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AMBER ROBLES-GORDON’s series “Place of Breath and Birth” created in her birth country of Puerto Rico

16 Jul

 

Place of Breath and Birth

Series, Collage, 2020

Botánica del Amor, Autorreflexión y Espiritualidad, 18 x 24, 2020

Botánica del Amor, Autorreflexión y Espiritualidad, 18 x 24, 2020

Place of Breath and Birth

Solo Exhibition at Universidad del Sagrado Corazón, San Juan, Puerto Rico

Background:

As my first opportunity to exhibit in the Caribbean and to deepen my relationship with my birthplace, San Juan, Puerto Rico – la Isla del Encanto (the enchanted island) – I have titled this solo exhibition at Galleria de Arte, Universidad del Sagrado Corazón in Santurce, Puerto Rico, Place of Breath and Birth. My artwork is about my personal narrative and the intersections of womanhood, patriarchy, hybridism, and Americanism. My intention is to further contextualize my narrative and artwork within the political, socioeconomic, and environmental threads that define and are often in my opinion used to control, alienate and or mistreat Puerto Ricans in generally and Afro-Puerto Ricans in particular.

The intention of this exhibition is to empower my five-year-old self. To give her the strength to fight for herself, her language and culture. I was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico and raised in Arlington, Virginia. My first language was Spanish, yet at about five years old, I came home one day and told my mother: “I was not speaking Spanish anymore”. From then on, I responded to my Spanish/English speaking mother in English only. Later, I came to understand that I had surrendered my Spanish tongue—a critical part of my cultural identity— so that I could “fit” a version of myself that could possibly coincide with the prescribed box that others had for a brown-skinned girl such as myself.  Although in time, the name calling ceased, however, the micro-aggressions, insensitive questions, assumptions, and judgments about my brownness lingered. Throughout this life, time-after-time, I have had to choose to identify with my brownness/blackness over the other cultural ties that bind other Spanish speaking people with their culture.

My Caribbean family—with roots in Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, and Antigua— has long been impacted and splintered, by the search or pursuit of education, better income, and greener pastures. As with all achievement, there are gains and losses. The fruit includes a well-educated family with greater exposure to the world and economic and social opportunities. Yet, the primary sacrifice is our distance from the thickened knotted roots of Caribbean Black and Latino heritage and culture that living at home might have provided. – AMBER ROBLES-GORDON, 2020

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Visiting Puerto Rico:

In preparation for this exhibit, my mother and I spent two weeks in September 2019 Puerto Rico. My mother was returning to her childhood home and I was visiting for the first time as an adult. Since then, I have returned to PR to give an artist talk as part of Sagrado de Corazon’s visiting art program and to live in PR for extended period to produce the artwork for this exhibition.  Due to the impact of continuing earthquakes in Puerto Rico from 2019 unward and the COVID 19 epidemic, the format and focus of this artwork has shifted. On July 10, 2020, Place of Breath and Birth will be featured online by the Galleria de Arte, Universidad del Sagrado Corazón on its website at https://www.sagrado.edu/visitingartist/. Additionally, please check out the interview with myself and Norma Vila, Directora de la Galería de Sagrado at https://insagrado.sagrado.edu/las-recientes-iniciativas-de-la-galeria-de-sagrado/?fbclid=IwAR3omEVgPUlcm67lRRBbaliuhimPu6GK-PwK4toQS7CNH0y5IxsidHs9kUw to find out additional details about the residency and my experiences in Puerto Rico.

The Artwork:

Upon its completion, Place of Breath and Birth, will include ten (10) mix-media collages. This digital exhibit includes the first four collage works of the series. Included in this virtual exhibition are the following works: Botánica del Amor, Autorreflexión y Espiritualidad (Botany of Love, Self-reflection and Spirituality), La Island del Encanto (The Island of Enchantment), and Tendedero, Comunidad y Energía Eterna (Clothesline, Community and Eternal Energy). Each collage measures 18 X 24 inches and is made of acrylic paint, magazine paper, permanent ink line drawings, fabric, and other mixed media items.

