Tag Archives: African American

Morton Fine Art participates in Prizm Art Fair in Miami December 3 – 9, 2018

16 Oct

 

Prizm Art Fair 2018
December 3rd – December 9th | Open Daily: 10 am – 6 pm
PRIZM is the producer of a cutting-edge cultural platform that is multidisciplinary in scope. Our goal is to expand the spectrum of exhibiting international artists from the African Diaspora and emerging markets.
Our mission is to promote the work of artists from Africa and global African Diaspora, who reflect global trends in contemporary art. Workshops and special events are organized throughout the year to advance critical dialogue and sharpen the lens through which we view and understand contemporary art. We are committed to the Miami cultural community and will work to expand its visual arts landscape, nurture and educate its constituents and provide forums for cross cultural exchange.
Prizm exhibits a dynamic group or contemporary artists during Art Basel/Miami Beach and beyond. Salient works are presented that highlight the diversity evident in contemporary visual art practices today, including painting sculpture and mixed media installations.
Morton Fine Art will be featuring the artwork of internationally renowned contemporary artists OSI AUDU, KESHA BRUCE, VICTOR EKPUK, MAYA FREELON, AMBER ROBLES-GORDON and NATE LEWIS.
Advertisements

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.

OSI AUDU on his “Self Portrait” drawings in pastel and graphite

11 Feb

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

I explore the light sheen of graphite, the matte, light absorbing quality of black pastel, the white of paper and canvas, as well as the visually affecting interactions of colors to investigate form and its evocative potential to suggest or hint at something about the shape of the head. I am interested in the dualism of form and void, and the ontological 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 construction of a sense of self is a very complex process, perhaps even more so in our increasingly global age, in which the boundaries between race, nationality, gender and sexuality are getting more and more blurred. I am interested in issues of self identity, and in concepts of the self rooted in my cultural experiences growing up in Nigeria, as well as global metaphysical, scientific, and social concepts of the self. There is a Yoruba thought that consciousness, referred to as the “head”, has both a physical dimension called the “outer head” and a non-physical one: “the inner head”. It is the visual implications of concepts like this that I find intriguing. The title, Self-Portrait, in my work, is more about the portrait of the intangible self, rather than a literal portrait of the artist.

Osi Audu, 2015

Interview with CHARLES WILLIAMS about his solo exhibition “Swim” at Morton Fine Art

24 Sep

Charles Williams Interview Questions

 

Charles Williams, Lost and Found 4, 72"x96", oil on canvas

Charles Williams, Lost and Found 4, 72″x96″, oil on canvas

Inspiration for Concept

 

Q: You have mentioned that not only the experience of something traumatic, but also the way it is handled, can shape a persons identity; how have your fears and your steps to overcome them shaped your personal life and artistic career? 

 

CW: My fear of the water has been both a blessing and a curse. Because of it, I have realized how lucky I am to have survived these accidental drownings. Being aware of my good fortune brings a gratefulness into my everyday living. I also appreciate that my traumatic water experiences have allowed me to become a conduit for others’ fears. I understand fear to be something that is universal. Even if your fear is not drowning or swimming, most everyone has something in their life of which they are afraid. In my art, I explore these ideas of fear in the hopes that others looking at my work will have to confront their own personal fears and realize that hope and overcoming is possible.

 

Q: Was it the traumatic experience of almost drowning that created this fear or was there already something about the deep dark ocean that frighten you as a child? 

 

CW: Growing up, I was always afraid of the dark. There is something about the murky and unknown depths of large bodies of water that evoke that same fear that I experienced as a young boy in a pitch black room. But my accidental drownings certainly created a fear of water that I did not necessarily have. My inability to swim was impacted by the racist dialogue that surrounds swimming the South. Continually hearing that “black people don’t swim” made me aware that there was potentially something wrong with me that would prevent me from swimming.

