures, made in Ivory Coast.

Credit Ting Shen for The New York Times

Top, “Chocolate City” (2010), by Steven M. Cummings, and “Inventions & Patents” (2014), by Charles Philippe Jean Pierre.

Credit Ting Shen for The New York Times

Those little wood statues lined up against the wall on the floor look like toys.

VENN FREDERIC They’re Colon figurative sculptures depicting occupations — policeman, doctor, baker — held by colonists in the Ivory Coast between 1893 and 1920. I have a collection of 150.

Your photos capture images that span decades and can be read as a history of our times. How do you think photography represents both society today and in the past?

GYEPI-GARBRAH Photography is a visual documentation of fleeting moments and changing landscapes, and, in this vein, we believe Steven M. Cummings is a master. “Chocolate City” speaks to forced migrations and the displacement of African-Americans from their native lands.

“Fred Meets Fred” is an oversized black-and-white double image of Frederick Douglass that contrasts past and present. A chain dangling lengthwise from top to bottom of the picture separates the two Douglasses. The bicycle wheel symbolizes change and continuance of time.

A sofa in the apartment by Sharla Hammond.
Credit Ting Shen for The New York Times

VENN FREDERIC We acquired the couch from the visual and textile artist Sharla Hammond, who was inspired by “Afro Blue” [a jazz composition recorded by John Coltrane]. The fabric depicts the heads of five Afro-clad icons — Angela Davis, Betty Davis, Pam Grier, Minnie Riperton and Diana Ross.

Above the couch that black-and-white painting seems very in-your-face.

VENN FREDERIC It’s “Cow in the Field” by Andrew Cressman. We operated a gallery in Washington and exhibited his works. I continually approached this painting with a sense of wonder and bought it after the show [in 2015]. It takes up a lot of our wall real estate. I appreciate that some pieces overwhelm, and this is one.

Read the New York Times article in full.

 

Available artwork by VICTOR EKPUK. 

 

Morton Fine Art

52 O St NW #302

Washington, DC 20001

(202) 628-2787

http://www.mortonfineart.com

mortonfineart@gmail.com

Washington Post In the Galleries: JULIA MAE BANCROFT ‘Through Glass Lace’

25 May
Violet'sWindow_web

‘Violet’s Window’, 2018, ink, gouache, pencil and oil pastel on paper, 20″x 20″

Julia Mae Bancroft

There are fewer photo transfers in Julia Mae Bancroft’s “Through Glass Lace” than in her previous Morton Fine Art show, but the weight of old photographs remains heavy. The D.C. artist’s mixed-media pictures are almost all in black and shades of gray, with just occasional touches of pale pink or green. Bancroft conjures the past as drained of color but crowded with memories.

Texture is as crucial as image to Bancroft’s style. The pictures incorporate pulp, fiber, papier-mache and hand-stitched embroidery, and they are on sheets of paper mounted to stand slightly away from their backdrops. The layers represent what the artist’s statement terms “a glass lace screen” while “piecing together a fragmented narrative.”

That narrative doesn’t seem to be autobiographical. Some of the photo imagery is older than Bancroft, evoking the 1960s and much earlier times. The same is true of the artist’s technique, notably the needlework. The reminders of traditional women’s crafts ground Bancroft’s ghostly reveries in real-world labor.

~ Mark Jenkins, 2019

Julia Mae Bancroft: Through Glass Lace Through May 22 at Morton Fine Art, 52 O St. NW, No. 302.

ThinkingofFalling_web

‘Thinking of Falling’, 2019, ink, gouache and collage on paper, 22″x 11.5″

Remaining available artworks by JULIA MAE BANCROFT can be viewed here on our website and are also accessible for viewing in person at Morton Fine Art.

