Tag Archives: African American Art

KESHA BRUCE, VICTOR EKPUK & AMBER ROBLES GORDON speak at James A Porter Colloquium on African American Art – 2018 Schedule

8 Mar


Kesha Bruce, I Am A Black Ocean. 2017.  48 x 36 in Mixed-Media on Canvas.

The 29th Annual James A. Porter Colloquium on African American Art and Art of the African Diaspora

The 2018 Porter Colloquium, titled “Abstraction: Form, Philosophy, & Innovation,” will explore topics related to the history of abstraction in art across the African diaspora. It will offer a platform for new scholarship and artistic perspectives on abstract art by African American and African diasporic artists.

This colloquium will trace the progression and aesthetic influence of African art to figurative and non-objective abstraction. Another significant goal of the event is to investigate how artists use abstraction in terms design, innovation, and the introduction of new epistemologies by way of visual culture.

Among other notable presenters, the 29th Porter Colloquium will showcase Chakaia Booker, Valerie Cassel Oliver, Mary Lovelace O’Neal and Fred Eversly.



April 6th Day 1

10:30 Opening Remarks

Day Moderator: Melani Douglass, Director of Public Programing, National Museum for Women in the Arts

11:00-11:50 Opening Lecture: “Freedom / Expression / Abstraction”

Nikki A. Greene, Assistant Professor of Art, Wellesley College

11:50-12:00 Q&A

12:00-12:50 LUNCH ON YOUR OWN

1:00-2:00 Collaboration from the Smithsonian’s American Art Journal: Washington Modernism and the Exhibition of Works by Negro Artists (1933)

“Toward a History of Washington Modernism: The 1933 Display of African American Art at the Smithsonian National Museum”

Charles Brock, National Gallery of Art – “Negro Artist exhibitions at the National Gallery, 1929-1933”

Michèle Gates Moresi, Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture – “Herring, Porter, and Locke’s Perspectives on the 1933 exhibition”

Tobias Wofford, Virginia Commonwealth University – “How Children Became Modern: The Place of Students in the Exhibition of Works by Negro Artists and in Interwar Washington”

Seth Feman, Chrysler Museum of Art – “From Newspapers to Networks: Broadcasting Art of African Americans in the Nation’s Capital”

John A. Tyson, University of Massachusetts, Boston

Moderator: Tuliza Fleming, Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

Organizer: Robin Veder, Smithsonian American Art Museum

2:00-2:15 Q&A

2:15-2:35 New Photographic Histories Presentation

Romi Crawford, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Visual and Critical Studies, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

2:35-3:20 Curator’s Panel: Curating African American Abstract Art


  • Kevin Tervala, Associate Curator of African Art, Department Head, Arts of Africa, the Americas, Asia, and the Pacific Islands, Baltimore Museum of Art
  • George N’Namdi, Founder, N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art
  • Evelyn Hankins, Senior Curator, Hirshhorn Museum


Panel Moderator: TBD

3:20-3:30 Q&A

3:30-4:00 New Art Histories of the African Diaspora Lecture

  • Freida High W. Tesfagiorgis, PhD, Evjue-Bascom Professor Emerita, Department of Afro-American Studies, University of Wisconsin, Madison


4:00-4:45 Concerning the Practice of Diaspora Artist Panel

  • Kesha Bruce
  • Victor Ekpuk
  • Representative from the editorial team of MFON: Women Photographers of the African Diaspora

Panel Moderator: Lanisa S. Kitchiner, Ph.D., Head of Education and Scholarly Initiatives, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution

4:45-5:00 Q&A

5:00 Floyd Coleman Lecture – Chakaia Booker 

“Back Ground Check”

6:30-8:30   Howard University Faculty Exhibition Reception, Howard University Blackburn Gallery

April 7th Day II

10:30 Opening Remarks

Day Moderator: Jessica Stafford Davis, Founder, The Agora Culture

11:00-11:15 New Media Artist Talk – Adrian Loving

11:15-12:15 New Art Histories Scholars Panel

  • Zoma Wallace, MFA, Curator, DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities
  • Melissa Messina, Independent Curator & The Mildred Thompson Legacy Project
  • LeRonn P. Brooks, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Africana Studies, Lehman College, CUNY

