Tag Archives: Amber Robles-Gordon

Virtual Gallery Talk: Successions: Traversing US Colonialism September 14, 6-7PM ETDC mixed-media artist Amber Robles-Gordon talks Successions with curator Larry Ossei-Mensah at American University

10 Sep

Collage by Amber Robles-GordonA
American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center Fall exhibitions are on view through December 12. View our exhibitions, hours, and health and safety protocols.
Plan Your VisitInstallation view of "Successions"
Virtual Gallery Talk: Successions: Traversing US Colonialism
September 14, 6-7PM ETDC mixed-media artist Amber Robles-Gordon talks Successions with curator Larry Ossei-Mensah.

Successions is a conceptual juxtaposition that celebrates abstraction as an art form while leveraging it as a tool to interrogate past and current US policies within its federal district (Washington, DC) and territories (including Guam, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands) that it controls. This event will be held virtually. Please register to receive the Zoom link via email.RegisterRead the Exhibition Catalog Online

Featuring essays by curator Larry Ossei-Mensah and Noel W Anderson.Ossei-Mensah headshot#AskACuratorDay
Featuring Successions curator Larry Ossei-Mensah

#AskACuratorDay is Wednesday, September 15! Larry will be on Twitter to answer your questions about Successions, his career as an independent curator, and more. Tweet your questions to @aumuseum_katzen and @youngglobal using hashtag #AskACuratorDay.Feminist Art History Conference
Online September 24-26

The conference builds on the legacy of feminist art-historical scholarship and pedagogy initiated by Norma Broude and Mary D. Garrard at American University. With the goal of fostering a broad dialogue on feminist art-historical practice, the event will feature papers spanning a range of chronological, geographic, and intersectional topics.RegisterPlease consider making a contribution by becoming a member. No gift is too small, and your support matters now more than ever before.Give NowImages (top-bottom):

Amber Robles-Gordon, y mi bandera vuela mas alto que la tuya, and my flag flies higher than yours, 2020. Mixed media collage on canvas, 18 x 24 in. Courtesy of the artist.

Installation view of Successions: Traversing US Colonialism. Courtesy of Greg Staley. 

Ossei-Mensah headshot, photo credit: Anthony Artis.
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AMBER ROBLES-GORDON’s “Successions” solo at American University featured in Culture Type, Curated by Larry Ossei-Mensah

7 Sep

From California to Chicago, Tennessee to Maine, 15 of Summer’s Best Museum Exhibitions Remain on View This Fall

by VICTORIA L. VALENTINE on Sep 6, 2021 • 6:58 am

A BROAD SELECTION of exhibitions opened at art museums throughout the United States over the summer months. A great number of these shows remain on view, some through September, others further into the fall and beyond. Major traveling exhibitions of Bob Thompson, Joseph Yoakum, and Alma Thomas are underway. The first solo museum exhibitions of Caroline Kent and Simphiwe Ndzube are debuting in Chicago and Denver, while the first survey exhibitions of Jamal Cyrus and Jacolby Satterwhite are on view in Houston and Pittsburgh. Jennifer Packer and Cauline Smith have shows in Los Angels and Houston. In Nashville, a major retrospective of legendary sculptor William Edmondson is being staged, the first such presentation in two decades:


ARNOLD JOSEPH KEMP, Possible Bibliography, 2015-20 (52 black and white archival inkjet prints Canson Infinity Platine Fibre Rag; unique closed edition. 6.83 x 10 inches each. | © Arnold Joseph Kemp. Fine Art Collection, Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art. Photo courtesy artist and Fourteen30 Contemporary, Portland

“Arnold Joseph Kemp: I would survive. I could survive. I should survive.” @ Manetti Shrem Museum of Art, University of California, Davis | June 3–Nov. 12, 2021

A one gallery show, “I would survive. I could survive. I should survive,” consists of photography, two paintings, and a sculpture by Chicago artist Arnold Joseph Kemp. The presentation is anchored by “Possible Bibliography” (2015-20), a grid-style installation of 52 photographs. In each of the images, Kemp’s hands are holding a book from his personal library by Hilton Als, James Baldwin, W.E.B. Du Bois, Okwui Enwezor, Glenn Ligon, Toni Morrison, Fred Moten, Adrian Piper, and Robert Farris Thompson, among many other authors. The work explores “how histories and canons impact and are impacted by the personal, the political, and the collective.”