A foundational symbology of this body of work is the Fiscus Elastica commonly known as the Rubber Tree, rubber fig or rubber plant.  I was introduced to the Rubber Tree while in Puerto Rico on the grounds of the Universidad de Sagrado de Corazón (University of the Sacred Heart) campus. Among its extensive botanical collection of indigenous plants of Puerto Rico; I found a large banyan tree whose broad canopy sheltered smaller versions of itself growing at its feet. This tree appeared to be a literal fusion of past, present and future state of creation or sustaining an ecosystem. In La Isla del Encanto (pictured below) and throughout this series are abstracted representations of the rubber tree– an entanglement of strong roots – as a example of its resiliency this tree most recently stood-fast to its native soil while 155 mph winds that battered the campus.

Isla del Encanta, 18 x 24, 2020

Isla del Encanta, 18 x 24, 2020

The second most important symbolic layer of the work are the depictions and interpretations of the transitions of day to night and night to day. I intentionally choose a studio and apartment on the third floor in Puerto Nuevo with three-dimensional exposure to light. I then surrounded myself with plants to create an internal garden a reflection of the thousands of “porch gardens” featured throughout PR neighborhoods. From this perch, I could see the changing environment as the light increased or waned and how the varying aspects of weather altered each day. Depending on where I stood, and the time of day, I had a virtual window into the varying socioeconomics aspects of diversity of the island. The combination of the verdant and vibrant nature of the island landscape, my internal garden and the third floor weather allowed for the feeling of creating an atmosphere.

As I progressed through researching, photographing, living and ultimately creating after the beginning of COVID 19 quarantine the cylinder abstracted rubber tree forms expanded to circular ecospheres to convey a spiritual and ethereal connections to and within my immediate environment. Throughout some of the artworks I am a figure, a witness to the beauty and complexity of the Puerto Rican landscape – tropical jungle, 1,000 of miles of carreteras, the co-mingling and isolation of three major ethnic/racial groups – Taino, the Spanish and Africans, the strangle hold of the United States and the impact of the Caribbean Sea, with its threat of hurricanes, scorching summer heat and lush landscape.

Ultimately, I hope this narrative and artwork gives voice to others who walk in brownness—who breathe within a female form, and or—- who do not quite fit the norms…yet are Bold and Proud. – AMBER ROBLES-GORDON, 2020

Tendedero, Comunidad y Energía Eterna, 18 x 24, 2020

Tendedero, Comunidad y Energía Eterna, 18 x 24, 2020

Elemental: Tierra, Aire, Agua, Fuego, 18 x 24, 2020

Elemental: Tierra, Aire, Agua, Fuego, 18 x 24, 2020

Morton Fine Art
52 O St NW #302
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 628-2787 (call or text)
mortonfineart@gmail.com

‘Dogtown’ A Solo Exhibition of New Artwork by LAUREL HAUSLER

26 Jun
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Artist Laurel Hausler pictured with ‘Noir Rose’, 2018, oil and gouache on canvas, 36″x 48″

‘In my mind, there are three meanings of Dogtown.

There are the “Dogtowns” scattered throughout the US, usually desolate dusty places once frequented by rogues and unlucky outcasts.

There is a Dogtown-THE Dogtown- in Cape Ann, Massachusetts. This Dogtown is a historical abandoned settlement, once populated by outsiders, widows, witches and roaming packs of dogs. Today, it is still a wild place and one that should be preserved. Situated amidst Pleistocene boulders, the area continues to be a source of lore.

This exhibition is the third and imagined Dogtown- a mythical place that combines all of the latter aspects—and their metaphysical reflections. It’s a Blair Witch Project woods, a stony, inscrutable wilderness where women and witches live as they wish with dogs for companionship and protection—a place of ritual, noir and labyrinthian mystery, symbolizing persistence in the face of life’s craggy brutality.’ 

