STEPHON SENEGAL | “Making Space” | New Allegheny Art Gallery

8 Mar

New Allegheny Art Gallery, “Making Space” opens

Mo Mansour, Features Editor

March 4, 2022

New+Allegheny+Art+Gallery%2C+Making+Space+opens

Gallery|4 Photos

The Allegheny Art Galleries are showcasing the work of four artists in the recently opened “Making Space.” The gallery is located in the Doane Hall of Art and opened on Tuesday, March 1, and will continue to be open to the public until April 2.
“This is an exhibition that is a little bit of a departure from what we often do,” said Assistant Professor of Art History Paula Burleigh, who worked with the director of Erie Arts & Culture, Patrick Fisher, to get in touch with the artists and to get their work in the gallery. “(This gallery) was an effort to kind of recognize the really exciting work that’s being done in Erie right now by Erie Arts & Culture.” The artists featured are all alumni of the Erie Arts & Culture month-long residency program. The program is designed in partnership with the Florida based arts non-profit Long Road Projects to put contemporary artists from all over the country and the world in the Erie community and give them a month of “dedicated time and space to reflect, research, and create new bodies of work — outside of their usual environments,” according to their website. The four artists whose work is featured in “Making Space” are Gonzalo Hernandez, Sharon Norwood, Hiromi Moneyhun and Stephon Senegal, each artist coming from a different cultural background that influences the work being shown in the gallery.
Hernandez is originally from Peru and uses his familiarity with Peruvian textiles in his work. Norwood is African-American and her work centers around that experience and the folklore that surrounds that experience both historically and contemporary. Moneyhun was born in Kyoto, and despite moving to Florida in 2004, references her background in her art, with many of her illustrated work being a combination of more traditional Japanese art with the heightened contemporaneousness of modern age Japan. Senegal is focused on West Africa, taking influence from the stories and mythologies found there for his art.
“I think all the artists in the show are really thinking about the space of the gallery and trying to disrupt what Sharon Norwood calls ‘the historically white space of the gallery,’” Burleigh said.
Burleigh said that the pieces thread together throughout the gallery.
“We can think about the gallery as a white cube, you know, we are very resolutely white walls,” Burleigh said. “Historically, it’s been a kind of a racially monolithic space that was exclusionary, and I think all of these artists are really thinking explicitly about that in the way that they are making space in their work. For stories, narratives, new mythologies proliferate from a range of communities and cultures. And so, they’re all now based in the United States, but in many instances, they’re working from communities that connect to their own Heritage’s.” The next show that the Allegheny Art gallery will be hosting is the annual open student show. Unlike the other student shows that take place during the year which are tied to course work like the junior seminar or the senior comp, the annual open student show is open to all Allegheny students. Students’ major and whether they have taken an art class before are not factors, however just because a piece of art is submitted does not mean that it will be put in the gallery. After two days of “intake,” when the art is submitted, a third-party judge not affiliated with the college comes in to evaluate the works.. The student work that is not accepted into the gallery is not discarded or disregarded, but collected by the Student Art Society and is shown in the Box Gallery. There are also the two other student shows happening in the spring semester.
“Making Space” will also serve as a gathering space for a music event featuring Douglas Jurs, assistant professor of music, as well as a visiting artist on March 11. A virtual panel discussion featuring all four artists will take place Tuesday, March 15 beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Available artwork by STEPHON SENEGAL

NATHANIEL DONNETT | Backpack Exchange Project | MCLA Arts and Culture

5 Mar

Artist Brings Backpack Exchange for New Project

By

 Jillian Currier

 –

March 2, 2022

Nathaniel Donnett, current ART LAB Artist in Residence, is bringing students together with a backpack exchange. Used backpacks given to Donnett will be featured in his new art project.

MCLA Arts and Culture is welcoming Nathaniel Donnett, the current ART LAB Artist in Residence, to bring students together in a backpack exchange. Students participating in the exchange will give up their old backpacks to be used in a unique art piece done by Donnett.

“Generally, when you have a backpack, it’s usually moving along with a body and carrying some kind of information. It also has a history based on the relationship with the person who’s attached to it. That kind of history is attached to the object— the backpack,” Donnett said in an interview with The Beacon.

The backpack exchange not only involves the student’s old backpack to be used in the new 2-D piece, but it also involves a yearbook-style photo of the student as well as quick questions asked by Donnett to help access the past, present, and future regarding the student and the piece itself.

