OSI AUDU’s “Dialogues with African Art” at Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild in New York

11 Oct

Osi Audu: Dialogues with African Art – Artist’s Talk and Opening Reception

When:   October 20, 2018 @ 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Where:   BYRDCLIFFE Kleinert/James Center for the Arts, 36 Tinker Street, Woodstock, NY

Opening on Friday October 19, the Kleinert/James Center for the Arts presents the solo exhibition OSI AUDU: DIALOGUES WITH AFRICAN ART. Mr. Audu, who lives in Hurley, New York, will give an artist’s talk on Saturday, October 20, at 3:00 pm. The public opening reception for the show follows at 4:00 pm 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 Africa-Africa 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.

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)

OSI AUDU: DIALOGUES WITH AFRICAN ART is open through Sunday, December 2. The gallery is open Thursday-Sunday: 12:00 – 6:00 pm or by appointment. School groups and other organizations can schedule group visits with the artist by contacting derin@woodstockguild.org.

Click HERE to view available artwork by  OSI AUDU.

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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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AMBER ROBLES-GORDON in The Elm Newspaper of Washington College

22 Sep

The Elm

Kohl Gallery Exhibit Confronts Issues of Identity and Ownership

Grayscale edited.KohlGalleryTalk_JustinNashBy Victoria Gill

Elm Staff Writer

The new guest artist residing in the Kohl Gallery at the Gibson Center for the Arts hangs her identity on the walls.

Amber Robles-Gordon’s opening reception for the exhibit “Material-isms: The Cultivation of Womanhood & Agency Through Materiality,” was scheduled for Sept. 6 but, due to a water leak in Gibson, was postponed to Sept. 13 during her talk.

Her exhibition “features assemblage and installation works created from a range of found objects and textiles,” according to Julie Wills, curator and interim director of the Kohl Gallery.

This past Thursday, the gallery was filled with a crowd mostly of Washington College students, along with some faculty and community members.

According to Wills, Robles-Gordon “confronts the often-paradoxical experiences of her gender, ethnicity, and social and cultural influences.”

The collection consists of compiled pieces from five different series of mixed media art that present her experiences and reflect her pride in her Latino, African and Caribbean heritage.

Through the use of hybridism, most of Robles-Gordon’s pieces use natural materials and topics. This is evident in the canvas of paint chips that have layers of text on top of them and other mixed forms of feathers and cutout shapes.

Robles-Gordon said her use of color, light, and energy represent a part of herself. To her, it is impossible to separate her identity from her works.

The words “conformity,” “analyze,” and specifically the quote “the United States weighs on my spirit” are some of the keywords and ideas that are crucial to her incorporation of investigating femininity and masculinity, duality and spirituality, and the natural and cultural environment, according to Wills.

Robles-Gordon learned from the influential women in her upbringing, such as her mother and grandmother, to “stand in and claim my agency,” of her identity and her body, especially at times when standing out brings negative attention.

According to Robles-Gordon, the two pieces that hung behind her during her talk focus on the lack of women of color in science fiction during her upbringing. She dedicated these works to her niece, who she views as an inspiration.

Robles-Gordon said that someone she looked up to growing up was Henrietta Lacks, who much of this exhibition is inspired by.

Regarding Lacks, Robles-Gordon talks about her history and the abuse by the medical system still using her cells. The lack of recognition of Lacks’ cells in medical discovery are reflected in two large black canvases that state: “When is our, your DNA no longer my, our, your own?”

Her purpose is not only to tell Lacks’ story but to advertise womanhood.

In one section of a series, Robles-Gordon raises concerns about artists’ fear of standing up for themselves in a world where work can be hard to come by. According to Robles-Gordon, being a woman in the workplace, the chance of not being taken seriously, or even mistreated, is high.

Her use of historical text, scraps from advertisements, and natural objects such as hanging branches evokes “traditional healing arts across cultures, sacred symbols of power and divine spirituality,” Wills said.

Junior Drake Harrison said he was specifically drawn to the hanging branches.

“The colors are so poignant, they draw you in,” Harrison said.

According to the artist, these branches and spherical pieces reflect the fibers of our bonds of DNA.

Overall, Robles-Gordon wants to invoke “a spiritual and energetic sensibility” from college students, which she says communities and academic institutions are not providing.She believes colleges can start useful discussion when exposing their population to the arts.

The Kohl Gallery will be showing the exhibit until Oct. 10 during regular exhibit hours, which can be found at the door of the gallery.

