Tag Archives: African American Artist

An architect, three artists and a professor: the Freelon family by Maryam Mohamed

11 Oct

The Freelon family has roots in the Triangle, but their talents have taken them to everywhere from an art installation in Madagascar to a mayoral campaign in Durham.

Philip Freelon is an architect responsible for designing historical centers across the country, such as the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, Ga.

Philip has received countless awards for his work, and was appointed by former President Barack Obama to the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts. He is currently working on the expansion of the Motown Museum in Detroit, Mich.

He said he went into architecture because it combined elements of mathematics and physics with craft and design.

Philip is married to jazz vocalist and six-time Grammy nominee, Nnenna Freelon. Their son, Pierce Freelon, is a Durham native who ran for mayor.

Pierce said his passion for Durham is what compelled him to run for office.

He said while Durham is quickly changing, he wants to make sure this change reflects equity and sustainability.

“I felt a strong sense of urgency and obligation, almost like a calling, to step up for my city and community to be that change,” Pierce said.

Like his mother, Pierce has a background in music. He specializes in hip-hop and rap music production. His family has always been supportive of his decision to pursue music.

“My parents always said do what you love and success will come, because success has nothing to do with money, but everything to do with being happy,” he said.

Pierce co-founded Beat Making Lab and taught a class at UNC where he showed students how to create beats and write songs. He traveled to countries such as Congo, Fiji, Senegal, Panama and Ethiopia to teach kids how to write beats and shoot music videos.

“I’ve always been very connected to community and Beat Making Lab is no different,” he said. “I wanted to make sure this resource was not only available to Carolina students but to kids in East Durham and around the world.”

He said he was inspired by the opportunities he was provided with in college and wanted to use his privilege to give back to those less fortunate.

“A lot of the countries we visited didn’t have access to these types of resources and privileged spaces,” Pierce said. “I was honored to be a cultural ambassador and teacher.”

Deen Freelon, Pierce’s brother, is an associate professor in the UNC School of Media and Journalism.

“I wanted a chance to work with some of the excellent students here at the Media and Journalism school,” Deen said. “It feels great to be able to teach in such an excellent academic unit.”

Deen’s professional work primarily focuses on political expression online. In 2011, he worked on a study that dealt with the influence of social media on the Arab Spring.

Deen said he admires Pierce for his relentlessly positive attitude and ability to immediately connect with others.

“We’re very different in our personalities but we always have fun when we get together,” he said. “He’s one of the most positive people I know.”

Deen said a standout memory he has of him and his family is them arguing over a plate.

“We had this yellow plastic plate that had everyone in the family’s name on it,” he said. “It was called the family plate, and every night we used to fight over who gets to eat on the family plate.”

Maya Freelon Asante — Pierce and Deen’s sister — is an award-winning artist who has showcased work in places like Paris, Jamaica, Italy and the US Embassy in Madagascar.

Asante uses a special kind of tissue called bleeding tissue paper that blends with other colors around it when it comes in contact with water. She developed a technique called tissue ink monoprint and utilizes this process to create artwork.

“I blend the improvisational side from my mom and the creative design side from my dad,” Asante said.

Asante said her artistic inspiration comes from her grandmother, who passed away in 2011. She said her artwork is about building community, and she feels a tremendous sense of joy when she sees her artistry on display.

“I also feel like I’m honoring my grandmother and all of our ancestors that came before us,” she said. “Because of their sacrifices, I’m able to be an artist.”

Philip and Nnenna said they are proud of the work their children are doing individually.

“I love my kids and am so proud that we’ve helped to raise good people,” Nnenna said. “It’s the gift you give to yourself and the world.”

city@dailytarheel.com

 

Click HERE to view available artwork by MAYA FREELON ASANTE.

Click HERE to read the article in full.

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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.

New Works by NATE LEWIS

11 Apr
Mobile, hand sculpted paper photo print, 40″ x 26″​
We are excited to announce new works by Washington, DC based artist NATE LEWIS. They are from his latest series Tensions in Tapestries
 
We all have a lens through which we see. Our lens is distilled by our patterns of seeing and thinking which continually refines our lens. The lens we come to form becomes our filter.
Using figurative and portrait style images I hand-sculpt patterns and textures on to single sheets of paper that reveal unseen tensions on and within bodies representative of the past, present, and future – the physical and the spiritual, the tangible and intangible. 
Internal, as well as external influences come to refine our patterns of thinking, seeing, interacting and loving. Through the use of presence and absence, textures and distortion, I aim to challenge the filters we hold that dictate our views and our actions.
Through an attentive, intentional process of sculpting patterns and terrains of texture on bodies, I seek for this work to mirror the intentionality and consistency it can take in ones patterns of thinking and seeing to hold an empathetic lens.
-NATE LEWIS, 2017
 
Nathaniel Lewis grew up in Beaver Falls, near Pittsburgh, Pa. Born 1985, Nate benefited from the cultural mix of his Trinidad-born father who was raised in Brooklyn and his white American-born mother, raised in Philadelphia. He graduated from VCU with his BSN and has been a practicing critical care nurse for the past five years as well as professional fine artist. Tensions in Tapestries is Nate’s second solo exhibition at Morton Fine Art.
 