The idea behind using backpacks for these pieces stems from an older project that Donnett worked on in Houston, which involved the idea behind objects as symbols, and the symbolism that something as simple as a backpack can carry. The yearbook-style photos are taken along with the exchange of the backpacks to be used in an archival ‘yearbook’ encapsulating the project and the student’s involvement.

“I thought it would be interesting that the book wouldn’t be something that would just be for me,” Donnett explained. He went on to say that the yearbook would be a way to expand his outreach of the project through the participating students, as well as creating something that the students can look back on.

Donnett focused on backpack exchanges as well in Houston, with the idea of objects being symbols as the driving force. He explained how after once seeing a backpack hung over a fence, it made him realize just how many meanings a simple object could convey.

“This time I wanted to get more activity from the spaces where the students are from, which is why I wanted to go to the schools,” said Donnett. The project in Houston kept the backpacks in one piece, but Donnett wanted to take it further and create something that transforms the backpacks, while also leaving a piece of them behind for the students.

The finished pieces of the backpacks will be on display at Gallery 51 in downtown North Adams at the end of Donnett’s residency with ART LAB, which will open in October of 2022.
Nicholas Rigger, the program coordinator for MAC, explained that all ART LAB Artists in Residence have the opportunity for a solo show at the gallery. The yearbook documenting the students’ experiences and photos for the piece will be archived in the library as well.

As for student’s potential hesitance, Donnett explained that “it’s just something that has to be experienced.” He went on to say that every experience he’s had with a student during the exchange so far has just been fun and eye opening to see students trip up when engaged about their past.

“The idea of just reflecting on some of the questions and thinking about it in a different way is interesting, and to see all these different voices come together in a kind of object is also interesting to find where you are in the piece,” Donnett explained.

“To know that a part of you is now something more, and to gain some sort of perspective…” Rigger said, is why students should be open to this experience and interested in collaborating.

The backpack exchange is available to students in the Campus Center on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Any student that is interested that is not available during those times or wants to participate after March 1 can visit Gallery 51 or can reach out to either Nathaniel Donnett or Nicholas Rigger.

Available artwork by NATHANIEL DONNETT

ROSEMARY FEIT COVEY’s solo “Descartes Died in the Snow” in Old Town Crier

4 Mar




Arts & EntertainmentGallery Beat
“Descartes Died in the Snow” at Morton Fine Arts
March 1, 2022 By Oldtowncrier
By F. Lennox Campello
The owner and director of one of the hardest working visual fine arts galleries in the DMV, as well as a one of the planet’s happiest smiles is Amy Morton, who cut her teeth in the gallery business many years ago in Alexandria, and for the past decade plus or so has been running Morton Fine Art at 52 O Street NW #302 in the District.
And MFA, as the gallery is known, will be presenting “Descartes Died in the Snow”, a solo exhibition showcasing work by DMV artist Rosemary Feit Covey (and long-time Torpedo Factory presence in Studio 224), on view from March 3–March 31, 2022.
MFA notes that this exhibition will be “marking both the debut of new work and the reactivation of older works”, and that the exhibition “uncovers new dimensions within the artist’s vast oeuvre. Taken as a whole, this collection of work illuminates the fragility of life on our embattled planet, recognizing the catastrophic ecological losses that mark our current era while turning a hopeful eye towards altogether new horizons.”
Covey is not only a master printmaker, but I have never come across anyone who has married the technical challenges of printmaking with more sophisticated approaches and ideas than this South African ex-pat!
In fact, I think that she may just be the best printmaker on the planet!  I’ve been following the career of this master printmaker for years now… and for years I have been mesmerized by not only her technical skill, but also by her powerful and often breathtaking imagery.
Over the years I’ve also seen Covey do something that few artists do well: she keeps pushing and redefining the genre of printmaking to the point that she can no longer be categorized and labeled simply as a printmaker.
And thus I’ve managed to label her both as the best printmaker on the planet, and also not just a printmaker… see where I’m heading?
Covey’s current focus is on “environmental concerns is informed by 20 years of collaborations with scientists, during which biology, ecology, and mortality have remained steady themes of the artist’s practice. The past three decades have seen the artist rise as an established wood engraver, followed in recent years by an expansion towards mediums including experimental printmaking and mixed media. From the replication of the printmaking process to the carving of the printing block, Covey’s works attend to personal analogies of physical and emotional fortitude; through the manipulation of absence and presence, lightness and darkness, the artist evokes a darker psychological sensibility within complex figural representations.”
In the monumental piece “Black Ice”, circa 2017, and a spectacular 72×240 inches — a wood engraving, acrylic paint and plastic on canvas – Covey uses all of her full and enviable artistic skills to deliver a work of such artistic musculature that one immediately imagines it as the centerpiece in a vast white wall in an important museum which can help deliver it’s clever and stern message.
MFA also notes that while “maintaining the artist’s long standing engagement with psychologically challenging—and oftentimes troubling—subject matter, the diversification of Covey’s mediums highlights the artist’s continued innovation in the arenas of both technique and narrative.” It is a perfect description of Covey’s intelligent assembly of powerful imagery with often disturbing, sometimes sexual, and often dark subjects.
MFA says that “in a titular nod to the life and work of 17th century philosopher René Descartes, Descartes Died in the Snow reflects Covey’s own artistic philosophy, that of art-as-exploration. In admiration of Descartes’ unfettered curiosity and his resulting great lengths of inquiry, Covey draws parallels with the experimental potential of artistic practice.”
We artists can apply logic and intellectual research, then throw it all to the winds, allowing for alchemy and the unconscious to cross-pollinate with the natural sciences as we create,” Covey says.
We are also told that “moved by recent climate disaster scenarios in South Africa—the country of her birth—Covey’s most recent work responds to the fleeting nature of news cycles and the failure of journalistic channels to manifest sustained public awareness of such crucial issues. Having witnessed this subject matter quickly fall from the front pages, Covey understands her work to serve as an enduring reminder of environmental crises within a global consciousness.”
It is clear that Covey feels that artists have a certain responsibility to deal with such subjects and she affirms, “In this manner, I am committed to using my skills to portray this delicate balance as we reach a precipice.”
And it is through her refined technical talents and unerring vison that Covey’s audience is “issued solemn warnings of a speculative future, yet the possibilities for healing are never voided—viewers need only look closer to find them.”
Do not miss this show.