Installation view of “Jamal Cyrus: The End of My Beginning,” Blaffer Art Museum, Houston, Texas (June 5-Sept. 26, 2021). | Courtesy Blaffer Art Museum

“Jamal Cyrus: The End of My Beginning” @ Blaffer Art Museum at University of Houston, Texas | June 5-Sept. 26, 2021

The first survey exhibition of Houston artist Jamal Cyrus spans 15 years, from 2005 to 2021. The recipient of the 2020 Driskell Prize, Cyrus considers how African American identity has evolved across time, borders, and Black political movements. More than 50 works are on view, spanning work on paper and denim, assemblage works, textiles, collage, installation, and performance. The exhibition is presented in partnership with “Levels & Layers: An Artist’s Reflections on Third Ward,” curated by Cyrus at the University Museum at Texas Southern University.


JOSEPH YOAKUM, “Rain Bow Bridge in in Bryce Canyon National Park near Henriville Utah,” stamped 1968. | Collection of the Roger Brown Study Collection

“Joseph E. Yoakum: What I Saw” @ Art Institute of Chicago in Illinois | June 12-Oct. 18, 2021

Born in Ash Grove, Mo., Joseph E. Yoakum (1891–1972), traveled internationally with several circuses and, during World War I, served in an all–African American noncombat unit in Europe. Living on Chicago’s South Side at age 71, he began drawing fascinating landscapes based in part on observations from his travels, but largely influenced by his imagination and spiritual vision. Over the next decade, he produced about 2,000 works. More than 100 of the pen, pencil, pastel, and watercolor on paper works are featured in “What I Saw.” The exhibition travels next to the Museum of Modern Art in New York and then on to the Menil Collection in Houston, Texas.


Installation view of “Simphiwe Ndzube: Oracles of the Pink Universe,” Denver Art Museum, Denver, Colo., June 13-Oct. 10, 2021. Shown, from left, “The Bloom of the Corpse Flower,” 2020 (acrylic paint on canvas and mixed media, 94 1/2 x 79 inches) and “Bhekizwe Riding through the Garden of Earthly Delights,” 2020 (polyurethane resin, found spade, welded steel, found clothing and cloth, wood, acrylic paint, silicone, spray paint, foam coat, and acrylic eyes). | Courtesy Denver Art Museum

“Simphiwe Ndzube: Oracles of the Pink Universe” @ Denver Art Museum in Colorado | June 13-Oct. 10, 2021

The first U.S. solo museum exhibition of Simphiwe Ndzube features a new body of work—eight paintings, sculpture, and sculptural paintings. The exhibition “integrates themes related to power, conflict, and the search for freedom through a Pink Universe,” a fantasy world invented by the artist that draws on magical realism and post-apartheid history. South African-born Ndzube lives and works in Los Angeles.


JENNIFER PACKER, “Idle Hands,” 2021 (oil on canvas, 90 x 84 inches / 228.6 x 213.36 cm). | The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Purchase with funds provided by the Acquisition and Collection Committee. 2021. Image courtesy Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York, Corvi-Mora, London

“Jennifer Packer: Every Shut Eye Ain’t Sleep” @ Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles in Calif. | July 1, 2021-Feb. 21, 2022

Jennifer Packer makes poetic portraits and floral still lifes. Her first exhibition on the West Coast, “Every Shut Eye Ain’t Sleep” features new and recent drawings and paintings by the New York-based artist.

The exhibition follows “Jennifer Packer: The Eye is Not Satisfied with Seeing” at Serpentine Galleries in London, Packer’s first solo show outside the United States. This fall, the traveling exhibition opens at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.