AVAILABLE ARTWORK BY AMBER ROBLES-GORDON

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 congratulates artist OSI AUDU as recipient of a prestigious and highly competitive grant from The Pollock-Krasner Foundation

28 Aug

For over a decade now, through highly acclaimed exhibitions of his work, OSI AUDU has maintained a strong professional presence in the United States, Great Britain, Korea, Japan, Italy, Germany, Austria and Africa.
His work has 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, USA, The British Museum and the Horniman Museum both in London, and the Wellcome Trust Gallery in Euston London. His work has also been exhibited at the Tobu Museum and Setagaya Museum both in Japan, the Liverpool Museum in Great Britain, The Science Museum London; and acquired for corporate collections including Sony Classical New York, and the Schmidt Bank in Germany.
He received a B.A. (Fine Art) degree with First Class Honors from the University of Ife in Nigeria, and an M.F.A. degree in Painting and Drawing from the University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, USA.
He now lives and works in New York.
The Pollock-Krasner Foundation, Inc. was established in 1985 for the sole purpose of providing financial assistance to individual working visual artists of established ability through the generosity of the late Lee Krasner, one of the leading abstract expressionist painters and the widow of Jackson Pollock.
The Foundation is pleased to report that since its inception in 1985, it has awarded over 4,400 grants totaling over 71 million dollars to artists in 77 countries.

VICTOR EKPUK book signing event Saturday, Sept 1, 2018 from 2-4pm at Morton Fine Art

26 Aug
Please join us for VICTOR EKPUK’s book signing party this Saturday, September 1st from 2pm-4pm. We will be celebrating the near 500 page, mid career retrospective titled “Victor Ekpuk : Connecting Lines Across Space and Time”, Edited by Toyin Falola. This incredible book includes fascinating writings by 13 scholars and countless images of Victor’s brilliant creations.

 

 

Smithsonian Mag features MAYA FREELON’s “Reciprocity Respite & Repass” at the Smithsonian Arts and Industries Building during Halcyon’s “By the People” Festival

22 Jun

 

Maya Freelon’s Immersive and Interactive Sculptures Bring Tissue Paper to Life

Her artwork will be a part of this weekend’s By the People Festival at the Arts and Industries building

 

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Maya Freelon’s Reciprocity Respite & Repass at the Smithsonian Arts and Industries Building (Courtesy of Halcyon)
smithsonian.com
June 21, 2018

For more than a decade, artist Maya Freelon has created striking abstract sculptures and installations from tissue paper and water stains. Her technique — letting water gently drip so the paper’s color bleeds organically — arose from happenstance, when, as an MFA student, she discovered a stack of old tissue paper in her grandmother’s basement.

Freelon’s assemblages reside in collections around the world, from U.S. Embassies in Madagascar, Swaziland, and Rome, to the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. This month, she’s installed a monumental, interactive tissue paper sculpture for the first annual By The People International Festival at the Smithsonian’s Arts and Industries Building. Named “Reciprocity Respite & Repass,” her artwork is one of a selection of immersive and interactive art installations at the AIB, the headquarters for the festival. By the People will also feature a series of workshops and talks with experts.

As for Freelon, however, there is perhaps no better introduction to her than the late poet Maya Angelou, who described the tissue paper artwork as “visualizing the truth about the vulnerability and power of the human being.”

When did you discover your medium, working with tissue paper and water?

In 2006, I was in graduate school in Boston at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, now part of Tufts Museum School. At the time, I lived with my grandmother and it was a found artist’s dream treasure trove because she did not throw anything away. Queen Mother Frances J. Pierce said, “We grew up a family of sharecroppers that never got their fair share.” She would always speak in rhymes and her sayings come up often as titles in my work, such as Bloom Where You’re Planted. She was very proud of her African heritage and really embraced it before it was cool. She followed the original Black Panthers. And she had stuff everywhere— books, papers, magazines stacked to the ceiling. She just collected and collected. There were journals and Confederate money I found, just things that had not seen the light of day in 50 or 60 years. Eight track tapes. Hot combs (the original kind that you put in the oven stove). Thousands of keys and pens.

So one day, I went to the basement and discovered this tissue paper that was water damaged. It must have been a leaky pipe or something because it was right under the bathroom. There was a watermark from a constant drip, which had to be years ago, on this rainbow pack of colored tissue paper.

What was so powerful about the visual manifestation of this leak for you?

The watermark is a familiar sign to most people in the entire world. It just means: water was once here. You can see that in a lake that has receded. You can see it in the desert. You can see it in a rainforest, creek bed, even the Grand Canyon. It’s a marker of time or evaporation — a familiar sign to all human beings. I felt the commonality and a kind of interconnectedness of our humanity. This beautiful little accident sparked a world of discovery for me.

And three weeks after I found the stained tissue paper, Hurricane Katrina wiped out the Gulf Coast. So, I’m finding a parallel between water moving color literally and water as destruction. Seeing the images in the media and simultaneously watching water push ink out of tissue paper, I was struck by how a constant drip of water can dilute pure color— and I reflected on the fragility of life. I also questioned the hierarchy of art materials. My grandmother used tissue paper in elementary school art classrooms, and there I was, discovering and using tissue paper for my graduate art class.

Did the fragility of tissue paper require copious trial and error?