Available artwork by ROSEMARY FEIT COVEY
 


ROSEMARY FEIT COVEY’S solo exhibition “DESCARTES DIED IN THE SNOW” at Morton Fine Art

3 Mar

ARTIST ROSEMARY FEIT COVEY VISUALIZES LOSS AND REBIRTH IN THE AGE OF THE ANTHROPOCENE

Responsive to the rise in global climate disasters, Rosemary Feit Covey’s speculative works solemnly imagine the landscapes of the future

Morton Fine Art (52 O St NW #302, Washington, DC) is pleased to present Descartes Died in the Snow, a solo exhibition showcasing work by Washington, D.C.-based artist Rosemary Feit Covey, on view from March 3–March 31, 2022. Marking both the debut of new work and the reactivation of older works, the exhibition uncovers new dimensions within the artist’s vast oeuvre. Taken as a whole, this collection of work illuminates the fragility of life on our embattled planet, recognizing the catastrophic ecological losses that mark our current era while turning a hopeful eye towards altogether new horizons.

Covey’s current focus on environmental concerns is informed by 20 years of collaborations with scientists, during which biology, ecology, and mortality have remained steady themes of the artist’s practice. The past three decades have seen the artist rise as an established wood engraver, followed in recent years by an expansion towards mediums including experimental printmaking and mixed media. From the replication of the printmaking process to the carving of the printing block, Covey’s works attend to personal analogies of physical and emotional fortitude; through the manipulation of absence and presence, lightness and darkness, the artist evokes a darker psychological sensibility within complex figural representations.

While maintaining the artist’s long-standing engagement with psychologically challenging—and oftentimes troubling—subject matter, the diversification of Covey’s mediums highlights the artist’s continued innovation in the arenas of both technique and narrative. In a titular nod to the life and work of 17th century philosopher René Descartes, Descartes Died in the Snow reflects Covey’s own artistic philosophy, that of art-as-exploration. In admiration of Descartes’ unfettered curiosity and his resulting great lengths of inquiry, Covey draws parallels with the experimental potential of artistic practice. “We artists can apply logic and intellectual research, then throw it all to the winds, allowing for alchemy and the unconscious to cross-pollinate with the natural sciences as we create,” Covey says.

Moved by recent climate disaster scenarios in South Africa—the country of her birth—Covey’s most recent work responds to the fleeting nature of news cycles and the failure of journalistic channels to manifest sustained public awareness of such crucial issues. Having witnessed this subject matter quickly fall from the front pages, Covey understands her work to serve as an enduring reminder of environmental crises within a global consciousness. Of this profound responsibility as an artist in the present moment, Covey affirms, “In this manner, I am committed to using my skills to portray this delicate balance as we reach a precipice.”