Installation view of “Alma Thomas: Everything is Beautiful,” Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, Va. (July 9-Oct. 3, 2021). | Courtesy Chrysler Museum of Art

“Alma W. Thomas: Everything Is Beautiful” @ Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, Va. | July 9 – Oct. 3, 2021

The first African American woman to have a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York (1972), Alma Thomas is associated with her adopted hometown of Washington, D.C., and celebrated for her large-scale, vibrantly colored abstract paintings made in the latter years of her life. “Everything is Beautiful” looks at her career through a wider lens, exploring the full spectrum of her creativity—her paintings, as well as her love of fashion, gardening, teaching, performing arts, and more. Accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog, the traveling exhibition also focuses on her roots in Columbus, Ga., where she was born.


Installation view of “Toward Common Cause,” Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago (July 15-Dec. 19, 2021). Shown, Rick Lowe’s “Black Wall Street Journey.” | Courtesy Smart Museum of Art

“Toward Common Cause: Art, Social Change, and the MacArthur Fellows Program at 40” @ Smart Museum of Art, The University of Chicago | July 15–Dec. 19, 2021

On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the McArthur Foundation Fellows Program, “Toward Common Cause” presents new and re-contextualized works by 29 visual artists and former fellows, including Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Dawoud Bey, Mark Bradford, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Whitfield Lovell, Rick Lowe, Kerry James Marshall, Julie Mehretu, Kara Walker, Carrie Mae Weems, Deborah Willis, and Fred Wilson. Presented at multiple venues throughout Chicago, the Smart Museum is the main site with related programming including “Carrie Mae Weems: A Land of Broken Dreams” at the University of Chicago’s Logan Center and “Toward Common Cause at the Stony Island Arts Bank.”


CAULEEN SMITH, “Camera, Pen, or Gun?,” 2017 (recto/verso: satin, poly-satin, silk-rayon velvet, indigo-dyed silk rayon velvet, indigo-dyed silk satin, rayon- polyester ribbon, acrylic fabric paint, satin cord, poly-silk tassel, and sequins, 73 x 47 inches). | The Mohn Family Trust

“Cauleen Smith: We Already Have What We Need” @ Contemporary Art Museum Houston in Texas | July 15-Oct. 3, 2021

Over the course of her career, Los Angeles-based artist Cauleen Smith “has harnessed acts of imagination and the power of revolutionary thinking to envision a better world.” Her latest exhibition features film, video, sculpture, textiles, installation, and drawing. The show’s title (“We Already Have What We Need”) is adapted from the video installation at the center of the presentation, which reminds us to take care of each other and the planet in order to sustain our existence. The theme carries throughout the works in the exhibition, emphasizing “acts of caring as antidotes to the injustices and inequities that shape our past and present.”

The exhibition coincides with “Give It or Leave It,” the traveling exhibition currently on view at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and “Cauleen Smith: Stars in My Pocket and the Rent is Due” at Charles White Elementary School. The site of the original campus of Otis Art Institute is now a satellite venue of LACMA.


BOB THOMPSON, “Stairway to the Stars,” circa 1962 (oil and photostat on Masonite, 40 × 60 inches / 101.6 × 152.4 cm). | Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC, New York. © Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC, New York

“Bob Thompson: This House Is Mine” @ Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, Maine | July 20, 2021–Jan. 9, 2022

“This House Is Mine” is only the second museum retrospective of Bob Thompson (1937–1966) and the first dedicated to the artist in more than 20 years. Born in Louisville, Ky., his transatlantic career was highly productive during the short period he was active, from 1958-1966. Featuring paintings and works on paper drawn from more than 50 public and private collections, the exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog.