Panel Moderator: TBD

12:15-12:30 Q&A

12:30-1:15 LUNCH ON YOUR OWN

1:30-1:40 The Impact of Edward Spriggs

  • Margo N. Crawford, Ph.D., Professor of English, Department of English, University of Pennsylvania

1:45-2:15 Recalling a Legacy of Innovation: Defining the Frontiers of American Abstraction Artist Reflection

  • Reflection by Mary Lovelace O’Neal
  • Fred Eversley

2:15-3:15 Artist Panel: Materiality and Space

  • James Maurelle
  • Amber Robles-Gordon
  • Gregory Coates

Panel Moderator:  Margo N. Crawford, Ph.D., Professor of English, Department of English, University of Pennsylvania

3:15-3:25 Q&A

3:30-4:15 James A. Porter Lecture

  • Valerie Cassel Oliver, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

4:15-4:45 Trajectories Innovation Lecture – Torkwase Dyson

Closing Remarks

**Tentative Program open to minor adjustments.

Saturday Evening: GALA, Blackburn Ballroom

Gala Honorees

Lifetime Achievement Award

  • Two-Dimensional: Mary Lovelace O’Neal
  • Three-Dimensional: Fred Eversley

Humanitarian Award

  • Edward Spriggs

James A. Porter Book Award

  • Valerie Cassel Oliver
April 8th Day III

April 8 – Sunday

Studio Visit: Reginald Pointer, Associate Professor, Ceramics, Howard University


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.


KESHA BRUCE’s iconic (Re)calling & (Re)telling series featured in Rethinking Schools

8 Nov

Congratulations to Morton Fine Art’s KESHA BRUCE for having four images from her iconic (Re)calling & (Re)telling photo series featured in “Black is Beautiful” by Kara Hinderlie in Rethinking Schools!




Click HERE to view available artwork by KESHA BRUCE.




AMBER ROBLES GORDON and NATE LEWIS at Pennsylvania College of Art & Design

8 Jun

The Mosaic Project: Amber Robles Gordon and Nathaniel Lewis

The 9th annual Mosaic Project:

Amber Robles Gordon and Nathaniel Lewis

Oct 2ndDec 8th

First Friday receptions October 6, Nov 3 and Dec 1

Amber Robles Gordon

“My artwork is a visual representation of my hybridism: a fusion of my gender, ethnicity, cultural, and social experiences. I impose colors, imagery, and materials that evoke femininity and tranquility with the intent of transcending or balancing a specific form. I associate working with light, color, and energy as a positive means to focus on the healing power found in the creative process and within us all. It is my belief that colors have both feminine and masculine energies and each color represents a specific aspect of nature.”

Amber Robles-Gordon, is a mixed media visual artist.  She primarily works and is known for her use of found objects and textile to create assemblages, large-scale sculptures and installations.  Her work is representational of her experiences and the paradoxes within the female experience.

Robles-Gordon has over fifteen years of exhibiting, art education, and exhibition coordinating experience.  She completed her Masters of Fine Arts from Howard University in November 2011, where she has received annual awards and accolades for her artwork. Since, her exhibitions and artwork has been reviewed and/or featured in the Washington Post, Washington City Paper, Washington Informer, Examiner, WAMU American University Radio, WPFW 89.3, MSNBC the grio, Hyperallergeric, Ebony.com, the Miami Herald, Huffington Post, Bmore Art Magazine, and Callaloo Art & Culture in the African Diaspora.

She has exhibited nationally and in Germany, Italy, Malaysia, London, and Spain. In 2010, Robles-Gordon was granted apprenticeship to create a public art installation with the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, D.C. Creates Public Arts Program. Robles-Gordon was also commissioned to create temporary and permanent public art installations for numerous art fairs and agencies such as the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, DCCAH, Northern Virginia Fine Arts Association (NVFAA), Humanities Council of Washington, D.C., Howard University, The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and the Washington Projects for the Arts.