-LAUREL HAUSLER, 2019

ABOUT the Artist 
Laurel Hausler was born in Virginia. She works to create mysterious beauty in all media, and to remember and portray that which might be lost and forgotten. The works in this show are composed of graphite, gouache and oil paint on canvas.
Her artwork is featured in book publications including Cutting Edge; New Stories of Women in Crime by Women Writers, edited by Joyce Carol Oates and Retrograde, by Kat Hausler.
DOGTOWN marks her fifth solo exhibition at Morton Fine Art in Washington, DC. and is currently on view through July 3rd! 
ABOUT Morton Fine Art
Founded by curator Amy Morton in 2010 in Washington, DC, 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 anyone can become an art collector or enthusiast, 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
52 O St NW #302
Washington, DC 20001
Wed – Sat 12pm-5pm and Sun-Tues by appointment
For further information and images, please contact Amy Morton: mortonfineart@gmail.com

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

25 May
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‘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.

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‘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

OSI AUDU : DIALOGUES WITH AFRICAN ART, Woodstock NY

26 Sep
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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.

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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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The Washington Post reviews KESHA BRUCE ‘Weapons for Spiritual Warfare’

2 Mar
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Until I Break Skin, 2018, dyed/painted fabric on un-stretched canvas, 96″x 96″

The artworks in Kesha Bruce’s “Weapons for Spiritual Warfare” are a form of ancestor worship. Each one of the tradition-rooted pieces in her Morton Fine Art show is “an answered prayer,” writes the African American artist, who divides her time between the United States and France.

Most of these collage-paintings are small and consist of four rough-edged fabric squares daubed with simple geometric forms. The X, Y, + and # shapes are elemental, but rendered loosely to give evidence of the artist’s hand, as well as offer a sense of spontaneity. The largest and most complex are “The Sky Opened for Her,” which is cross-shaped and fringed with streamers, and “Between Starshine and Clay,” whose top third consists of overlapping black squares. The former resembles a ceremonial robe, while the latter evokes a sweeping view of a village under a nighttime sky — a universe conjured from tattered scraps and unstudied gestures.

Reviewed by Mark Jenkins, March 1, 2018.

Kesha Bruce: Weapons for Spiritual Warfare Through March 7 at Morton Fine Art, 1781 Florida Ave. NW. 202-628-2787. mortonfineart.com.

Please follow the hyperlink to visit our website  for all available artworks by KESHA BRUCE, and contact us here at the gallery for additional information or acquisition details.

 

VIDEO: Artist KESHA BRUCE at Freedom House

22 Feb

Freedom House Brunch and Salon with Artist Kesha Bruce

On February 18, 2018 artist KESHA BRUCE came to Freedom House to talk about the meaning of her work. Catch her show “Weapons for Spiritual Warfare” at Morton Fine Art in Washington DC now through March 7, 2018. Visit Morton Fine Art’s website to see more of KESHA BRUCE’s work or to contact about purchases.

Weapons of Spiritual Warfare

A solos exhibition by KESHA BRUCE 

Morton Fine Art

Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 11 AM – 6 PM, Sunday 12 – 5 PM

 

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.

 

WDC City Paper Spring Arts Guide mentions MAYA FREELON & AMBER ROBLES GORDON

9 Feb

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Maya Freelon and Amber Robles Gordon

Toward the end of 2016, Maya Freelon began dealing with issues of rebirth and rebounding: the changes of various identities that happen in midlife. Recent tissue and ink mono prints reflect those transitions, with explorations of more subdued palettes, analogous and monochromatic color schemes. Identity is an issue present in Amber Robles Gordon’s work, as well. For the past year she has been constructing collages that deal with African and Puerto Rican heritage in a patriarchal American society, and pushing against the patriarchy with matrilineal mandalas. While the themes of identity will unify these two solo exhibitions at Morton Fine Art, their kaleidoscopic use of color will likely create the visual complimentary bridge. April 27 to May 15 at Morton Fine Art. Free. —John Anderson

Please follow the highlighted links for currently AVAILABLE ARTWORK by these two fantastic artists and stay tuned for the upcoming fusion of their exciting solo exhibitions here at Morton Fine Art opening April 27th, 2018.

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!

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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.

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‘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.’

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“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

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Please contact us here at the gallery by emailing mortonfineart@gmail.com 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.