Tag Archives: African American Artist

VICTOR EKPUK’s “Hip Sistas in Flux : The Visual-Lingual Braid” reviewed by ArtCentron

27 May

ART

May 25, 2015 

Hairstyles, Tattoos and Body Markings Signifier Women’s Pride

posted by ARTCENTRON

Hairstyles, Tattoos and Body Markings Signifier Women’s Pride

Victor Ekpuk, Asian Uboikpa (Hip Sista) Series #.11, 2015 . acrylic on canvas 60′ x 48′. Image courtesy of Morton Fine Art

REVIEW

Victor Ekpuk’s new drawings and paintings investigate hairstyles and body markings as forms of self-expression and pride among women

BY KAZAD

Victor Ekpuk, Asian Uboikpa (Hip Sista) #10, 2014, one of the paintings investigating the importance of hairstyles and body markings of women in Diaspora

WASHINGTON DC.- Several years ago, Victor Ekpuk began exploring the art of hairstyles and body markings among young women of southeastern Nigeria. His objective was not just aesthetics but also the need to reveal the importance of hairstyles and body markings as forms of self-expression and pride among African women. The result of that exploration is a collection of paintings Ekpuk titled Mbobo or Maiden Series.

The paintings and drawings that emerged from Ekpuk’s investigation of the art of hairstyles and body markings among young women of southeastern Nigeria are very instructive. They illuminate how effective hairstyles and body markings are efficient means of accentuating pride and self-actualization among African women. The Mbobo(maiden) Series go from series 1 to 10. The oil on canvas paintings emphasis the importance of hair to black/African women and why it is often described as the crown of her glory.

While many of the paintings and drawings from the Mbobo (maiden) Series address the importance of women’s hairstyles among African women, they also bring to focus the creativity of the hairstylists who create the amazing hair designs. Many of the hairstylists and designers learned their crafts through apprenticeship, from relatives, and friends. Although many of the hairstyles continue to conform to traditions, others have evolved to accommodate modern ideas.

Historically, hairstyles and body markings have been integral to African societies. Hairstyles, body markings, and tattoos are not just a source of pride and self-expression but also signifier of status and aesthetics. In some Nigerian societies, hairstyles and body markings indicate the position and status of women. Among the Yoruba, Igbo, and Hausa, for instance, hairstyles, body markings, and tattoos are effective means of establishing the authorities of woman.

Since that first exploration about 2008, Ekpuk has continued to explore the theme of hairstyle designs in his works, expanding his oeuvres to include body markings, tattoos and body scarifications. Presently at the Morton Fine Art in Washington DC is an exhibition that illustrates Ekpuk’s expansion of the art of hairstyle design from the Nigerian context to the Diaspora.

Titled Asian Uboikpa (Hip Sistas) in Flux: The Visual-Lingual Braid, the exhibition uses the exploration of hairstyles and body markings in southeastern Nigeria as the pedestal for investigating the culture of hairstyles and body markings in the Diaspora. Asian Uboikpa, an Ibibio expression, references proud young women and virgins, while Hip Sista is an African American term used to describe highly fashionable women.

In his recent paintings examining hairstyles and body markings, Ekpuk continues to expand his use of Nsibidi, the West African ideographic, to create a visual language that has situated him at the center of contemporary African art discourse in the West. Unlike in the past when his use of and interpretation of Nsibidi was limited to Nigeria and Africa, in his recent paintings, the West African ideographic system bridges the contemporary mode and cultural heritage.

The motifs inherent in Ekpuk’s recent paintings emulate designs of African fabrics design, jewelry, piecing, tattoos and scarification in such a way that dispenses with a singular cultural identity. There is a hybridization of forms and ideas from multiple sources and cultures. For a Nigerian artist who has travelled the globe presenting his works in museums and galleries, the confluence of ideas is not unusual.

The focus of many of the paintings and drawings on exhibition in Asian Uboikpa (Hip Sistas) in Flux: The Visual-Lingual Braid is content over form. There is a deliberate attempt to elevate substance over form in many of the paintings that are characterized by backgrounds with heavy motifs.

Please contact Morton Fine Art for available artworks by VICTOR EKPUK. 