Through delicate lines that comprise masterful compositions, Covey’s work operates at the intersections of beauty and terror, depicting melancholy aesthetics of mourning. From a mass of opalescent strokes, Covey’s Broken Earth (2020) pictures a heap of carcesses, inspired by Covey’s horror of an imagined parched earth. Elsewhere, blooms of pigment suggest oil spills, and falling petals hint at impending decay. Through a push and pull, characterized by sensorial enticement segueing into gripping existential inquiry, the artist’s foreboding imagery unmasks that which is hidden in plain sight.

While often ominous, Covey’s practice nevertheless evades nihilism; through the elevation of phenomena such as fungal networks, the artist’s work also finds its purpose in illuminating the structures which sustain the planet. Resulting from Covey’s partnerships with mycologists, Amethyst Deceivers (2019) depicts the symbiotic relationships between plant and fungal life, relationships that exude restorative potential amidst times of destruction. Through the artist’s lens, Covey’s audience is issued solemn warnings of a speculative future, yet the possibilities for healing are never voided—viewers need only look closer to find them.

Rosemary Feit Covey, Blossoms Fall II, 2022, 54″x42″, wood engraving, painting and repurposed plastic on canvas
Rosemary Feit Covey, Black Umbrella, 2021, 36″x36″, mixed media, printmaking, painting and magnets on canvas
Rosemary Feit Covey, Black Ice (8 panels), 2017, 72″x240″, wood engraving, acrylic paint, and repurposed plastic on canvas
Rosemary Feit Covey, Panspermia III, 2022, 60″x48″, wood engraving, experimental printmaking and mixed media on canvas

ABOUT ROSEMARY FEIT COVEY

Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Rosemary Feit Covey received degrees from Cornell University and the Maryland Institute College of Art, eventually relocating to Washington, D.C., where she currently lives and works. Covey has been represented by Morton Fine Art since 2010.

Covey has exhibited widely throughout the United States and abroad, including group exhibitions at the National Collection of Fine Arts and the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Solo exhibitions of her work have been staged at The Butler Institute of American Art; The Delaware Contemporary; the International Museum of Surgical Science; and the Evergreen Museum at Johns Hopkins University. Works by the artist are held in more than forty major museum and library collections worldwide, including the Corcoran Gallery of Art; New York Public Library Print Collection; National Museum of American History; Harvard University; and the Papyrus Institute in Cairo, Egypt.

Across various mediums, Covey has been commissioned by General Electric Astro Space, the National Institute of Science, Georgetown University, the New York Times, and the Washington Post, among other institutions and organizations. Covey’s literary illustrations have been commissioned and published by Simon & Schuster and William Morrow. She is the recipient of a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship and Alpha Delta Kappa Foundation National Fine Art Award, and was the 2007–2008 Artist-in-Residence at Georgetown University Medical Center.

Available artwork by ROSEMARY FEIT COVEY

AMBER ROBLES-GORDON | KATHERINE TZU-LAN MANN | Semifinalists for Janet & Walter Sondheim Art Prize

2 Mar

Janet & Walter Sondheim Art Prize

The Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts (BOPA) proudly announces the semifinalists for the 17th annual Janet & Walter Sondheim Art Prize. This year’s panel of esteemed jurors — Catherine Morris, Jean Shin, and Kambui Olujimi — have selected 13 visual artists for the semifinal round. Semifinalists will be asked to share an expanded submission including up to 30 images or time-based works and a description of how they will use the fellowship if they are selected

Three of these semifinalists will then be selected for final review for the prize and their work will be exhibited in the Walters Art Museum beginning in July 2022. This year, the prestigious prize will award $30,000 to a visual artist or visual artist collaborators living and working in the Baltimore region. BOPA will also be awarding two residencies to finalists not selected for the Sondheim Art Prize: a six-week, fully funded residency at Civitella Ranieri in the Umbria region of Italy, and a six-month residency at the Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower in Baltimore.

Civitella Ranieri (www.civitella.org) is a residency program for international writers, composers, and visual artists. Since 1995, Civitella has hosted more than 1,000 Fellows and Director’s Guests. The Center enables its Fellows to pursue their work and to exchange ideas in a unique and inspiring setting. The Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower has been transformed into studio spaces for visual and literary artists. Located at 21 S. Eutaw Street in the heart of the Bromo Arts & Entertainment District, the 15-story city landmark is the ideal location for artists to explore their practice.