Throughout her career, she serves as an advocate for the Washington, DC area arts community. As of November 2004 through July 2012, Robles-Gordon has been an active member of the Black Artists DC, (BADC) serving as exhibitions coordinator, Vice President and President. Robles-Gordon is also the Co-Founder of Delusions of Grandeur Artist Collective. In 2012, Robles-Gordon was selected to present for the Under the Influence competition as part of the 30 Americans Exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery of Art.

Additionally, she has been commissioned by the Smithsonian Anacostia Museum, Luther College, WETA Television, Al Jazeera, The Kojo Nnamdi Show, Howard University, David C. Driskell Center, the Phillips Collection, the African American Museum in Philadelphia  and Mc Daniel College  to teach workshops, give commentary, and or present about her artwork. Most recently, Robles-Gordon has been selected for the Centro Cultural Costarricense-Norteamericano, Back the Roots, Teaching Residency in Limon, Costa Rica.


Nate Lewis

“As a critical care registered nurse I desired to become emotionally porous. I sought for the impersonal experiences of patients and families to become personal and intimate. This resulted in distilling untested qualities of my character and further illuminating areas of my identity. I aim for this work to show the power of freedom within boundaries, and to question to what lengths are we willing to lay aside our pride, comfort, and fear to make room for empathy, within intimate and larger social contexts.”

Born and raised outside of Pittsburgh in the town of Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, Nate Lewis is currently living and working in Washington, DC.

Lewis began his working career as a critical care registered nurse, he received a BS in nursing in 2008 and has since worked in a medical-surgical intensive care unit, a stroke unit, and spent most of his time in a neuroscience-surgical intensive care unit. He has been working as a critical care registered nurse for six years. He began pursuing the arts in 2008, first it was music, violin. He then started pursuing the visual arts in 2010. A self-taught artist, drawing inspiration from anatomy, physiology, disease processes and his nursing experience as a care taker of patients and their family members he creates stunning, intricate 2-3d sculptures out of  single sheets of paper that visually combines the aesthetics of drawing, sculpture, etching,  embroidery, and textiles. His approach to his work is often instinctive and free while at the same time surgically precise. Lewis’s work pushes the idea of freedom within boundaries, and seeks to confront perceptions of vulnerability, tragedy, and time.

He has exhibited his work more than 30 times in the past 5 years, most recently at the  Morton Fine Art, Washington DC, Loyola University, Baltimore, MD, 2016 Biological Tapestries 1st Movement, Morton Fine Art, Washington DC,  Art on the Vine, Marthas Vineyard, MA,  GalleryNine5, New York, NY, Joan Hisoka Gallery, Washington, DC, Cordesa Fine Art, San Francisco, Ca, and Brilliant Champions Gallery, Brooklyn NY. His work has been covered in the Houston Chronicle , Strictly Paper   and Scrub Magazine.  He has been a recipient three times of the DC Commission of the Arts & Humanities Visual Artist Fellowship Grant, Artist in Residence by Pioneer Works, Brooklyn, NY, and Regional Winner of Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series, Washington DC.

The Mosaic Project: The significance of art in the lives of our youth cannot be underestimated. Yet, just when research is finally emerging that supports this, budget cuts and curricular demands are threatening the foundation of creativity in our public schools. In order to fill that gap as well as enrich the community, Pennsylvania College of Art & Design developed The Mosaic Project, a multicultural exhibition and education program for students and families in Lancaster County.


– See more at: http://pcad.edu/gallery-exhibit/the-mosaic-project-amber-robles-gordon-and-nathaniel-lewis/#sthash.Yzma5SLf.dpuf

Click HERE to view available artwork by AMBER ROBLES GORDON and NATE LEWIS.