Morton Fine Art, 1781 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC 20009, (202) 628-2787, http://www.mortonfineart.com , mortonfineart@gmail.com

To read this article in full please visit the following link: http://artcentron.com/2015/05/25/hairstyles-signifier-pride/#prettyPhoto

CHARLES WILLIAMS “Swim” in South Strand News

30 Jan

Sink or swim: Georgetonian conquers fears through his artwork

  • Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Show More

“In Seconds No. 4” by Charles E. Williams

Photos

Charles Williams is getting nervous. He grips his hands tighter together while he talks, causing his knuckles to whiten. His voice lowers and his speech slows. If one were to look closely, they may see a bead of sweat or two appear on his brow.

He’s talking about swimming, or rather his inability to swim, as he stands amongst four huge six-foot-by-six-foot paintings of the ocean.

The works are his, on display at the Franklin G. Burroughs — Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum in Myrtle Beach in an exhibition titled “Swim: An Artist’s Journey.”

“This is me trying to look at what’s causing my fear. The water is alluring but deadly, and it has these human characteristics. Water has always been an intricate part of my pieces,” Williams said. “…For viewers, I’m just using swimming to represent me, but this is also for others to look at their fears and make steps toward becoming better individuals.”

For Williams, that journey, and his fear of water, started when the Georgetown native was 11 years old.

“When I was 11, I was taken under. I was jumping the waves with my cousin at the state park in Myrtle Beach,” he remembers.

From that point forward, the fear of water had a tight grip on Williams, causing him to have what he calls “accidents” every time he ventured into the water in the future.

The accidents – near drownings and panic attacks in the water – have continued all of Williams’ life, since the incident when he was 11 years old, to the swimming lessons he failed in high school, up to three years ago, the most recent event, when he had a panic attack after finding he couldn’t touch the bottom of a swimming pool.

“Swim” is an attempt to tackle his fears, and his next step in finally learning to swim.

His original idea for an exhibition at the museum was a bit different, but it evolved after museum staff asked him to make the works more personal.

“I thought this would be a good time to be brave enough to do a few water paintings. It was therapeutic in a way,” Williams said. “I love a challenge, and this is a life challenge for me.”

The exhibition opened on Jan. 15 and will close at the museum on April 23.

“It was a packed house,” Williams said of the opening. “I was really surprised and grateful.”

The crowd included friends, family, sponsors, collectors and even “people from high school when I was selling my work in Georgetown to raise money for college at SCAD (the Savannah College of Art and Design),” he said.

He first attended Georgetown High, but finished his degree at Carvers Bay High. In 2006 he graduated from SCAD and worked in graphic design briefly before becoming a fulltime painter in 2008.

Williams has had several solo exhibitions in Georgetown, Pawleys Island and Charleston; has been a part of 25 group exhibitions in cities across the U.S. including Atlanta, Sacramento and Washington, D.C.; and has won 11 awards and fellowships for his work.

“Swim” is a collection of 48 oil works – eight six-foot canvas paintings and 40 smaller studies, 30 of the daytime and 10 of nighttime. It took him eight months to complete them.

Standing next to the canvas works, Williams is almost as tall as they are.

“I even feel like these are too small,” he said. “I wanted to paint them as large as I could. It goes back to the person experiencing what I fear. I wanted the pieces to take over you.”

The exhibition is held in three rooms, which Williams described as a “cinematic spectrum from day to night.”

The first room is brightly lit and shows four canvas works titled “In Seconds.” Each shows a progression of the experience of drowning; from No. 1 to No. 4, the viewer is above the water, at the cusp of being under water, completely engulfed under water, and lastly drowning.

“In Seconds No. 4” depicts an 11-year-old Williams floating beneath the surface of the water.

“No. 4 is a significant piece. You know how people talk about dying and seeing the white light? Well I saw it,” Williams said. “I wanted this to reflect the idea of the white light. It’s warm, full of life, and this is me in a sort of ‘letting go’ pose.”

The center room features the study pieces, which are smaller works on paper and canvas.

The studies, which feature day and night images, lead into the final room that houses all four “Lost and Found” paintings.

Williams explains the works, which show portions of the ocean illuminated by light, surrounded by darkness: “Psychologically, I wanted to go back into my mind with a flashlight and find the monster. As a kid, I was also afraid of the dark, so this also helped me show, ‘Hey, I can tackle this fear.’”

Ocean sounds are playing in all of the rooms, which only adds to the feeling of becoming Williams, and he said the effect is particularly important in the “Lost and Found” room.