The 2022 Janet & Walter Sondheim Prize Semifinalists:
Tommy Bobo – Washington, DC
Marybeth Chew – Baltimore, MD
Susan Crawford – Baltimore, MD
Andrew Gray – Baltimore, MD
Maren Henson – Baltimore, MD
Megan Koeppel – Baltimore, MD
Travis Levasseur – Baltimore, MD
Katherine Mann – Washington, DC
David Page – Baltimore, MD
Mojdeh Rezaeipour – Washington, DC
Amber Robles-Gordon – Washington, DC
Katiana Weems – Baltimore, MD
James Williams II – Baltimore, MD


The finalists’ exhibition will be on view at the Walters Art Museum, 600 N. Charles Street, beginning in July. Admission to the exhibition is free. The day the exhibiton opens, the jurors will meet with each artist for up to 30 minutes in their exhibition space for a final interview. After the interviews, the jurors will meet and decide the prize winner and the recipient of each residency. The awards will be announced later that evening at the award reception.

In the case of COVID-19 restrictions not allowing for in-person exhibitions, BOPA will utilize the online platform Kunstmatrix, with assistance from the Walters’ curatorial staff. Juror interviews will take place online, and BOPA will coordinate a virtual award ceremony. 

The 17th annual Janet & Walter Sondheim Art Prize is produced by the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts in partnership with the Walters Art Museum. Learn more about the Janet & Walter Sondheim Art Prize at www.promotionandarts.org. To see artwork samples of this year’s semifinalists, follow BOPA on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter: @promoandarts

For artists who are applying for the ARG, and to promote understanding on general elements of a contract, BOPA has engaged Maryland Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (MDVLA) to lead a virtual legal workshop training on contract law basics. The workshop, held on Saturday, March 5, from 10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m., is free to attend. Register to get the link below.

REGISTER HERE

Available artwork by AMBER ROBLES-GORDON

Available artwork by KATHERINE TZU-LAN MANN

Morton Fine Art | 52 O St Studios in Washingtonian Magazine

26 Feb

HOME & STYLE 

Inside Five DC-Area Working Art Studios

Great spots to connect with the local scene and find one-of-a-kind pieces.

WRITTEN BY MARISA M. KASHINO 

  | PUBLISHED ON FEBRUARY 23, 2022

 TWEET  SHARE

52 O Street Studios. Photograph by Jarrett Hendrix.

Though it’s not always obvious where to find them, Washington is full of working art studios. Here are a few spots where many artists create under one roof. Some have public hours; others are by appointment only. All are excellent places to support the local scene and procure one-of-a-kind pieces.

1. 52 O Street Studios

52 O St., NW

This enclave of artists in Truxton Circle has been around since the 1970s. The brick-faced former factory houses about 50 creatives, including painters, photographers, and fashion designers. The best way to get a sense of the work being made there is on Instagram—follow @52ostreetstudios. Pre-pandemic, the studios would occasionally open up for events. These days, you can make an appointment with individual artists. The building is also home to two galleries: Homme, which features local work by independent and emerging artists, including from the studios upstairs, and Morton Fine Art, a gallery that shows pieces by 25 artists around the world, including contemporary art from Africa and the African diaspora.

Pyramid Atlantic Art Center. Photograph by Stereo Vision Photography.

2. Pyramid Atlantic Art Center

4318 Gallatin St., Hyattsville

A huge concentration of artists can be found along the Route 1 corridor stretching from Mount Rainier to Hyattsville. While there are hundreds of studios and artist collectives in the aptly named Gateway Arts District, few are as publicly accessible as Pyramid Atlantic, which is open five days a week and specializes in printmaking and papermaking. Among its offerings: 17 private art studios, a gallery (where most of the art is under $1,000), community studios that can be rented by the hour, and a shop selling work by the resident artists (visits to their studios are by appointment). More info here.

Torpedo Factory. Photograph by Ja’Mon Jackson/City of Alexandria.

3. Torpedo Factory Art Center

105 N. Union St., Alexandria

The nation’s largest community of open artist studios under one roof isn’t in Brooklyn or Oakland. It’s in Old Town. More than 165 artists work in the former munitions factory on the waterfront. Before Covid, their spaces were accessible to the public much of the week. While the building is still open five days, the hours of individual artists are now understandably spottier. So if there’s particular work you want to see, best to schedule in advance. Profiles of the artists—who run the gamut of styles and mediums—are on their website.

Stable Arts. Photograph courtesy of Stable Arts.

