Tag Archives: African Diaspora

360 interactive virtual tour of KESHA BRUCE’s solo “We Can Birth Worlds”

25 Mar

Deeply inspired by her spiritual practice and surroundings in the Arizona desert, Kesha Bruce creates reflective and rich artworks intended to be visual landscapes to dream into in her solo exhibition We Can Birth Worlds.

 

 

About We Can Birth Worlds
Kesha Bruce’s work explores the complex connections between history, personal mythology, and magical-spiritual belief in the African diaspora. Her latest work is concerned primarily with exploring the ways vibrant color and abstract symbols can not only trigger powerful emotion but begin to conjure narratives.

Inspired by the belief that hand-made objects can be imbued with the spiritual energy and the intention of the maker, Kesha Bruce employs a labor-intensive creative process of dying, ripping, knotting and the cutting away of fabric to create each painting. The resulting pieced, patched, and assembled surfaces use repetition and pattern to hint at dream languages or perhaps hidden sacred texts.

A direct outgrowth of her daily spiritual practice, these new works are an effort to translate the expansiveness of the artist’s inner joy and reclamation of freedom into a visual language.
With We Can Birth Worlds, Kesha Bruce aims to create visual landscapes to dream into. Landscapes for present and future Black joy, possibility, and liberation.

 

 

 

About KESHA BRUCE

Born and raised in Iowa, she completed a BFA from the University of Iowa before earning an MFA in painting from Hunter College in New York City.
Kesha Bruce has been awarded fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), The Vermont Studio Center, The CAMAC Foundation, and the Puffin Foundation.
Her work is included in the collections of The Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture (14 pieces), The Amistad Center for Art and Culture, The University of Iowa Women’s Center, The En Foco Photography Collection, and MOMA’s Franklin Furnace Artist Book Collection.

Represented since 2011, We Can Birth Worlds is her seventh solo exhibition at Morton Fine Art.

Available Artwork by KESHA BRUCE

 

About Morton Fine Art

Founded in 2010 in Washington, DC by curator Amy Morton, 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 art collecting can be cultivated through an educational stance, MFA’s mission is to provide accessibility to museum-quality contemporary art through a combination of substantive exhibitions and a welcoming platform for dialogue and exchange of original voice. Morton Fine Art specializes in a stellar roster of nationally and internationally renowned artists as well as has an additional focus on artwork of the African Diaspora.

Morton Fine Art
52 O St NW #302
Washington, DC 20001

Wed – Sat 12pm-5pm
Sun-Tues by appointment

**Hours are currently suspended to prevent further community spread of COVID-19. Virtual tours and detail images and video available upon request. We are still conducting business in a different and safe way.**

 

 

Morton Fine Art celebrates 10 years of artist partnerships and placing artwork!

16 Jan

THANK YOU to all of our wonderful partner artists, colleagues and collectors who have shared in MFA and *a pop-up project’s journey over the last decade. It’s wonderful to celebrate 10 years together!

 

 

From our first *a pop-up project by Morton Fine Art on E St NW in Penn Quarter in 2010 – WE APPRECIATE YOU!

 

To nearly 9 years on Florida Ave NW in Adams Morgan, 2010-2018, WE APPRECIATE YOU!

 

 

 

 

To our current home at 52 O St NW in NoMA, 2018 onward – WE APPRECIATE YOU!

Cheers to many more years together at Morton Fine Art

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Celebrating 10 years of placing exceptional contemporary art in global private and public collections.

Founded in 2010 in Washington, DC by curator Amy Morton, 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 art collecting can be cultivated through an educational stance, MFA’s mission is to provide accessibility to museum-quality contemporary art through a combination of substantive exhibitions and a welcoming platform for dialogue and exchange of original voice. Morton Fine Art specializes in a stellar roster of nationally and internationally renowned artists as well as has an additional focus on artwork of the African Diaspora.

Morton Fine Art Location: 52 O St. NW #302, Washington, DC 20001

Hours: Weds-Sat: 12pm – 5pm; Sun – Tues: by appointment

Contact: (202) 628-2787, mortonfineart@gmail.com

Morton Fine Art exhibits MICHAEL BOOKER & AMBER ROBLES-GORDON at Prizm Art Fair 2019

25 Nov

 

Morton Fine Art at Prizm Art Fair this December during Miami Art Week
December 2 – 8, 2019

Prizm Art Fair
Morton Fine Art – Booth 3
Alfred I. DuPont Building
169 East Flagler St.
Miami, Florida

Morton Fine Art will be introducing fine liner ink drawings of MICHAEL BOOKER alongside mixed media artworks by AMBER ROBLES-GORDON.