“I wanted to mimic what you can’t see,” he said, “and yet you can hear the sound of the water.”

To accomplish the effect, he used a flashlight and camera at the beach at night to gather images for inspiration. The lights in the room also mirror the experience, with dim lighting in the center and one spotlight aimed at each piece to mimic where the artist’s flashlight would have been.

Williams’ journey of exploration also took him beyond case studies and into research. It’s a stereotype that most blacks can’t swim, but the artist wanted to know more details. His research revealed that each year, for every one white child who dies from drowning, two to three black children die from it.

“In a way, I would like ‘Swim’ to be an awareness too. … I think it comes down to parents, and how they view the importance of swimming as a survival mechanism,” he said.

Williams called the experience “surreal” to have his first museum show at home along the Atlantic Ocean, a sentiment similar to making money from conquering his fears. Each of the larger canvases has a $10,000 price tag attached.

“As an artist, we already make a living off of putting ourselves out there,” Williams said. “I would encourage all artists to explore learning about themselves and illustrating that. It lets everyone see them innocently.”

Does the 31-year-old consider himself brave for conquering the project?

“Hell yeah, brave in many ways. I took a year off of working for commercial galleries to invest the time, research and process to create these,” Williams said, “but it was all worth it and I would do it again. And I will do it again.”

With a little less enthusiasm, but the same determination, he said the same of swimming: “I still fear the water, but this is my first step toward learning how to swim.”

CHARLES WILLIAMS Museum Exhibition “Swim” Dispels Stereotypes

29 Jan

 

weekly surge logo

Myrtle Beach art museum offering aims to dispel stereotypes about African-Americans and swimming

For Weekly SurgeJanuary 15, 2015

Charles Williams. Courtesy photo.

Charles Williams. Courtesy photo.

Known for his realism, especially in regard to ocean scenes, artist and Georgetown native Charles Williams, 30, will present 12 six-by-eight oil paintings and 40 painted studies for “Swim: An Artist’s Journey,” inspired by a near-drowning experience and his efforts to come to terms with water – its beauty and serenity versus the potential danger and the very real possibility of fatality – opening tonight at Myrtle Beach’s Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum.

Williams, who is African-American, said the original focus of “Swim” was on stereotypes associated with black males and swimming – like “black people don’t swim,” and his impressions of the percentage rate of accidental drowning, utilizing iconic sneakers as social context in his pieces. His work has since taken on a deeply personal tone. “I decided to put the sneaker social context aside and work on the psychology of this fear that I had of water,” he said. “This exhibition is an acknowledgement of my fear – and also the first step that I am making toward progressing – toward getting back into the water and being able to be comfortable and swim.”

The process has proven to be therapeutic for Williams.

Charles Williams. Courtesy photo.

Charles Williams. Courtesy photo.

“I am using swimming as a vehicle to say, ‘OK, this is who I am, and I am comfortable to say that this is my fear.’” In the past, he would tell people that he took lessons if the subject of swimming came up, but this was only part of the equation. He knew the techniques, but his fear overrode them. “But lately in doing these massive paintings for my show, I have gotten more comfortable about saying, ‘No – I can’t swim. If you put me in water, I can’t swim. I need a life vest.’”

His works promise to reveal a battle within himself over time. “It’s like the water and the ocean have these human characteristics. It could be serene and pretty, but it can also be overwhelming and intimidating,” he said. “The more you study it and the more you understand it, you have to respect it. In order to respect it, you have to learn the tactics to survive in it – and that encompasses swimming.”

The exhibition has been in the works for quite some time, according to Art Museum executive director Pat Goodwin.

“We first met and discussed an exhibition with Charles a few years ago,” she said. “Shortly after those initial conversations, he presented us with Swim: An Artist’s Journey – a very unique exhibition concept. We were immediately intrigued. Here was an opportunity to not only showcase Charles’ work but also to offer an exhibit that included an educational and didactic component, and that is something very important to the mission of our Art Museum.”

Over the summer, Goodwin said she and Museum curator Liz Miller visited Williams in his studio in downtown Charleston before his recent move to Charlotte, N.C. “We were able to see a few of the larger works as well as discuss the specifics for the exhibition as a whole,” she said. “Since that visit, Charles regularly sends us images of the paintings, and frequent phone calls, e-mails and text messages keep us connected to the project. During the summer studio visit, we were also able to discuss the design of the exhibition catalogue and happily our creative ideas meshed perfectly.”