CHARLES WILLIAMS at the Gibbes Museum

3 Jun


Gibbes visiting artist Charles Williams wants you to touch his paintings — and draw on them

Reestablishing the narrative

Posted by Mary Scott Hardaway on Wed, May 31, 2017

The Day After

“This feels like a family reunion,” says Charles Williams, standing, grinning, a little out of breath, surveying tables covered in crayons and blank watercolor papers; sheets of brown and white paper are hung around the room, waiting for Williams’ deft hand. This studio on the Gibbes ground floor will be Williams’ home, or at least artistic hub, for the next two weeks. He’s rushing to get everything set up — there’s a fellows luncheon in a few hours and executive director Angela Mack swings by to let him know some members may be stopping in. Williams is more than accommodating; he’s a nice guy, but he’s also confident in his work. He isn’t afraid of a few premature visitors.
“As a child I remember coming to the Gibbes, and now I’m here during Spoleto, it’s huge.” A Georgetown, S.C. native and Savannah College of Art and Design alum, Williams is a man of the Lowcountry through and through, and community is important to him, especially in Charleston. “I feel like Charleston was a city that really stood out with all that’s been happening [with race relations in the country] … it just really showed the essence of what the Lowcountry embodies. Charleston really set the bar [of how a city should respond] and I thought ‘How can I capitalize on this?'”

Hot off of “two years of intensity” at UNC Greensboro — Wiliams just graduated this spring with a Masters in Fine Art — the artist is ready to let loose, to break down barriers and knock out walls. “The power of museums and art galleries is they’re community centers. They serve multiple purposes. But when you go to these institutions, they say you can’t touch. And I understand why … but you go to these places repeatedly and they keep saying ‘you can’t do this.’ The rebellion and curiosity in me says ‘Well, what if I did touch, what if I did make a mark?'”
In his new series premiering at the Gibbes, Child’s Play: Everyone Loves the Sunshine, Williams uses old black-and-white photographs from the 1920s through 1960s that show people from different backgrounds coming together, uniting behind a common cause. Williams was inspired to seek out this theme after the multiple police brutality incidents of 2016, “There was one incident that really compelled me … that led me to create this work. What I wanted to say with this work is look at how little we’ve changed. History is like looking at our own reflection. I think when you know where you’ve been and where you’ve come from you can reposition yourself to move forward.”

And I Still Love

And, there’s no point in moving forward if we don’t move forward together. Which is where we, the public, come in. “So basically I’ve created this adult coloring book,” says Williams, directing my attention to a sheet of paper with two intricately drawn figures, two little boys, hands intertwined as one helps the other with what appears to be a hurt finger. The image is taken from one of Williams’ historic photographs, the boys fading away at the edges, surrounded by scratches of “school bus” yellow, smudges of gray, circles of red. “People can come and add color to this, draw over the figures, whatever they want.” My heart drops — let some random stranger potentially ruin this beautiful, carefully crafted work with an errant mark?
Yes. But it will not be a ruining, it will be a rendering, one that Williams will continue to work with. “Viewers can come in and paint, and recreate works with me. If they want to paint over arms or legs, that’s OK. My goal is to break down the barriers.”
Williams puts me to work, having me rip (carefully!) watercolor papers into 10×10 scratch pads that visitors will be able to color on. I’m not someone who can “eyeball” something, and I tell Williams this. But he trusts me. Trust has to be an integral part of his process — it’s trust that unites, says Williams. “When Charleston came together there was a trust that was there, that connected everyone to stand strong, to not destroy the city. Within that trust, I thought ‘What does that symbol look like?’ And that symbol looks like the handshake. Growing up, my grandfather couldn’t read or write so he told me that you have to have a firm handshake. He had five kids, and needed to provide for his family. He said ‘You look a man or woman in their eyes, shake their hand firmly, and do what you say you’re going to do.’ That establishes trust. So I was thinking, how can we in the community reestablish that?”
Williams, by highlighting images with hands that depict “strength, power, control, vulnerability, help, forgiveness,” is creating a space of trust, a space sans barriers. He doesn’t copy the images — that would miss the point entirely. He uses them as a base, a foundation that he builds on to evolve the photograph in his “own language” with intuitive mark makings and strokes. “There’s me reestablishing the narrative.”
By adding color — particularly the school bus yellow that is included in every piece in the series — Williams is making the pieces his own, and mine, and yours. Williams, ever the student, says that “all the colors are specific from my studies of the psychology of color and how they affect humans. School bus yellow in Child’s Play is observant, happy, expressive, curious … For me, I’m curious to see what viewers and participants make and do with the crayons and markers. And I can weave in and out with the marks they put. Painting has a long lineage of documenting the now. I’m pushing the envelope of how I can open the dialogue further.” And if you come into the Gibbes on a day when you’re feeling glum, or out of sorts, you don’t have to draw bright yellow sunshines on Williams’ large-scale adult coloring book. “Whatever color you’re feeling, put down that. If you’re feeling blue, use blue. That’s the beauty of it, no barriers.”