 

Charles Williams, Nighttime Study 12, 12"x12", oil on panel

Charles Williams, Nighttime Study 12, 12″x12″, oil on panel

 

Q: Did you know how to swim before this incident, do you know how to swim now?  Did this fear of the ocean spread to all large bodies of water like lakes, rivers, pools? 

 

CW: While one of my accidental drownings took place the ocean, the second happened in the deep end of the pool. I would say that my fear extends to all bodies of water that are large enough for me to be submerged in. At this point in time, I still do not know how to swim.

 

Q: Do you find creating the oceanscapes and other related pieces within this body of work to be therapeutic?  It seems as though you are not only in the belly of the beast but you are recreating the beast with every painting, your fear and attraction of the water go hand in hand, as if you are longing for something dangerously beautiful.

 

CW: Yes. The water has human-like qualities to it that are alluring, attractive and calming, but also frightening, intimidating and fear-inducing. With these various components, you have to respect the ocean just like you respect a fellow person.

 

Q: Although images of the ocean are in the forefront, the conversation is more about your relationship with the water than the water itself.  How else are you connecting human emotions to the natural environment? What made you want to tackle this subject matter?  

 

CW: The water is able to provoke in me a variety of emotions ranging from serenity to panic. In every aspect of these paintings’ creation and their display I am thinking of the moment when emotions overwhelming me and seem to engulf me. Despite these emotions taking over me, I refuse to let them define who I am. I want others who look at my work to see that struggle of having emotions engulf you, but not letting it determine who you are.

 

Ultimately I am interested in the idea of a progress, of continually working to overcome and to get better. This idea of progress and of continually getting better is an idea that I have heard since I was a child in my life.

 

Q: It seems that you have used your personal experiences and fears as a stepping off point to discuss a more cultural, psychological dilemma.  What do you want the wider conversation to address and confront? 

 

A: Pejorative race talk surrounds swimming in the South. Having grown up with these stereotypes ringing in my ear, I want my work to at once address the universality of fear and of confronting your fears but also raise awareness of the conversations that we, as southerners, are having about race and swimming.

 

Self Portraits

 

Charles Williams, Self Portrait with Goggles 3, 10"x8", oil on mylar

Charles Williams, Self Portrait with Goggles 3, 10″x8″, oil on mylar

 

Q: What is the meaning of the omissions, parts of your face are missing? 

 

CW: Parts of my face are missing because I am incomplete. The missing piece refers to the missing piece of me. When I go to the beach and see others’ interaction with the water be so organic and genuine, I long to experience the same liberating freedom of just enjoying the water without fear. Until that time, I will feel incomplete.

 

Q: Why did you choose to include certain articles of clothing like the hoodie and goggles? What do they represent? 

 

CW: I like the dichotomy that including these items create. In draping the towel over my head in the paintings I am referencing the hoodie, which in recent years has become associated with gangster-culture and the supposed-danger of black men.  As much as the hoodie has become a symbol of danger, personally it is also an element of comfort. I feel a connection to the character Linus in Charlie Brown who carries a blanket with him for comfort. When I woke up after my accidental drownings I was wrapped in a towel. Growing up, Charlie Brown was a pillar in my life. Throughout my childhood I watched it as often as I could and feel an affinity with Linus.

 

Alternatively, the googles are a symbol of innocence. In choosing to wear them I am referencing the child-like innocence of swimming. Childlike swim gear in general are the tangible items that represent my longing. I long to be in the water, swimming carefree, like the people I see at the beach.

 

Charles Williams painting "Swim"

Charles Williams painting “Swim”

 

Q: It appears that you age and add weight to yourself in some of the self-portraits.  Do you deliberately do this, if so why? Is there a correlation between your past, present and future selves?

 

CW: When I create these portraits, I do so freehand. I don’t use measuring tools such as a grid or ruler. I am painting simply what I see. I want to capture the mood more so than my physical attributes. My skin tone alters slightly in each of the paintings but this is done to enhance the mood I want the painting to convey.