Goodwin says Williams is a detail-oriented professional, “thinking about not just the individual works but also about how they work together to tell the story – and how the story will play out with the audience.”

Linda Ketron of ART WORKS in the Litchfield Exchange, says her history with the Williams family goes back more than 20 years, and she was one of his many early supporters in the local community. In fact, Ketron was one of a group that helped the young artist develop his portfolio and raise funds to use for tuition at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD).

“When Charles announced the upcoming show and the financial challenges he faced getting the pieces framed and transported for display, ART WORKS was planning its “Homecoming” show,” she said. “We dedicated the gallery’s commissions on sales toward the “Swim” exhibit and were able to send $500 to join the donations received from his private collectors, corporate sponsors and grant monies.”

Ketron is taken with the story behind this new exhibition.

“Charles has sent photos along with his moving story. His journey is one shared by many African Americans along the coastal communities. The Sandy Island boat tragedy of a few years back remains an open wound, though the local YMCA and other outreach efforts are making great strides in teaching swimming lessons to the young and old. I have imagined standing in one of the museum’s gallery rooms with these enormous paintings of unkind waters around me. The feelings of vulnerability and fear are palpable. I can hardly wait to see the exhibit in person.”

CHARLES WILLIAMS solo at The Franklin G. Burroughs‑Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum

13 Jan

A huge congratulations to MFA artist CHARLES WILLIAMS for his first museum solo exhibition!

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January 15th – April 23rd, 2015

“Swim: An Artist’s Journey” solo exhibition at The Franklin G. Burroughs‑Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum in Myrtle Beach, SC.

What was once hidden is now an open artistic diary of Charles Williams’ fearful journey.

 A native of Georgetown, SC, Charles Williams continues to explore the nuances of his emotional relationship with water — this time investigating thoughts, emotions and experiences from the past, so that what was once hidden has now become an artistic public journal for viewers to co-explore his ocean phobia. His solo exhibit Swim: An Artist’s Journey captures the essence of his ever-morphing aqua obsession with hauntingly personal and hyper-real 6’+ oil paintings placed strategically to surround and engulf, bringing the viewer face-to-face and into the ocean. Utilizing cinematic elements of sight and sound, the exhibit experience is intended to evoke the sensation of being in water.

Known for his contemporary landscapes, Williams shows his sensitivity by exposing his journey from fear to freedom through the visual poetry of these works. Personal sequential experiences imbued with the cultural influences of living on the southeastern coast and actualized on canvas will be offered as this artist’s diary of his fearful obsession with water.

Seen in the American Art Collector, and Professional Artist Magazine for his 2012 show entitled “In Thought,” as well as other various internet and art publications. Other publications follow the rising artist with features and previews in the Artist Magazine, Studio Visit, Charleston Magazine, Grand Strand Magazine, Empty Magazine, Escape into Life, the Oxford, Southwest Art and more.

Swim: An Artist’s Journey will be presented in January 2015 at the Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum in Myrtle Beach, SC.

 

About Charles Williams 

Charles Williams is a professional contemporary realist painter from Georgetown, South Carolina and a graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Savannah, Georgia with a Bachelors Degree in Fine Art. Utilizing oils for the basis of landscapes, each painting captures his reflection of human emotions in response to and in sync with the natural environment. Recent achievements and awards include a Hudson River Landscape Fellowship, featured work in the Artist’s Magazine’s 28th Annual Art Competition, honorable mention from Southwest Art Magazine’s 21 Emerging Under 31 competition, 2012 Winner of the Fine Art Category from Creative Quarterly, 2013 selected artist for 28th Positive Negative juried art exhibition at East Tennessee State University, juror/curated by Michael Ray Charles from PBS Art 21, one of 25 selected artists for the 2012 Dave Bown Project in Chicago, juried/curated by Karl Hecksher, owner K5 Editions, New York, Andrea Karnes, curator at Modern Art Museum, Fort Worth, Mary Kate O’Hare, curator at American Art, Newark Museum, 2ndBluecanvas Publication international competition, “Environments” and featured cover artist of Composite and Professional Artist Magazine. Williams’ works has been shown in American Art Collector, Empty Magazine, Charleston Magazine, Grand Strand, Studio Visit, Bluecanvas and other national publications. He was interviewed and broadcast on ETV/ NPR station on September 3, 2012, entitled: Nature Through the Eyes of an Artist. He recently received the 2014 Riley Institute Diversity Leadership Award from the State of South Carolina for development of enriching art programs within local communities.