 

MICHAEL BOOKER, Show Me the Wisdom In Your Movements, 2019, 30″x22″, fineliner pen, watercolor and collage on paper and Yupo

Available Artwork by MICHAEL BOOKER

 

 

 

AMBER ROBLES-GORDON, Their Eyes of God, 2018, 36″x36″, ink drawing and collage on paper

Available Artwork by AMBER ROBLES-GORDON

 

VICTOR EKPUK’s recently created “Mother Series”

18 Sep

We are very excited to announce the arrival of three new mixed media on paper creations by internationally renowned artist, VICTOR EKPUK. The three new works are from his “Mother Series” which were created this year during his time in the US.

 

VICTOR EKPUK, Mother Series 1, 2019, 25.5″x20″, acrylic, graphite and collage on paper, Contact for price.

 

 

VICTOR EKPUK, Mother Series 2, 2019, 25.5″x20″, acrylic and collage on paper, Contact for price.

 

 

VICTOR EKPUK, Mother Series 3, 2019,25.5″x20″, acrylic, graphite and collage on paper, Contact for price.

 

About VICTOR EKPUK

Victor Ekpuk is a Nigerian-American artist based in Washington, DC.

His art, which began as an exploration of nsibidi “traditional” graphics and writing systems in Nigeria, has evolved to embrace a wider spectrum of meaning that is rooted in African and global contemporary art discourses.

Guided by the aesthetic philosophy nsibidi, where sign systems are used to convey ideas, Ekpuk re-imagines graphic symbols from diverse cultures to form a personal style of mark making that results in the interplay of art and writing.

Ekpuk’s art reflects his experiences as a global artist – “The subject matter of my work deals with the human condition explained through themes that are both universal and specific: family, gender, politics, culture and Identity”.

 

Mr. EKPUK’s artwork can be found the permanent collection of the following museums and institutions:

Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture, Washington, DC, USA

Smithsonian Museum of African Art, Washington DC, USA

Krannert Art Museum, USA

Hood Museum, USA

Brooks Museum, USA

Arkansas Art Center, USA

Newark Museum, New Jersey, USA

The World Bank, Washington DC, USA

University of Maryland University College Art Collection, USA

The U.S. Department of State

 

Link to available artwork by VICTOR EKPUK

 

Morton Fine Art

52 O St NW #302

Washington, DC 20001

+ 001 (202) 628-2787

mortonfineart@gmail.com

http://www.mortonfineart.com

Get to know MFA’s new artist MICHAEL A. BOOKER

3 Aug

 

Morton Fine Art is pleased to announce  we now represent the artwork of MICHAEL A. BOOKER. Please explore his video above which explores the inspiration and process of his incredible creations.

 

STATEMENT

My work is a creation of a parallel utopic, afro-futuristic community, told through a series of fineliner pen drawings.  As a form of escapism, this utopic world is crafted within and around the figures themselves by weaving natural environments into the people of this community.  Culturally significant hairstyles and clothing function as symbolic conduits; objects through which I begin to imagine and build this “afrotopia” as both a physical place and as an outer projection of an inner consciousness. – MICHAEL A. BOOKER, 2019

 

BIOGRAPHY

Michael Booker is a mixed media artist originally from Jackson, Mississippi that currently resides in Maryland. He received his BFA in Studio Art – Painting from Mississippi State University in 2008, and received his MFA in Studio Art from University of Maryland in 2012.  He has exhibited in various galleries across Mississippi, Alabama, North Carolina, Maine, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC. His work has been acquired by the David C. Driskell Center in College Park, MD.  Currently, he is an Assistant Professor of Art at Montgomery College Takoma Park/Silver Spring.  Booker is represented by Morton Fine Art in Washington, DC.

 

Available artwork by MICHAEL A. BOOKER

 

Contact Morton Fine Art for acquisition or additional information.

 

Morton Fine Art

52 O St NW #302

Washington, DC 20001

(202) 628-2787

http://www.mortonfineart.com

mortonfineart@gmail.com

 

SHOW US YOUR WALL – The New York Times feature on the art collection of Tony Gyepi-Garbrah and Desirée Venn Frederic including VICTOR EKPUK

1 Aug

THE NEW YORK TIMES

 

SHOW US YOUR WALL

Collecting to Explore ‘Origin, Culture, Form, Function and Race’

This Washington couple has floor-to-ceiling art as well as wearable creations and folk art curiosities.

Tony Gyepi-Garbrah and Desirée Venn Frederic at their residence in Washington.
Credit Ting Shen for The New York Times

By 

WASHINGTON — Desirée Venn Frederic and Tony Gyepi-Garbrah live in a light-filled apartment in the Trinidad neighborhood of Northeast Washington that is small in size but grand in scope.