 

Oceanscapes

 

Charles Williams, Day 41 Study, 10"x8", oil on mylar

Charles Williams, Day 41 Study, 10″x8″, oil on mylar

 

Q: How do you source your images?  Do you create these realistic oceanscapes from memory or do you use a camera to capture the images and then recreate them? If you use a camera where are you positioned, on the shore or in the water?

 

CW: I am in the water when I take these images. I typically wade into the ocean until I’m waist height. I have with me a camera and a flashlight. Standing in the water, I take pictures of the ocean swells around me and point the flashlight to illuminate the waves for my camera. Once I am back in the studio, I work from those images. This is part of what makes my art experiential. These works were not created from a daydreamed image, but from my real life experience of going into the ocean. Often times, I am risking my life and mental health to take these images and create this art. But without the true experience of wading and standing in the water that so nearly killed me before, I don’t believe I could convey the same amount of fear that my canvases currently display.

 

Going into the ocean at night, you don’t get perfect shots. The photos are often shaky because of the moving water around me, but also because I am having a panic attack while being in the water. This process and the art that results from conveys the unexpectedness of life.

 

Charles Williams, Unseen I, 8"x8", oil on panel

Charles Williams, Unseen I, 8″x8″, oil on panel

 

Q: Many of your oceanscapes are set at night, does this speak to another fear of the dark?  

 

CW: Yes. Although I am recently painting daytime oceanscapes as well. I am interested in the emotive contrast that the different times of day provoke. Many associate the daytime with safety, there is safety in light.

 

While the oceanscapes are at night, I have a flashlight with me. That flashlight serves as a metaphor for a childhood safety net, a tool for exploring and seeing troubling illusions in the dark – the monster in the closet. Observing the ocean as it exists in darkness with a flashlight allows me to not only study the water at night, but to confront my monster in the dark and subdue the fears that consume me both physically and mentally.

 

Q: Your In Seconds #1- #4, when viewed together appear to speak on the notion that our lives can change in a split second. One second you are safely treading water and the next you are pulled under by a rip tide or strong wave.  Was this your intention?

 

CW: Yes, this was my intention. It also mimics my first accident when I was eleven and I was pulled under by a current. Before I went under, I was jumping waves with my cousin.

 

VICTOR EKPUK’s solo “Hip Sistas in Flux : The Visual – Lingual Braid” in Washington Post

16 May
May 15 at 1:13 PM
Victor Ekpuk

Writing and painting merge in the art of Victor Ekpuk, whose bold work employs symbols from Nsibidi, a West African ideographic system. This is a familiar aspect of the Nigeria-born Washingtonian’s style, but in Morton Fine Art’s “Hip Sistas in Flux: The Visual-Lingual Braid” the text represents both contemporary modes and cultural heritage. The glyphs decorate bodies as well as backgrounds, suggesting African-inspired fabrics but also jewelry and piercings, tattoos and scarification.
Ekpuk often uses a dense field of black-on-white symbols to frame a person or object that’s in color. Of these archetypal portraits, however, only “Asian Uboikpa (Hip Sista) Series #6” is rendered in black, and it’s garnished with red and blue dots at the center. The other paintings are even brighter, often outlining a woman’s head and torso in a lighter hue than the backdrop. Sista #11, for example, uses thickly applied yellow atop a green and blue matrix. The vivid colors suit the primal images; these female exemplars are nothing if not robust.

Victor Ekpuk — Hip Sistas in Flux: The Visual-Lingual Braid On view through May 21 at Morton Fine Art, 1781 Florida Ave. NW. 202-628-2787. http://www.mortonfineart.com.

VICTOR EKPUK solo “Hip Sistas in Flux : The Visual-Lingual Braid” at Morton Fine Art

16 Apr
Hip Sistas in Flux: The Visual-Lingual Braid
A solo exhibition of new artworks by VICTOR EKPUK
Friday, May 1st- May 21st, 2015

OPENING DAY RECEPTION 
Friday, May 1st, 6pm-8pm
The artist will be in attendance.