His contemporary landscapes have been exhibited in group and solo exhibitions in galleries in New York, Vermont, California, and several other southeastern states and now are represented by Robert Lange Studios and Morton Fine Art.

Please contact Morton Fine Art for artwork availability.

http://www.mortonfineart.com

mortonfineart@gmail.com

(202) 628-2787

NATHANIEL DONNETT’s artwork acquired for permanent collection of Mattatuck Museum

8 Jan

 

NATHANIEL DONNETT, miniscule, mini-school, i meant two schools; keep watching, 51"x53", conte, graphite, color pencil, plastic on paper bags

NATHANIEL DONNETT, miniscule, mini-school, i meant two schools; keep watching, 51″x53″, conte, graphite, color pencil, plastic on paper bags

 

Congratulations to Houston based NATHANIEL DONNETT for the acquisition of his piece, miniscule, mini-school, i meant two schools; keep watching, for the permanent collection of the Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury, Connecticut.  The piece has been on display at the museum during NATHANIEL DONNETT’s current solo exhibition Alone in My Four Cornered Room which runs through early January 2014. The artwork measures 51″x53″ and is comprised of conte, graphite, color pencil, plastic on paper bags.

 

Nathaniel Donnett
Alone in My Four Cornered Room
October 23, 2014 – January 4, 2015

Scotoma web.jpg

The title of the show, “Alone in My Four Cornered Room,” references a lyric from the 1991 classic hip-hop song, “My Mind’s Playing Tricks on Me,” by trio The Geto Boys. The song, like Donnett’s works explore isolation, paranoia, and identity in which perception of self and self-knowledge do not always match. In this way, Donnett takes up a strategy that has fortified hip-hop: referencing back to others in order to assemble links and connections. Both The Geto Boy and Donnett are exploring self-doubt, safety, and psychological well-being in the face of “double consciousness.” The works in this show represent Donnett’s investments in examining the entangled relationships between society, the art world, and identity. By exploring experiences of isolation, loneliness, and social stigma, and self -determination, Donnett restores and reclaims the humanity of African Americans living complex emotional lives.

Donnett’s layered works defy singular description, rather they are purposefully resistant to either/or interpretations or linear narratives. Donnett’s work is presenting us with both/and narratives in which as viewer we have a small window in which to glimpse the vertinginous experience of being both erased and highly visible – to be forced to know oneself based on the fears others might have of you. Donnett refers to this entangled interaction between the self and society as projections, noting that many of the notions we have about each other are based on narrow narratives or misinformation. Donnett’s work suggests that none of us are safe from internalizing misperceptions of others – even the misperceptions of our own identities and selves – and he explores how very challenging, complicated, and tangled such experiences can be. His carefully crafted work plays with the distance between self-knowledge and self-perception, while investigating the spaces where art, music, identity, history, the Black imagination, culture, the self, and standards of beauty may be explored – and even challenged. Donnett’s use of such diverse materials gestures toward the improvisation he highlights as part of African American culture.

Mattatuck Museum
144 West Main Street
Waterbury, CT 06702
(203) 753-0381 ext. 130

Museum Hours:
Monday: Closed
Tuesday – Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Sundays: 12 noon – 5:00 p.m.
OPEN LATE the first Thursday of the month until 7:30 p.m.

MAYA FREELON ASANTE’s artwork featured on the cover of SIGNS JOURNAL

6 Jan

Our Current Issue

asante-home

The Winter 2015 issue of Signs begins with a comparative perspectives symposium titled “Politics of the Sensing Subject: Gender, Perception, Art,” edited and introduced by Anne Keefe. Other articles in the issue explore new materialism; women who regret becoming mothers; emerging representations of autistic subjects; race, gender, and affect from a historical perspective; the affective labor of drag and nursing; and the contemporary relationship between the United States and India through US women’s memoirs. Read more about the issue here or view the issue itself on JSTOR.
http://signsjournal.org/