The charcoal walls, stretching up to 15-foot ceilings, hold dozens of paintings, prints, photographs, 100-year-old textiles, collages, drawings, pastels, ceramics and antiques, conferring a museumlike aura on the home.

Ms. Venn Frederic is wearing art as well. Her floor-length slip dress, by the Brooklyn-based designer Fe Noel and the Chicago painter Harmonia Rosales, incorporates the image of a Yoruba deity, Oshun. Ms. Venn Frederic said the appeal of the dress was in its “fanciful and disruptive” character.

When the couple met four years ago, they were acquiring art individually. “One of the reasons I took an interest in Tony was because he understood legacy-building with art,” she said. She and Mr. Gyepi-Garbrah, 39, plan to marry later this year.

He is a first-generation American born to Ghanaian parents who works as an information technology engineer. He is also a photographer and painter.

She is of Geechee and Maroon ancestry. She was born in Freetown, Sierra Leone, and raised in Montgomery County, Md. Through her company, Combing Cotton, she pursues her interest in social equity.

“God Head” (2011), top, and “Untitled (Red and Black)” (2010), by Victor Ekpuk.
Credit Ting Shen for The New York Times

She also envisions creating a museum of fashion and related ephemera.

These are edited excerpts from the conversation.

TONY GYEPI-GARBRAH In true salon style, 75 art aficionados, collectors and artists stood shoulder-to-shoulder talking art, art, art.

How do you select works to buy?

DESIRÉE VENN FREDERIC Meticulously. I don’t merely collect what I like. I’m attracted to works that challenge the linear understandings of origin, culture, form, function and race. I call these aesthetic triggers.

GYEPI-GARBRAH We buy from galleries, art fairs and auctions. We also scour estate sales and private vintage collections. Often we buy directly from the studios of artists with whom we build friendships. I do a lot of research before acquisitions.

Is there a piece with an interesting back story?

GYEPI-GARBRAH The two mixed-media works by Victor Ekpuk. I went oversees to Galerie SANAA in Utrecht, the Netherlands, to acquire “God Head.” During that time I discovered that Ekpuk was represented by Morton Fine Art [in Washington]. They had “Untitled (Red and Black),” so I bought it too. Now the pair is in conversation. Ekpuk lives in Washington and we’ve become friends.

Figurative wood sculptures, made in Ivory Coast.

Credit Ting Shen for The New York Times

Top, “Chocolate City” (2010), by Steven M. Cummings, and “Inventions & Patents” (2014), by Charles Philippe Jean Pierre.

Credit Ting Shen for The New York Times

Those little wood statues lined up against the wall on the floor look like toys.

VENN FREDERIC They’re Colon figurative sculptures depicting occupations — policeman, doctor, baker — held by colonists in the Ivory Coast between 1893 and 1920. I have a collection of 150.

Your photos capture images that span decades and can be read as a history of our times. How do you think photography represents both society today and in the past?

GYEPI-GARBRAH Photography is a visual documentation of fleeting moments and changing landscapes, and, in this vein, we believe Steven M. Cummings is a master. “Chocolate City” speaks to forced migrations and the displacement of African-Americans from their native lands.

“Fred Meets Fred” is an oversized black-and-white double image of Frederick Douglass that contrasts past and present. A chain dangling lengthwise from top to bottom of the picture separates the two Douglasses. The bicycle wheel symbolizes change and continuance of time.

A sofa in the apartment by Sharla Hammond.
Credit Ting Shen for The New York Times

VENN FREDERIC We acquired the couch from the visual and textile artist Sharla Hammond, who was inspired by “Afro Blue” [a jazz composition recorded by John Coltrane]. The fabric depicts the heads of five Afro-clad icons — Angela Davis, Betty Davis, Pam Grier, Minnie Riperton and Diana Ross.

Above the couch that black-and-white painting seems very in-your-face.

VENN FREDERIC It’s “Cow in the Field” by Andrew Cressman. We operated a gallery in Washington and exhibited his works. I continually approached this painting with a sense of wonder and bought it after the show [in 2015]. It takes up a lot of our wall real estate. I appreciate that some pieces overwhelm, and this is one.

Read the New York Times article in full.

 

Available artwork by VICTOR EKPUK. 

 

Morton Fine Art

52 O St NW #302

Washington, DC 20001

(202) 628-2787

http://www.mortonfineart.com

mortonfineart@gmail.com

CNN Style interviews artist VICTOR EKPUK

27 Jun

https://www.cnn.com/style/article/victor-ekpuk-exhibition-get-up-stand-up/index.html

 

Arts

Artist Victor Ekpuk’s mesmerizing mural pays homage to African writing systems

Published 26th June 2019

Written by Milly Chan, CNN

On the opening day of “Get Up, Stand Up Now — Generations of Black Creative Pioneers,” lines of visitors snaked around the courtyard of London’s Somerset House.