4. Stable

336 Randolph Pl., NE

In 2019, right before the pandemic, 25 working studios plus a gallery opened in this repurposed horse stable in Eckington. Though the unfortunate timing means Stable has flown mostly under the radar, a peek inside would reveal dozens of resident artists producing collage, paintings, sculpture, and photography. The studios are closed to the public right now, but executive director Maleke Glee is planning programming in the spring and summer. He says there will be art and crafts for kids so parents can peruse artwork and chat with the artists. Join Stable’s mailing list and learn about its residents here.

5. Arlington Arts Center 

3550 Wilson Blvd., Arlington

In addition to a wide selection of classes for kids and adults, the nonprofit hosts a dozen resident artists, who work in onsite studios. The current cohort includes painters, photographers, sculptors, and mixed-media artists. You can learn about them and find their contact information on their website. They show work publicly in the facility’s Wyatt Residence Artist Gallery and, a few times a year (Covid permitting), during exhibition events. Appointments are required to visit individual studios. The center is also home to eight other galleries that show work from all over.

This article appears in the February 2022 issue of Washingtonian.

VICTOR EKPUK’s site specific installation at The Phillips Collection

21 Feb


LOCAL ARTIST VICTOR EKPUK’S GRAPHIC INSTALLATION, INSPIRED BY ANCIENT NIGERIAN SCRIPT, TRANSFORMS THE MAIN VISITOR ENTRANCE TO THE PHILLIPS COLLECTION

July 1, 2021

Photo of Victor Ekpuk standing in a large circular room covered in his artwork
Photo credit: Robin Bell

Titled State of the Union: Things have fallen apart, can the center still hold?, the installation is made of adhesive vinyl that covers the museum’s vestibule, and is one of three commissions, all by DC-based artists, that celebrate the Phillips’s 100th anniversary this year.

THE ARTIST:
Victor Ekpuk (b. 1964, Akwa Ibom, Nigeria; lives in Washington, DC)
Victor Ekpuk is internationally renowned for his paintings, drawings, and sculptures, which reimagine the ancient Nigerian communication system, Nsibidi, to create his own unique language of abstraction. Ekpuk draws from African and global contemporary art discourse to explore the human condition. In recent years, Ekpuk has focused on large-scale murals, installations, and public art projects, including a 30 x 18-foot mural for the North Carolina Museum of Art in 2017, and a 20-foot metal sculpture Hope and Dream Under Glory housed at Boone Elementary School in Southeast DC in 2019.

Ekpuk holds a BFA from Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, Nigeria. His awards include a Smithsonian Fellowship. His work has been featured in national and international exhibitions, including Dakar Biennial, Senegal; Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris; Museum of Arts and Design, New York; Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, Washington, DC; Somerset House, London; New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; and the 12th Havana Biennial, Havana, Cuba. Ekpuk’s work is included in numerous collections including the Bank ABC International Headquarters in the Kingdom of Bahrain; Hood Museum, Hanover, New Hampshire; Newark Museum of Art, New Jersey; and in Washington, DC, at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, The World Bank, United States Art in Embassies Art Collection, and Smithsonian National Museum of African Art.

“In the vestibule of The Phillips Collection, I want to welcome visitors to a sense of a spiritual sacred space through an immersive experience. Through my ‘script’ drawings, the distinction between writing and visual art, legibility and illegibility are all dissolved. This process encourages viewers to experience my work in a holistic manner, allowing the abstraction rooted in ancestral knowledge and indigenous power symbols to build intuitive meaning. In the vestibule, I wish to create a collective experience across cultures and space to connect the ancient past and the contemporary moment,” Ekpuk says.

COMMISSIONS CREDIT LINE
The Phillips Collection’s Centennial Artist Commissions are supported generously by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, the Frauke de Looper Trust, and the Sherman Fairchild Foundation.

IMAGES
IMAGE: Victor Ekpuk in front of his artwork State of the Union: Things have fallen apart, can the center still hold?, Photo by Robin Bell

High resolution images of the artists available upon request. Images of the installations will be shared upon completion of the projects.

ABOUT THE PHILLIPS COLLECTION
The Phillips Collection, America’s first museum of modern art, was founded in 1921. The museum houses one of the world’s most celebrated Impressionist and American modern art collections, and continues to grow its collection with important contemporary voices. Its distinctive building combines extensive new galleries with the former home of its founder, Duncan Phillips. The Phillips’s impact spreads nationally and internationally through its diverse and experimental special exhibitions and events, including its award-winning education programs for educators, students, and adults; renowned Phillips Music series; and dynamic art and wellness and Phillips after 5 events. The museum contributes to global dialogues with events like Conversations with Artists and Artists of Conscience. The Phillips Collection values its community partnerships with the University of Maryland—the museum’s nexus for scholarly exchange and interdisciplinary collaborations—and THEARC—the museum’s satellite campus in Southeast DC. The Phillips Collection is a private, non-government museum, supported primarily by donations.      