NATHANIEL DONNETT : 100 CREATIVES 2014

30 Dec

houston press logo

100 Creatives 2014: Nathaniel Donnett, Artist

 
Categories: 100 Creatives
Unicorn275.jpg
Photo by Cipher
The Dark Imaginal by Nathaniel Donnett

It’s been a stellar year for visual artist Nathaniel Donnett. During 2014, he had his first ever solo show at a major museum with “Nothing to See Hear.” It was part of the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, “Right Here, Right Now: Houston” ongoing series of exhibits and events. In support of “Nothing to See Hear,” Donnett received a 2014 Harpo Foundation grant, one of fewer than a dozen awards for the year. (By the way, the Harpo Foundation was founded by Edward Levine. Its name was inspired by Harpo Marx. It’s not related to Oprah Winfrey or her company, Harpo Productions.)He also had a solo show at the Mattatuck Museum, “Alone In My Four Cornered Room,” which closes in January 2015.

He was the subject of Rhythm & Black, a documentary by Rice University film students Paige Polk and Lydia Smith.

And most recently, Donnett was awarded a 2015 Idea Fund / Andy Warhol Foundation grant to develop his blog, Not That This, into a website supporting the critical discourse related to African American artists and other groups whose work is largely overlooked, ignored, or misunderstood by the mainstream arts press. (Donnett previously won an Idea Fund / Andy Warhol Foundation grant in 2011.)

HairPiece560.jpg
Photo by Nathaniel Donnett
The Hair Piece by Nathaniel Donnett

What he does: “Normally, I say I’m an artist. I don’t talk much about it but if I do, I say I’m an artist and I’m interested in observing people and how people interact. I personally like to critique and comment on those interactions, especially some of the more nuanced ones that people may not be paying attention to.”

Of the two actions – observing and commentating – Donnett says observing is the more important. “Observation is not only the intake of that information, whatever the information is, but it’s also the reflection on that information, the editing and determining how I want to present my take on it, how I want to reveal what I’ve got to say.”

Donnett says the act of observation isn’t an exact science. “I’m observing a person or people. I’m human. They’re human. What I think I’m seeing may not be the truth, it’s my perception of the truth and my perception is influenced by my experiences. But even if I end up commenting on something that I really didn’t see, that comment can still be relevant. It’s still real.”

Why he likes it: “I like the attention,” he laughs. “Actually I like having a voice. I like the communicative aspect of it. I like the process of observing and understanding and reflecting and communicating on something. I most enjoy when I’m in the process of creating. I’m inside this space or this zone. Being in tune with the idea is the most interesting part, it’s just me and my idea. When the work is done, it’s always a relief so I guess I could say that I like that part, too, but mostly I like finding a zone.”

What inspires him: “There’s the idea that there’s something in front of you, something beside you and something behind you. There’s a social context, an emotional context, form, instrumentation, layers and layers. When you look at a piece, you may see one thing but there’s a multitude of things going on, a multitude of layers of ideas and concepts that went into that one work.”

If not this, then what: “If I had to do something else, I would be a drummer. My ideal band would be a mix of jazz, funk and rap. When I was younger, I really liked music. I couldn’t really sing, but I liked music. I liked dancing, I liked drawing and I liked people. Those things have all resurfaced in my work but somebody else may look at a piece and not see those things.

If not here, then where: “So I have to realistic when I answer that question. There are five major art markets – LA, New York, Chicago, Texas and Miami. In LA and Texas, there’s lots of space. In New York, there’s not lots of space. So that’s one thing. The other thing is affordability. On the other side of that, I don’t have a big system of collectors here in Texas. I have it outside of Texas, but not here. So, realistically, I think I would go to California.

“On the fantasy side, I would want to go to Saturn. Sun Ra used to talk about going to Saturn; for me it would be Mars.”