Morton Fine Art

52 O Street NW #302, Washington DC 20001

Hours: Wednesday – Saturday : Noon – 5pm

Sunday – Tuesday : by appointment

ANDREI PETROV’s painting featured in Showtime’s “Billions”

25 Apr

 

Billions is an American television drama series created by Brian Koppelman, David Levien and Andrew Ross Sorkin, starring Paul Giamatti and Damian Lewis that premiered on Showtime.  It launched its fourth season in March 2019.

 

About ANDREI PETROV

Based in New York City ANDREI PETROV explores memory in his organic abstract paintings. His paintings probe the distortion, incompleteness and rare moments of clarity in the shadows of memory. Each piece portrays the intrinsic struggle and selective inclusion or exclusion of details in the process of recollection. At times, sharpness occurs in the rear of the picture plane while the out of focus, obscured areas, exist in a larger scale toward the foreground and make reference to the inscrutable nature of long and short term memory.

Petrov’s paintings have been exhibited nationally and internationally in prestigious collections and can be viewed at The Four Seasons Hotel in both Washington, DC and Punta Mita, Mexico, The Fairmont Hotel in Chicago and The Conrad Hotel, Miami. His paintings have also had cameos in the following films, The Royal Tenenbaums, Autumn in New York, Kate and Leopold, The Business of Strangers and Words and Lyrics. He is the featured visual artist 2016 for Music@Menlo. He is represented by Morton Fine Art in Washington, D.C.

Available artwork by ANDREI PETROV

Morton Fine Art Relocating to NoMA District in Washington, DC

12 Oct

After nearly 9 years on Florida Ave, Morton Fine Art will be relocating the gallery to 52 O Street NW, Washington, DC, 20001 in November 2018. The building at 52 O Street NW was built in 1914 in what was then a remote, industrial part of town. It was designed by architect Clement Didden who previously assisted Richard Morris Hunt in the design of landmarks including the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Before becoming an arts-dedicated space in 1978, 52 O Street NW housed a meat-packing company, a plumbing company, a Hecht’s furniture factory and Decca Records. NoMA is a vibrant, growing neighborhood nestled next to Capitol Hill, Shaw, Mt. Vernon Triangle and H Street NE corridor in Washington, DC. It also has ample street parking, easy metro access, and close proximity to Union Station.

We look forward to continuing our active solo and group exhibition programming in our new location and also to participating in projects locally and nationally to promote Morton Fine Art’s artists in new markets. Upcoming out-of-gallery, outreach projects include Prizm Art Fair in Miami from Dec 3-9, 2018 where we will showcase the artwork of select MFA artists to a national and international collector audience; an MFA curated group exhibition of gallery artists honoring Black History and Women’s History months at Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, VA mid-Feb through the end of March 2019; and two month long “pop-up” exhibitions at Gallery B in Bethesda, MD in March and April 2019.

 

New Location:

Morton Fine Art

52 O Street NW #302

Washington, DC 20001

 

New Hours:

Wednesday – Saturday: 12pm-5pm

Sunday – Tuesday: By appointment

 

Map of 2 mile route down Florida Ave NW from our Adams Morgan location to new NoMA location – SO EASY!

Morton Fine Art

OSI AUDU : DIALOGUES WITH AFRICAN ART, Woodstock NY

26 Sep
SelfPortraitwithEgungunHairstyle_web

OSI AUDU, Self-Portrait with Egungun Hairstyle, 2018. Graphite and pastel on paper mounted on canvas, 22 x 31 inches

 

OSI AUDU: DIALOGUES WITH AFRICAN ART at the Kleinert/James Center for the Arts, Woodstock NY

Solo exhibition opens Friday October 19th and is open through Sunday, December 2.  The gallery is open Thursday-Sunday: 12:00 – 6:00 pm or by appointment.