Asian Uboikpa (Hip Sista) Series #10, 2015, acrylic on canvas, 60″x48″
EXHIBITION LOCATION

Morton Fine Art (MFA)
1781 Florida Ave NW (at 18th & U Sts)
Washington, DC 20009

HOURS

Tuesday – Saturday 11am – 6pm
Sunday 12pm-5pm
Victor Ekpuk has a concurrent museum solo exhibition titled
Auto-Graphics : Works by Victor Ekpuk running from April 18th – August 2nd, 2015 at the Hood Museum of Art in Hanover, NH. 
 
Hood Museum of Art
Dartmouth College
Hanover, NH 03755
About VICTOR EKPUK

The central theme of Ekpuk’s work is the exploration of the relationships, challenges and responses to changes that characterize the human condition. Of particular interest to his artwork is Nsibidi, an indigenous African system of writing that employs graphic signs, and codes to convey concepts. Inspired by this ancient writings, forms in his works are reduced to basic essence resulting in new symbols or codes in script-like drawings that are used to express contemporary experiences. When combined with Nsibidi signs, these “scripts” also provide the background narrative to his compositions. Most often these narratives are better perceived when they are felt rather than read literally.

 

Victor Ekpuk’s artwork can be found in the permanent collections of the following noteworthy institutions:

Smithsonian Institution Nation Museum of African Art, Washington DC

The Hood Museum, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH

Newark Museum, New Jersey

The World Bank, Washington DC

University of Maryland University College Art Collection

The US Department of State

 

 
About Hip Sistas in Flux: The Visual-Lingual Braid

Asian Uboikpa (Hip Sista) series is an engagement of the aesthetics of women of African descent. This series of paintings and drawings started as exploration of the art of hairstyles and body markings: a form of self-expression among young women of southeastern Nigeria. It has expanded to acknowledge similar attitude towards body image and self-expression among young black women in the Diaspora. Asian Uboikpa in Ibibio language references proud young women or virgins, while Hip Sista is an African American idiom used to describe a highly fashionable woman.

Perhaps this attitude of proudly inviting a public gaze by being hip through changing one’s body image with elaborate hairstyles and body adornments is no coincidence. Through genetic memory, these African cultural practices continue to find expression among women of the African Diaspora.

The perpetual flux of the old and the contemporary, of Africa and the Diaspora and the persistence of cultural memory are the main considerations in these works.

-Victor Ekpuk
About Morton Fine Art
Founded as an innovative solution to the changing contemporary art market, Morton Fine Art (MFA) is a fine art gallery and curatorial group that collaborates with art collectors and visual artists to inspire fresh ways of acquiring contemporary art. Firmly committed to the belief that anyone can become an art collector, MFA’s mission is to provide accessibility to museum-quality contemporary art through a combination of innovative exhibitions and a new generation of art services.

NATHANIEL DONNETT founder of “Not That But This” Houston-based art and culture webzine

2 Apr
not that but this webzine logo
Not That But This is a Houston-based webzine, created out of necessity, by artists and various creatives, that seeks to showcase and celebrate contemporary art and culture created by people of color throughout the African diaspora.

Not That But This strives to be an expressive, critical, and experimental platform for the investigation, interpretation and freeform exploration of the contemporary art world, as well as the everyday aspects of modern life.

This artist collaborative provides a crazy, rigorous, outlandish, and dope collection of thought provoking positions on the arts and our world. It has been said, “That if you want something done you should do it yourself” and “any real change implies the breakup of the world, as one has always known it.” This is that something and that is this change.

Not That But This Art and Culture is made possible with the support from the Idea Fund, a re-granting program administered by DiverseWorks, Aurora Picture Show, and Project Row Houses and funded by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.
Nathaniel Donnett – founder
Jamal Cyrus– contributing founder
Kenya Evans- contributing founder
Autumn Knight– contributing founder
Robert A. Pruitt– contributing founder
M’Kina Tapscott– contributing founder
the idea fund logo