From left, LAURA WHEELER WARING, “Woman Wearing Orange Scarf,” 1940 (oil on canvas, 17 x 12 inches); and MAY HOWARD JACKSON, “Portrait Bust of an African,” 1899 (bronze, 21 x 12.75 inches). | Courtesy Tacoma Art Museum

“The Kinsey African American Art & History Collection” @ Tacoma Art Museum in Washington | July 31-Nov. 28, 2021

The Kinsey African American Art & History Collection has toured the world. Currently on view in Tacoma, Wash., the collection explores the African American experience through paintings, sculpture, photographs, rare books, letters, and manuscripts. The works date from 1595 to present. Unrivaled by other private collections, the holdings were assembled by Shirley and Bernard Kinsey over five decades.


Installation view of “Chicago Works: Caroline Kent,” MCA Chicago (Aug 3, 2021–Apr 3, 2022). | Photo by Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago

“Chicago Works: Caroline Kent” @ Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago | Aug. 3, 2021-April 3, 2022

The first solo museum exhibition of Chicago artist Caroline Kent is a site-specific installation titled “Victoria/Veronica: Making Room.” Staged in an immersive domestic environment, the presentation features large-scale abstract paintings, sculptures, sound, and architectural interventions.


WILLIAM EDMONDSON (American, 1874-1951), “Bess and Joe,” circa 1930-40 (limestone, 17 ¼ × 20 ¼ × 10 ½ inches). | Gift of Salvatore Formosa Sr., Mrs. Pete Formosa Sr., and Mrs. Rose Formosa Bromley and Museum Purchase through the Stallworth Bequest

“The Sculpture of William Edmondson: Tombstones, Garden Ornaments, and Stonework” @ Cheekwood Estate & Gardens, Nashville, Tenn. | Aug. 12-Oct. 31, 2021

The first major museum exhibition of Tennessee-born William Edmondson (c. 1874-1951) in 20 years draws from public and private collections and features 20 works from Cheekwood, the largest repository of the artist’s work. After retiring from a series of manual labor jobs, Edmondson received a divine calling and began carving chunks of salvaged limestone and street curbs into modernist sculptures, gravestones, and garden ornaments. In 1937, he became the first African American artist to have a solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. A new fully illustrated catalog accompanies the exhibition.


JACOLBY SATTERWHITE, “We Are In Hell When We Hurt Each Other,” 2020 (HD digital video). | © Jacolby Satterwhite, Courtesy the artist

“Jacolby Satterwhite: Spirits Roaming on the Earth” @ Miller Institute for Contemporary Art at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pa. | Aug. 14-Dec. 5, 2021

The first major solo exhibition of Jacolby Satterwhite, “Spirits Roaming on the Earth” surveys 10 years of his conceptual practice, spanning video, sculpture, installations, dance tracks, and performance. A new monograph titled “How lovly is me being as I am” accompanies the exhibition.


DAVID HARTT, “The Histories (after Duncanson),” 2020 (tapestry: polyester, cotton, wool, polyester cotton, acrylic, cashmere, 113 1/16 × 174 inches / 287.2 × 442 cm). | Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, gift of Kerry James Marshall and Cheryl Lynn Bruce, 2021.13

“Hammer Projects: David Hartt” @ Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, Calif. | Aug. 21, 2021-Jan. 2, 2022

David Hartt’s single gallery show is a multimedia installation “examining the relationships between culture, geography, and colonial histories in the Americas in the 19th century.” The installation employs sound and textiles, including a tapestry based on “Blue Hole on the Little Miami River” (1851), the painting by Robert S. Duncanson (1821–1872). A Canadian artist, Hartt lives and works in Philadelphia.


AMBER ROBLES-GORDON, “The eternal altar for the women forsaken and souls relinquished. Yet the choice must always remain hers. El altar eterno de las mujeres abandonadas y las almas renunciadas. Sin embargo, la elección siempre debe ser de ella.,” 2020 (mixed media collage on canvas, 18 x 24 inches). | © Amber Robles-Gordon, Courtesy the artist

“Successions: Traversing US Colonialism: Amber Robles-Gordon” @ American University Museum, Washington, D.C. | Aug. 28-Dec. 12, 2021