Available Artwork by VICTOR EKPUK

JENNY WU | Exhibition at George Mason University

7 Feb
JENNY WU, Hardly A Mandate, 2021, 20″x16″x.2.5″, latex paint and resin on wood panel

Tuesday, Feb 22, 2022 10:00am

Hylton Performing Arts Center, Buchanan Partners Art Gallery

In the Aggregate

February 22 –April 3 

Jenny Wu transforms liquid paint into sculpture built from layers of latex paint poured on glass, color over color, to form a thick cake-like aggregate. Once dried, the material is cut into small brick-like forms and assembled in vibrant patterns on a flat surface, revealing in cross-section the varied strata of paint from the pouring and layering process. Like geological formations, Wu’s method of building up paint is dependent on time, repetition and chance with her resulting objects uniting chaos and order into a systematic imagery that blurs the boundaries between painting and sculpture.

About the Artist:

Jenny Wu was born in Nanjing, China. She holds a B.A. from William Smith College in Studio Art as well as in Architectural Studies, and an M.F.A. in Studio Art from American University. Her work has been exhibited in galleries and museums including Denise Bibro Fine Art, Katzen Museum, Huntington Museum of Art, Reece Museum, Vilnius Academy of Arts in Lithuania, and CICA Museum in South Korea. Wu has participated in numerous Artist-In-Residence programs across the country; and has been awarded fellowships from Vermont Studio Center and the Pollock Krasner Foundation. She has been represented by Morton Fine Art in Washington, DC since 2021.

Available Artwork by JENNY WU

CHOICHUN LEUNG’s solo “The Watchful Eyes” reviewed in The Washington Post

6 Feb

Arts & Entertainment

Review

In the galleries: Artist’s imagery examines community-building in the aftermath of trauma

Choichun Leung’s decade-long Young Girl Project focuses on a show of solidarity

By Mark Jenkins

Contributing reporter

February 4, 2022 at 6:00 a.m. EST

Choichun Leung, The Watchful Eyes, 2021, 64″x55″, acrylic, pen and graphite on canvas. Courtesy of the artist and Morton Fine Art.

In Choichun Leung’s “The Watchful Eyes,” a show of paintings and drawings at Morton Fine Art, the drawings seem to dominate. That’s not because the paintings, which are bigger and more colorful, are less compelling on their own terms. But the black-and-white renderings of girls, which speak to the artist’s concern with childhood sexual abuse, set the tone for all the work. Images from the drawings infiltrate the paintings, where they become more abstract yet remain charged and haunting.

Leung is a Chinese-British artist who grew up in Wales and is now based in Brooklyn. She performed traditional Chinese music and earned a degree in metalsmithing before teaching herself to paint. Her original style was abstract and aqueous, suggesting the sea that laps three sides of her childhood homeland. There are glimmers of that style in Leung’s more recent work, but the pictures are dominated by the figures of girls, often banded together as multitudes. In the show’s title work, dozens of heads float amid a profusion of disembodied hands and dotted lines that represent energy flowing within and among bodies.

This show marks the 10th anniversary of the Young Girl Project, an anti-abuse organization Leung founded in 2012. A drawing the artist made that year, “Bound Girl,” shows a child wrapped almost entirely in rope. That captive figure reappears in later works, but always accompanied — in an imagined show of solidarity — by other, unfettered children. In the strikingly arrayed “Girl Gang,” from 2020, a tight cluster of dark-haired heads is surrounded by smaller heads in the distance. (Perhaps because they’re in some sense autobiographical, the girls in these pictures always appear Asian, but a wider array of ethnicities, as well as a boy, appear in Leung’s drawings on the Young Girl Project’s website.)

Brightly hued and more complexly composed, the paintings place the girls in appealingly surreal landscapes. Leung once worked as an assistant to pop artist Peter Max, and her pictures have some of his comic-book-like directness and verve. In such pictures as “Four Girls in the Dreamworld,” rendered in ink and gouache, the hard-edge figures move among soft shapes and watery colors. Leung’s glowing reveries are animated by trauma, but they can look like places of refuge.

Choichun Leung: The Watchful Eyes Through Feb. 17 at Morton Fine Art, 52 O St. NW, #302. Open by appointment.