Mr. Audu, who lives in Hurley, New York, will give an artist’s talk on Saturday, October 20, at 3:00pm and the public opening reception for the show follows at 4:00 on Saturday.
OSI AUDU: DIALOGUES WITH AFRICAN ART examines issues of identity rooted in the artist’s cultural experiences growing up in Nigeria, as well as broader metaphysical and social concepts of the self. Audu’s paintings, some of them very large in scale, are influenced by the abstract geometric possibilities in traditional African sculpture; thus the exhibition also includes examples of original nineteenth- and twentieth-century African sculpture that the artist uses as inspiration for his work. Describing the works in the show, Audu writes: “I am interested in the dualism of form and void, and the metaphysical relation between the tangible and intangible, something and nothing, light and dark, body and mind, the dual nature of being—the self in portraits.” The title “self-portrait” that Audu uses in his work is about the portrait of the intangible self, rather than a literal portrait of the artist.

Osi Audu is a Nigerian-American artist whose work has been shown in numerous international exhibitions including the Kwangju Biennale, Venice Biennale, the AfricaAfrica exhibition at the Tobu Museum, Japan, and the Museum of the Mind at the British Museum. His work has also been exhibited at and collected by public institutions including the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art in Washington DC, The Newark Museum in Newark, New Jersey, the British Museum, Horniman Museum, and Wellcome Trust Gallery, all in London, the Hood Museum at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, and the Mott-Warsh Collection in Flint, Michigan. His work has also been acquired for corporate collections including by Sony Classical New York, the Fidelity Investment Corporation in Boston, Massachusetts, and the Schmidt Bank in Germany.

SelfPortraitAgbogoMmwoMask_web

OSI AUDU, Self-Portrait, after Agbogo Mmwo Mask, 2017. Acrylic on canvas, 48 x 58 inches

Audu curated an international exhibition of contemporary African art which opened at the N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art in Detroit in September 2017, then traveled to the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at the State University of New York, New Paltz, and the August Wilson Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 2018.

He is a current recipient of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant.

The exhibition is curated by Sylvia Leonard Wolf, who is the chair of the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild’s Exhibition Committee. A full color catalogue accompanies the exhibition. Below is an excerpt from an essay in the catalogue:

Audu is, in effect, reclaiming abstraction…Through the language of abstraction, Audu seeks to create a container or a frame for the intangible that is the self. In choosing to dialogue with works of African art that are themselves symbolic representations of concepts, he situates his geometric abstraction firmly within African ontologies. And in doing so, he also makes tangible the intangible, or perhaps hidden, presence of African sculpture within the legacy of Western modernism.

— Christa Clarke, Ph.D. (Senior Curator, Arts of Global Africa, Newark Museum; Board President, Association of Art Museum Curators (AAMC) and AAMC Foundation)

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For additional information about artist OSI AUDU please contact Morton Fine Art at mortonfineart@gmail.com -or- (202) 628-2787.  Follow the highlighted link to view all available artwork by OSI AUDU on our website www.mortonfineart.com.

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All 2018 Byrdcliffe arts programming is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

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Morton Fine Art highlighted in Delta Sky Magazine

10 Sep

Morton Fine Art highlighted in September 2018 Delta Sky Magazine! “Historic Adams Morgan – one of the city’s quirkiest neighborhoods – is filled with new energy.” Visit Morton Fine Art’s website or our gallery on Artsy to view our full available inventory of artworks by substantive and top tier, national and international contemporary artists!

 

 

Morton Fine Art and NATE LEWIS featured in Fairmont Magazine

21 Jun

 

Undiscovered D. C.

A collection of hidden gems in the US capital

 

Head Underground

Blink and you’ll miss some of the coolest art spaces in town. Leave the crowds at the new David Adjaye-designed National Museum of African American History and Culture and head to Morton Fine Art for under-the-radar African American artists like self-taught local, Nate Lewis. Or descend 20 feet to Dupont Circle station. Built in 1949, it was discontinued after streetcars went out of style, then reopened in 2016 as Dupont Underground. The 15,000 square-foot space is now a hub for alternative arts and culture and hosts talks by Pulitzer-prize-winning photojournalists and New York Times columnists. -EVE THOMAS