“Successions” presents abstract paintings, collages, and quilts produced by Washington-D.C.-based artist Amber Robles-Gordon in 2020 and 2021. Using the tools of abstraction, Robles-Gordon questions “who has access to resources, citizenship, and the right to sovereignty,” in the District of Columbia, where voting representation in Congress remain elusive, and the U.S. territories of Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands,. Curated by Larry Ossei-Mensah, the exhibition is accompanied by a new publication. CT

BOOKSHELF
“The Sculpture of William Edmondson: Tombstones, Garden Ornaments, and Stonework” documents the retrospective hosted by Cheekwood Estate & Gardens. The new fully illustrated catalogs, “Bob Thompson: This House is Mine” and “Alma W. Thomas: Everything is Beautiful” accompany major traveling exhibitions. “Joseph E. Yoakum: What I Saw” documents the exhibition of the same name, another traveling show. “Oracles Of The Pink Universe: Simphiwe Ndzube” accompanies the artist’s first solo museum exhibition. “Jennifer Packer: The Eye Is Not Satisfied with Seeing” and “Jacolby Satterwhite: How lovly is me being as I am” are forthcoming in November. “Jamal Cyrus: The End of My Beginning” is forthcoming in January. “David Hartt: The Histories” is forthcoming in February. Earlier publications include “David Hartt: For Everyone a Garden” and “Stray Light,” a time capsule that assembles Hartt’s photographs of the Johnson Publishing Building in Chicago, shortly before it was sold. Also consider, The Kinsey Collection.

Successions: Traversing US Colonialism | Amber Robles-Gordon | American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center | Curated by Larry Ossei-Mensah

21 Jul

August 28, 2021 – December 12, 2021

Amber Robles-Gordon presents Successions: Traversing US Colonialism, a solo exhibition on view at the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center in fall 2021. Successions is a conceptual juxtaposition that celebrates abstraction as an art form while leveraging it as a tool to interrogate past and current US policies within its federal district (Washington, DC) and territories (including Guam, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands) that it controls. By highlighting nuances related to US governance in its federal districts and territories, Robles-Gordon seeks to question who has access to resources, citizenship, and the right to sovereignty.

Robles-Gordon creates artwork imbued with a layered visual language replete with cultural signifiers and abstract gestures. Successions is a celebration of abstraction as an artistic expression. Robles-Gordon utilizes iconic artists like Robert Rauschenberg, Alma Thomas, Romare Bearden, and members of the Washington Color School as vivid reference points for her own dynamic use of color, form, and material within the works she created for the exhibition. These explorations will provide insights into a number of inquiries that undergird the construction of the exhibition. Successions creates a pathway towards discursive criticism around issues impacting marginalized communities oppressed by the United States’ hegemonic domestic and foreign policies. The exhibition features a new body of colorful abstract paintings, collages, and quilts created in 2020 and 2021 between San Juan, Puerto Rico (Robles-Gordon’s birthplace) and Washington, DC (where she currently lives).

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Robles-Gordon’s creative strategies were directly impacted as a result of sheltering in place in San Juan. The lack of access to materials and arduous circumstances she was confronted with in Puerto Rico and upon returning to Washington, DC catalyzed Robles-Gordon to improvise her approach to making works for the exhibition. Moreover, the experience heightened her awareness of how communities on the margin are adversely treated during moments of crisis.

Robles-Gordon’s also uses works featured in Successions to mine the stories, personal narratives, and aesthetics of the women of the Caribbean, particularly of African descent, in an effort to investigate the political, socio-economic, and environmental implications of placemaking, contemporary colonial policy, and notions of citizenship on these social groups. The debate over DC statehood, similar to Puerto Rico, has been a prevalent point of contention in the District but rarely featured in the national conversation. Robles-Gordon seeks to use her “backyard” as a metaphor that would expand our understanding of notions of freedom, liberty, and justice.

A fully illustrated catalog with essays by Ossei-Mensah and Noel Anderson and in-person and virtual programs will accompany the exhibition, enriching the viewer’s experience.

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Amber Robles-Gordon is a mixed media visual artist of Puerto Rican and West Indian heritage. She is known for her commissioned temporary and permanent public art installations for numerous government agencies, institutions, universities, and art fairs.