When I first used the tissue paper I didn’t know what do with it. I tried to mimic the water mark and couldn’t. I was pouring carefully, using a watercolor brush, trying to get it right. But it didn’t work. It just looked like a mess. So then I got a water balloon, and put a pin in it, and let it slowly drop on the tissue paper, simulating a drip that might come from a leaky faucet. That’s when I realized, oh my gosh: it’s not a steady stream. It’s a drip process that pushes the ink to the outer edges. At that moment, I also thought about middle school. I always knew I was going to be an artist, and I remember looking up at the dropped ceiling and often there’s a brown water stain on the tile. In my boredom as a child, I remember thinking, what’s happening up there?

I think about how brown paper in front of buildings that are getting renovated gets wet and leaves a stain. You see it also in dried up puddles. It’s just so beautiful to me. It reminds me of the macro and the microscopic.

But aren’t there unique conservation challenges with such delicate material?

When I started, I was feeling a little self-conscious about tissue paper. It’s fun to experiment in art school, but the point is you want to know how to make a living as an artist. You want your art to sell, and the ephemeral nature is part of my work.

Creating an installation, a temporary sculpture, or even a performance is one thing. But a collector wants to know, how long is this going to last? Now I actually enjoy that part of my art, that feeling that makes folks a little wary and uncomfortable. Well, it is in a gallery so it must be worth something, right? But if tissue paper is on an elementary school floor of an art room, you just sweep it up and put it in the trash can. So my question as an artist is: What fuels our desire to preserve or protect something?

You know, we buy flowers— beautiful bouquets for hundreds of dollars sometimes. They die. They’re dead actually and we enjoy that. It’s something that we invest in. We spend hundreds of dollars on a delicious night out of food. What we appreciate and why we appreciate something is interesting to me.

What work are you presenting at the By The People Festival ?

The great thing about festival is that they specifically sought artists that have interactive components to their art. And what’s great about tissue paper is I can work with anyone from under 1 year old to over 100 years old. I use the most simple materials so anybody can interact and join in. I’ve done collaborative tissue quilt-making a few times, once at the North Carolina Museum of Art. You sit down next to somebody and you start looking at bits of torn tissue paper, which is interesting because of all the colorful stains. You pick your favorite color and you start connecting the papers with just a simple glue stick— Elmer’s. My materials are not a surprise or a secret. You’re sitting; you’re building, piece by piece. And as you get bigger, you bump into your neighbor on the right, your neighbor on the left, your neighbor at the table in front of you. You are joining and talking because the action is pretty simple, like a quilting bee.

Your mind kind of shuts off and it’s almost like a form of mediation. Some people are very quiet and work very meticulously. Some people are sloppier and just talking. But once you get in the groove of things, you have permission for your mind to take off a while, doing this task that is repetitive. But it’s also about that unity, that togetherness, that strength and power of joining together as opposed to being one piece flying off by itself.

How do you feel about being labeled a female or African-American artist (or both), rather than simply “an artist” as say, Picasso or Warhol is?

First of all, I am like Picasso and Warhol. I have vision and a dream and an overwhelming desire to create. I love that question, mainly because my favorite thing to say to picky young artists is: okay, you don’t want to identify as female? You don’t want identify as Black? Well, I’m going to apply to those grants, and I’ll take them. You don’t have to take them. Get in line for the generic ones. You don’t have to identify as anything. I know that there are historical inaccuracies and inadequacies. I know that it’s not fair and that other people are getting opportunities in this closed inner circle.

But these grants for artists that are underprivileged, or underserved, or minorities— whatever you want to call it— this is an attempt to level the playing field; to offer opportunities to see new perspectives; to honor different cultures; to embrace that otherness. It doesn’t matter if you don’t say a thing. You will still have some sort of identity, and for me, I embrace the myriad of my otherness. Recently, I began to identify as a queer artist as well.

One of my mentors is the contemporary painter Beverly McIver, who is a professor of art, art history and visual studies at Duke University. When I was 14, I used to sit in her studio and clean her paint brushes. She was the very first Black, female artist and professor that I met in person. I want to be that motivating source for someone else who has a dream and a passion.

What role should artists take in times of political and cultural division?

Artists are always at the forefront of revolution. They are the ones that push the buttons that make us stop and say, this isn’t right. They spark dialogue. We aren’t held back by, what will my town think? Am I going to get fired? Is this okay? Your job as an artist is to utilize your freedom to speak your mind and inspire. And at the same time, be ready for backlash, or the people that you are going to anger.

For me, my place of peace is always back in the commonality of us all. We can all agree that this is a watermark, right? I dislike you and you dislike me, can we find some common ground? Can we agree that this piece of art is beautiful?

Halcyon’s “By the People Festival” takes place June 21 – 24, 2018, at five official sites and numerous satellite locations throughout Washington, D.C. A list of more than 100 art installations, performances and talks, and to register for a free four-day pass, can be found here.

Click HERE to learn more about Halcyon’s “By the People Festival”.