The landmark exhibition celebrates the last half-century of African diasporan artists, who have often been denied the recognition they deserve. And if the crowds are anything to go by, the acknowledgment is long overdue.

Among the more than 100 participating artists — from across multiple disciplines and generations — is Nigerian-American painter Victor Ekpuk. His room-sized installation, “Shrine to Wisdom,” invites visitors to sit and learn, while immersed in one of his signature murals, which is based on an ancient writing system.

CNN caught up with Ekpuk to discuss whether his afro-futuristic art pre-empted “Black Panther,” and why we need more platforms to champion black creativity.

CNN: Let’s talk about your new installation at Somerset House, “Shrine to Wisdom.” Why did you create this mural?

Victor Ekpuk: I was contacted by Zak Ové, the curator, to contribute to the exhibition because of the nature of my work — my large murals look at futuristic ideas of learning and knowledge. I write these glyphs inspired by ancient writing systems in (what is now) Nigeria. They are actually knowledge-based art forms called “Nsibidi.”

People come into the room and feel like they are in a sacred space where they should learn something. They’re always eager to know what the symbols mean. The idea was to have an interactive space were people would walk in and be engulfed, (and) feel like they are in the womb of this knowledge. You are engulfed in entirety in writing.

What originally drew you to Nsibidi symbols?

Way back when I was in art school, there was a push for students to look closer to Nigerian traditions. I came to Nsibidi because it’s my direct tradition: I’m from Nigeria. Also its one of the earliest forms of writing or knowledge.

Do your individual glyphs all have meanings?

I’m not necessarily using the traditional symbols in my work. I’ve crafted my own “language,” in making my own abstract marks. There’s also the sense of reducing ideas to their essence, because that’s what the art form is about — to reduce ideas or concepts to graphic symbols.

It’s not like the Roman alphabet, where graphic symbols represent sounds, and when they are put together they make a word which explains a concept. In this form of writing, the graphic symbols represent ideas.

This work has been described as afro-futuristic — would you say this is a fitting description?

Yes, it is definitely afro-futuristic. In a sense, Nsibidi themselves are afro-futuristic signs and technology. You see it in “Black Panther’ — (in) the symbols they used in the palace and on the clothes the actors were wearing. Even bracelets had beads with inscriptions of Nsibidi and other African graphic systems. And each of those beads were power systems that could be used as a weapon, or as a seed to create more.

“Black Panther’ plays into the rethinking of the presentation of African knowledge. I was doing it before the movie. Since I left college I’ve been making work in that style.

With films like “Blank Panther” and exhibitions celebrating black creativity — do you think there is a movement to rethink how African knowledge is presented?

I think so. It makes it easier for me to talk about my work. If I reference a blockbuster movie like “Black Panther,” people have already seen an example of how ancient African graphic systems are used as power symbols. It gives me an angle to talk to someone who has never experienced my culture.

It’s mesmerizing to watch you drawing all over the walls in such an all-encompassing space. What’s going through your mind as you create the symbols?

I’m trying to let my hands catch up with what’s going on in my head at that time. It takes a lot out of me, mentally and physically. There’s only so much the physical body can do! But I do not plan … the next mark, it just flows. I do pre-plan the concept, but when I actually arrive at the space, I don’t make sketches.

What does it mean to you to be part of the “Get Up, Stand Up Now” exhibition?

It’s very significant for me. I believe as an African, as somebody who grew up in non-Western society, it always seems like our voices are not being heard. We’ve experienced a lot of appropriation of the ideas of African creativity, but haven’t had the creators at the center. Until now, when you talk about British art, for instance, very rarely do you see black names associated with it.

As an African in the diaspora, I share in this history of artists not being appreciated — not because their work is not good, but because of the color of their skin. So maybe this exhibit gives an opportunity for a dialog to begin to change. It’s a conversation that’s going on throughout the world. The United States is having that conversation too. Museums in the United States are becoming more inclusive, and they’re having large exhibitions of African American artists, and Africa diaspora artists, that before now have not been represented.

“Get Up, Stand Up Now — Generations of Black Creative Pioneers” is on until Sept. 15, 2019, at London’s Somerset House. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Available artwork by VICTOR EKPUK

 

"Shrine to Wisdom" an installation by Viktor Ekpuk, part of "Get Up, Stand Up Now ---- Generations of Black Creative Pioneers"

Artist Victor Ekpuk’s mesmerizing mural pays homage to African writing systems
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photo courtesy of CNN