Available Artwork by CHOICHUN LEUNG

CHOICHUN LEUNG | Cultured Magazine

21 Jan

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Choichun Leung Uses Art to Communicate with Survivors

ART

Choichun Leung Uses Art to Communicate with Survivors

The painter shares her latest body of work, her nonprofit and how the two have created pathways towards healing from childhood sexual abuse.WORDS

January 19, 2022

Choichun Leung is, as she puts it, the “product of a Chinese takeaway upbringing.” The artist grew up in Wales—her mother from the UK, her father from Hong Kong—where, from a young age, she began cooking and working at the family restaurant. She says that while her father was also creative, his circumstances as a Chinese man in the 1950s meant he wasn’t able to act on it; but as she watched him draw or make things with chopsticks after work, she caught on. She has a clear memory from about three years old of making playdough sculptures for a school competition. As a shy kid, Leung says art often allowed her to communicate—both with others and herself: “Art was my imaginary world that helped me disappear from my reality.”

Chiochun Leung in her studio. Photography courtesy of the artist.

With time, Leung had her hands in various mediums, and eventually chose to pursue metalwork with her education. She felt both a spiritual connection to the trade—she recounts visits to Chinese monasteries in her late teens that inspired a “fascination with ceremonial objects”—and believed it was a function that had to be learned, from welding and forging to raising a bowl. She believed that painting, on the other hand, would come from her. And it did.

Leung had always been a doodler, oftentimes depicting the heads of three Chinese girls in her work. Once, a friend asked why she stopped drawing at the characters’ heads: “He said, ‘why don’t you just carry on drawing the bodies?,’ and I began to feel that self-restriction telling me a story. I realized what was covered was a story of all the emotion that I had kept in.”

Chiochun Leung, Subconscious. Conscious., 2019. Photograohy courtesy the artist and Morton Fine Art.

In the years that followed her friend’s prompt, Leung began to visually communicate with herself, drawing more and more Chinese figures as she reconciled memory and healing. “When I was drawing,” she shares, “I was remembering how I felt as a child.” At around age six, Leung has a memory of being sexually abused, and because she never approaches a painting with an intention, she shares how the story of her past began to reveal itself to her, thus fueling her journey as a survivor. Today, Morton Fine Art in Washington, D.C. opens Leung’s solo show, “The Watchful Eyes,” which amalgamates previous work from her journey with The Young Girl Project and otherwise.

Chiochun Leung, The Watchful Eyes, 2021. Photography courtesy the artist and Morton Fine Art.

As she has begun to exhibit these paintings, Leung has witnessed how her work catalyzes dialogue around childhood sexual abuse. “These young kids are so open when they see the work,” Leung says. She shares that children will point out certain parts of her work—a girl hiding, a depiction of self harm, hands up to cover a child’s face—and ask what they mean. “I’ll say, ‘Well, she’s upset because somebody touched her vagina,’ or another graphic action phrased in a way that is most accessible to children.” Consequently, Leung’s paintings have become a channel for conversation around consent, allowing parents and their children to have honest dialogue around traumatizing events. Leung’s ability to document her own stories, both subconsciously and more advertently, has become a source of relief and education for many.

This year, Leung has turned her series of paintings and their ensuing discourse into an nonprofit, The Young Girl Project, that strives to destigmatize conversations around the sexual abuse of children. In conversations with survivors, Leung says she observes children feeling understood. In addition to being a resource for help, the organization asks that everyone who sees the project share it with five friends in some capacity. “We’re working to take something that is taboo out of that arena [and] into the mainstream in order to dispel shame,” the artist explains.

Chiochun Leung, Backward. Forward, 2019. Photograohy courtesy the artist and Morton Fine Art.

As for why she thinks her work has resonated with survivors, it all comes down to art as an integral method of communication, particularly for children. “Children that have been abused don’t have the words to express it sometimes,” she shares. Almost accidentally, Leung has mimicked the work of therapists and community workers who are identifying cases of sexual abuse. “Using art helps [children] discern what has happened to them—by asking them to draw or observing the subject matter of their [existing] drawings,” she says.

Ultimately Leung hopes to create a community that advocates for the most vulnerable facing of sexual abuse. And, in doing so, she wants to teach children to think for themselves. “This is about defying authority—saying no to an adult who’s telling you to do something you don’t want to do,” she shares. “It’s all about connecting to your gut and your intuition. If you feel something isn’t right or wrong, trust that and act upon it.”

Available Artwork by CHOICHUN LEUNG.