Click HERE to view available artwork by CHARLES WILLIAMS.


NATE LEWIS in Hyperallergic

16 May

Artist NATE LEWIS was featured in a recent review on Hyperallergic.

The Body as a Field for Graphic Experiments

A show in Harlem takes on the human form with some surprising results.

Seph Rodney

Nate Lewis, “Uninhibited Movements” (2016), hand sculpted paper photo print, 40 x 26 inches (all images courtesy Art in Flux Harlem)

It’s difficult to surprise art audiences with figurative work these days. But at a new exhibition at Art in Flux Harlem, Terrestrial Resonance, I see work that genuinely astonishes me. Nate Lewis’s “Uninhibited Movements” (2016) and “Conductor II” (2017) both are hand sculpted paper photo prints that meld the material of the photographic paper and the body depicted on that paper to work together as a field of graphic and textural exploration. Lewis, delicately and with a staggering degree of detail, makes cuts into the underlying image of a nude black male body in “Uninhibited Movements” to create a landscape that is tattooed with patterns like waves, a flock of birds wheeling in the night sky, or tribal beadwork incised into the skin. The picking done to create these vistas is so fine that I bounce back and forth between admiring the metaphor of the body as canvas for the decorative impulse and admiring the facture of the work.

To see the rest of the article, click HERE.

To see more of NATE LEWIS’ works, visit his page on our website HERE

NATALIE CHEUNG and NATE LEWIS Reviewed in The Washington Post

25 Apr

WASHINGTON POST ~ In the galleries ~ April 21, 2017

 Natalie Cheung: Increments in Time and Nate Lewis: Tensions in Tapestries On view through April 26 at Morton Fine Art, 1781 Florida Ave. NW. 202-628-2787. mortonfineart.com.

Natalie Cheung’s “31 Hours,” cyanotype on paper, on view through April 26 at Morton Fine Art. (Natalie Cheung/Courtesy of Morton Fine Art)

To judge by their titles, change must be the subject of Natalie Cheung’s cyanotypes. Each picture in her Morton Fine Art show, “Increments in Time,” is named after a period of as little as one and as many as 76 hours. This is how long it took water to evaporate from the photographic paper, yielding studies in blue, black and white.  The D.C. artist has turned the process, once used for architectural blueprints, into something abstract and unpredictable. Her pictures may resemble Rorschach tests and microscopic views, but all they truly illustrate is the process by which they were made. Their poetry is an accident of chemicals and duration.

Nate Lewis’s “Signals II,” hand-sculpted paper photo print, at Morton Fine Art. (Nate Lewis/Courtesy of Morton Fine Art)

To Nate Lewis, whose “Tensions in Tapestries” also is at Morton, the African American body is a landscape to be transformed. He cuts and scrapes black-and-white photographic portraits, removing pigment while adding patterns and flocked textures. The effect recalls African weaving and skin embellishment, but also reflects the influence of the D.C. artist’s job as an intensive-care nurse, seeking to heal the most damaged. In pieces such as “Funk and Spine,” the surface of a woman’s body is almost entirely remade, yet sinew, bone and essence endure.

– Mark Jenkins

Natalie Cheung: Increments in Time and Nate Lewis: Tensions in Tapestries On view through April 26 at Morton Fine Art, 1781 Florida Ave. NW. 202-628-2787. mortonfineart.com.