What’s next: “I’ve got a group exhibition at the Arkansas Art Center. That will close out this year. After that I’ve got a few more group shows coming up, including a show called “Heart of Darkness.”

http://blogs.houstonpress.com/artattack/2014/12/100_creatives_2014_nathaniel_donnett_artist.php

NATHANIEL DONNETT’s solo exhibition opens Oct 23rd at the Mattatuck Museum

17 Oct

Mattatuck Donnett Exhibition Invite Front web

Mattatuck Donnett Exhibition Invite Back web

Alone in My Four Cornered Room – A Solo Exhibition of Artwork by NATHANIEL DONNETT

October 23, 2014- January 4, 2015

Mattatuck Museum, 144 West Main Street, Waterbury, CT

mattatuckmuseum.org

 

Context & Reflection: The Art of Nathaniel Donnett

In this exhibition, Alone in My Four Cornered Room, Nathaniel Donnett navigates the crossroads between the self and perception by others. His drawings, paintings, and sculpture suggest the transitional and unstable nature of perception. Donnett’s work is richly conceptualized and steeped in a deeply reflective, witty, and theoretically grounded history of race and difference in the United States. His work references the landmark scholarship of historian and activist, W.E.B. Dubois, and attends closely to the concept of double consciousness – DuBois’ understanding of the complex and nuanced ways in which African Americans in the United States must negotiate and reconcile their identity as both American and Black – both part of and pushed away from the heart of national identity. Donnett, like DuBois, is wrestling with the “peculiar sensation” in which one has “this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity.”

The title of the show, “Alone in My Four Cornered Room,” references a lyric from the 1991 classic hip-hop song, “My Mind’s Playing Tricks on Me,” by trio The Geto Boys. The song, like Donnett’s works explore isolation, paranoia, and identity in which perception of self and self-knowledge do not always match. In this way, Donnett takes up a strategy that has fortified hip-hop: referencing back to others in order to assemble links and connections. Both The Geto Boy and Donnett are exploring self-doubt, safety, and psychological well-being in the face of “double consciousness.” The works in this show represent Donnett’s investments in examining the entangled relationships between society, the art world, and identity. By exploring experiences of isolation, loneliness, and social stigma, and self -determination, Donnett restores and reclaims the humanity of African Americans living complex emotional lives.

Donnett’s layered works defy singular description, rather they are purposefully resistant to either/or interpretations or linear narratives. Donnett’s work is presenting us with both/and narratives in which as viewer we have a small window in which to glimpse the vertinginous experience of being both erased and highly visible – to be forced to know oneself based on the fears others might have of you. Donnett refers to this entangled interaction between the self and society as projections, noting that many of the notions we have about each other are based on narrow narratives or misinformation. Donnett’s work suggests that none of us are safe from internalizing misperceptions of others – even the misperceptions of our own identities and selves – and he explores how very challenging, complicated, and tangled such experiences can be. His carefully crafted work plays with the distance between self-knowledge and self-perception, while investigating the spaces where art, music, identity, history, the Black imagination, culture, the self, and standards of beauty may be explored – and even challenged. Donnett’s use of such diverse materials gestures toward the improvisation he highlights as part of African American culture.

 

New Artwork by CHARLES WILLIAMS

18 Sep

Artist CHARLES WILLIAMS launches new monoprint etchings and drawings from his series “Swim”.

About “Swim”:

As an artist, I am inspired to explore the relationship of human emotions and the natural environment.  The psychological elements within the imagery reveal moments of truth that sometimes contain social conflicting viewpoints. Humbling experiences in my life have had a strong influence on my choice of subject matter. The people, landscapes and objects serve to orchestrate messages of hope, knowledge and understanding of the commonality of humanity and to entice the viewer to question and discover unfamiliar perspectives.
-CHARLES WILLIAMS

 

Charles Williams, Air Forces, 9"x6", etching

Charles Williams, Air Forces, 9″x6″, etching

 

Charles Williams, Young King, 9"x6", graphite on paper

Charles Williams, Young King, 9″x6″, graphite on paper

 

Charles Williams, Cortez, 9"x6", etching on paper

Charles Williams, Cortez, 9″x6″, etching on paper

 

Charles Williams, Concord, 9"x6", etching

Charles Williams, Concord, 9″x6″, etching

 

Please contact Morton Fine Art for available artwork in this series.
(202) 628-2787
mortonfineart@gmail.com

NATHANIEL DONNETT at Contemporary Arts Museum of Houston

6 Aug

Contact MORTON FINE ART for available work by NATHANIEL DONNETT.

http://www.mortonfineart.com

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RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW: HOUSTON

On View: August 23 – November 30, 2014

Opening Reception: Friday, August 22, 2014 | 6:30-9PM


With Right Here, Right Now: Houston, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston showcases artists living in the city and celebrates our region’s vibrant creative community. Houston has been a lively breeding ground for artistic innovation for decades now and is increasingly considered a global art center alongside New York, Los Angeles, London, and more recently, Berlin. The Houston of today is a globally networked city where a manageable cost of living and affordable studio space allow innovators to maintain practices at a highly professional level without having to sacrifice international recognition or an excellent quality of life. Right Here, Right Now: Houston is a dynamic portrait of the artistic developments taking shape in studios across this city and features solo presentations of work by Houston-based artists Debra Barrera, Nathaniel Donnett, and Carrie Marie Schneider. It marks the beginning of an occasional and ongoing series through which the museum will investigate localized artistic practices.