Please find images of the new works below. You can see more of Nate’s available works HERE.

Thrice, hand sculpted paper photo print, 26″ x 40″

Cloaked but Absent III, hand sculpted paper photo print, 40″ x 26″

Funk and Spine, hand sculpted paper photo print​, 40″ x 26″

Archaic Pages, hand sculpted paper photo print, 18″ x 22″

Clenched, ​hand sculpted paper photo print, 14″ x 18″

Conductor, hand sculpted paper photo print, 20″ x 22″

Dignity II, hand sculpted paper photo print, 22″ x 20″

Signals II, ​hand sculpted paper photo print, 24″ x 26″

Unbalanced and Clear, hand sculpted paper photo print, 24″ x 26″

MAYA FREELON ASANTE and The Art of Daring

16 Mar

We are very excited to announce that artist MAYA FREELON ASANTE and her brilliant tissue paper and ink artwork has been featured in Cadillac’s new ad campaign “The Art of Daring”!

You can watch the video featuring Maya and her work below:

For Maya’s available works, please visit her page on our website or contact the gallery.

Currently On View: New Works by NATHANIEL DONNETT

17 Jan

philando_webNATHANIEL DONNETT

Philando, graphite, synthetic and real hair on paper, 11.5″ x 11.5″

Oscillating between abstraction inspired by the Ndebele people of South Africa and social concerns of police brutality, NATHANIEL DONNETT creates thoughtful mixed media narratives titled Philando and Eric. He includes the use of hair as a medium and as a cultural communicative expression.
eric_web
NATHANIEL DONNETT
Eric, graphite, synthetic and real hair on paper, 12″ x 12″

MAYA FREELON ASANTE’s solo show “IMPERMANENCE” at Morton Fine Art

17 Dec

 

Impermanence
A solo exhibition of new artwork by MAYA FREELON ASANTE

Saturday, December 12th, 2015 – January 5th, 2016


About Impermanence

Impermance is Maya Freelon Asante’s first solo exhibition following a deeply personal loss.  Deborah Willis, Ph.D. writes “Maya  Freelon Asante  explores  memory, memorial  and  family  in her  art  practice. She   also  examines  the social  and  artistic  space  within  the experience  of motherhood and   grieving.    Maya’s  artwork  looks at the  fragility  of  life  and provides  the viewer  with  a   way  of retelling  a  story  about  life–joy and pain. Her current body of work draws on the temporal and is inspired by love of family specifically of her grandmother’s art practice as inspiration. ”


About MAYA FREELON ASANTE’S process & inspiration
“In 2005 I discovered a beautiful accident; a stack of water damaged tissue paper tucked away in my grandmother’s basement was left with a brilliant and intricate stain. Since then I’ve submerged myself in the medium of bleeding tissue paper sculpture and tissue ink monoprints, which exist as simultaneously transient and steadfast. This dichotomy continues to intrigue and surprise me as I wrestle with sharing the unique beauty, fragility, and strength of my art with the world.
Much like my grandmother, who never wasted a single grain of rice on her plate, I find a way to utilize tissue paper at every stage of creation – including the rich and colorful ink released when the paper is wet, the sculptural mounds formed when creating monoprints, and even the tiny ripped pieces no larger than a fingernail which are collected and wound into spiral sculptures. Improvisation and discovery play a big role in my creative process; by incorporating archival photographs I’m able to reappropriate images, bridging a gap between the past and future.
My grandmother always said she “made a way out of no way” and her personal endurance opened a path for my own creative discovery. Art for me is about finding the message in the medium and honoring what fuels our desire to preserve and protect it. Bringing more peace, joy and light into the world is my primary objective, while simultaneously appreciating the beauty of now and creating everlasting memories.”
-MAYA FREELON ASANTE

About MAYA FREELON ASANTE
Maya Freelon Asante is an award-winning artist whose artwork was described by poet Maya Angelou as “visualizing the truth about the vulnerability and power of the human being,” and her unique tissue paper work was also praised by the International Review of African American Art as a “vibrant, beating assemblage of color.” She was selected by Modern Luxury Magazine as Best of the City 2013, by the Huffington Post’s “Black Artists: 30 Contemporary Art Makers Under 40 You Should Know”, and Cosmopolitan Magazine’s “Art Stars” as “the most badass female artists in the biz.”
Maya has exhibited her work nationally and internationally including Paris, Ghana, and US Embassies in Madagascar, Italy, Jamaica and Swaziland. She has been a professor of art at Towson University and Morgan State University. Maya has attended numerous residencies including Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, the Korobitey Institute and Brandywine Workshop. She earned a BA from Lafayette College and an MFA from the School of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She is currently represented by Morton Fine Art in Washington, DC.

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