CAMH’s Director Bill Arning, Senior Curator Valerie Cassel Oliver, and Curator Dean Daderko respectively selected Barrera, Donnett, and Schneider. Each artist and curator pair worked together closely from the conception to the installation of the artist’s individual project. A complement of public programs will be presented in conjunction with the exhibition. Please check CAMH’s online calendar for a complete listing. Right Here, Right Now: Houston is the first solo museum exhibition for each of the participating artists.

CAMH sees itself as a nexus point for making sure that information on cutting edge culture flows in two directions: into and out of our unique metropolis. Along with CAMH’s recent drawing survey of Houston-based artist Trenton Doyle Hancock and an upcoming Perspectives exhibition of work by Robert Hodge as well as a survey of the work of Mark Flood slated for 2016, this exhibition will bring work by some of Houston’s most talented art makers to both area audiences for whom their work may be familiar, as well as act as an introduction to wider audiences outside of the region.

About Debra Barrera: Avalon
In Avalon, Debra Barrera’s ongoing exploration of the very human desire for escape is explored in drawing, installation, and objects. In her earliest mature works, she focused on modes of transportation combined with cinema—both methods of getting outside of or away from one’s present circumstances. She identifies far way places real and unreal, accessible and impossible and provides hints of how we can get there from wherever we are. In this installation, drawings of unlikely escapes, such as the puff of smoke the Wicked Witch used to vanish in the Wizard of Oz, are mixed with motorcycle helmets and taxi lights that all but declare “get me out of here.” The installation employs the real exits of CAMH using pink and black, respectively, to make the existing emergency exit and trap door appear to promise alternative escape routes. The title Avalon refers to an imaginary place that derives from our shared mythic histories, which when sung by Bryan Ferry in Roxy Music’s Avalon, was the perfect location for unreal romance.

About Nathaniel Donnett: Nothing to See Hear
Nathaniel Donnett’s Nothing to See Hear is an investigation into how sound and light can create a space of remembrance and meditation. Through the use of minimalist gestures, Donnett has created an immersiveenviornment that integrates light, sound, sculpture, and works on paper that give visibility to the contemporary portrayals of resistance and protest, loss and mourning. Donnett pays homage to the numerous men and women who have died while placing themselves on the front line for justice. His installation functions as a visual eulogy to their sacrifice as well as a conscious and thought provoking call toward social awareness.

About Carrie Marie Schneider: Incommensurate Mapping
For this exhibition Carrie Marie Schneider has created architectural models of CAMH, that stage a variety of conceptual, social, archival, structural, and imagined possibilities for the museum. Each model builds on CAMH’s iconic parallelogram footprint, which opened in 1972 and was designed by Gunnar Birkerts, and considers aspects of CAMH’s place within Houston’s broader cultural fabric. With their variety of scales, diverse media, and aestheticsensibilities, these speculative models “situate the Museum within webs of broader organizational and intellectual concerns to investigate CAMH’s wider cultural function, its place in the city, and the space it provides for art(ists),” says Schneider. Her polyphonic display is “full of possibilities and informed by survival creativity, good humor, desperate imagination, and the political charge to project a future forward. The models operate in the funky overlap where we envision and build a new world while we still occupy this one.”

Right Here, Right Now: Houston will be on view in the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston’s Brown Foundation Gallery from August 23 to November 30, 2014.

PUBLICATION
Rigth Here, Right Now: Houston will be accompanied by a catalogue featuring essays by Bill Arning and Dean Daderko on the work of Debra Barrera and Carrie Marie Schneider, respectively, an interview by Valerie Cassel Oliver with artist Nathaniel Donnett, color and black-and-white illustrations of the artists’ work, and a biography on each artist.

This catalogue is made possible by a grant from The Brown Foundation, Inc.