Robles-Gordon has over twenty years of experience exhibiting and in art education, commissioned critiques, lectures, teaching, and exhibition coordination. She received a BS in business administration from Trinity University and an MFA in painting from Howard University, Washington, DC. She has exhibited nationally and internationally, including Germany, Italy, Malaysia, England, and Spain. Robles-Gordon has participated in residencies in Costa Rica, Washington, DC, and at the American Academy in Rome, Italy. Her artwork has been reviewed and featured in numerous magazines, journals, newspapers, and online publications.

Most recently, she held an online solo exhibition at Galeria de Arte, Universidad del Sagrado Corazón, San Juan, Puerto Rico, and was featured by Tafeta Gallery in the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair in London, England, and during London Art Week. In 2022, she will create a traveling exhibition in collaboration with Cultural DC and El Cuadrado Gris Galeria in Puerto Rico.

ABOUT THE CURATOR

Larry Ossei-Mensah uses contemporary art as a vehicle to redefine how we see ourselves and the world around us. A Ghanaian-American curator and cultural critic, Ossei-Mensah has organized exhibitions and programs at commercial and nonprofit spaces around the globe from New York City to Rome, featuring artists including Firelei Baez, Allison Janae Hamilton, Brendan Fernades, Ebony G. Patterson, Modou Dieng, Glenn Kaino, Joiri Minaya and Stanley Whitney. Moreover, Ossei-Mensah has actively documented cultural happenings featuring the most dynamic visual artists working today, including Derrick Adams, Mickalene Thomas, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Federico Solmi, and Kehinde Wiley.

A native of The Bronx, Ossei-Mensah is also the co-founder of ARTNOIR, a 501(c)(3) and global collective of culturalists who design multimodal experiences aimed to engage this generation’s dynamic and diverse creative class. ARTNOIR endeavors to celebrate the artistry and creativity of Black and Brown artists around the world via virtual and in-person experiences. Ossei-Mensah was a contributor to the first-ever Ghanaian Pavilion for the 2019 Venice Biennial with an essay on the work of visual artist Lynette Yiadom-Boakye.

Ossei-Mensah is the former Susanne Feld Hilberry Senior Curator at MOCAD in Detroit and currently serves as Curator-at-Large at Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), where he curated the New York Times heralded exhibition Let Free Ring and A Return: Liberation as Power respectively.       

Ossei-Mensah has been profiled in publications including the New York Times, Artsy, and Cultured Magazine, and was recently named to Artnet’s 2020 Innovator List. Follow him on Instagram at @larryosseimensah and Twitter at @youngglobal.

Available artwork by AMBER ROBLES-GORDON

AMBER ROBLES GORDON’s “Successions: Traversing US Colonialism” at American University

22 Jun

202-885-1300

museum@american.edu

Tues – Sun, 11 a.m – 4 p.m.
Closed Monday
Free admission

Media Inquiries:
AU Communications
aumedia@american.edu
202-885-5950

Successions: Traversing US Colonialism

Amber Robles-Gordon

Curated by Larry Ossei-Mensah
August 29–December 12, 2021

Eternal Altar

The eternal altar for the women forsaken and souls relinquished. Yet the choice must always remain hers. El altar eterno de las mujeres abandonadas y las almas renunciadas. Sin embargo, la elección siempre debe ser de ella., 2020. Mixed media collage on canvas, 18 x 24 in. Courtesy of the artist.

Amber Robles-Gordon presents Successions: Traversing US Colonialism, a solo exhibition on view at the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center in fall 2021. Successions is a conceptual juxtaposition that celebrates abstraction as an art form while leveraging it as a tool to interrogate past and current US policies within its federal district (Washington, DC) and territories (including Guam, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands) that it controlsByhighlighting nuances related to US governance in its federal districts and territories, Robles-Gordon seeks to question who has access to resources, citizenship, and the right to sovereignty.

Robles-Gordon creates artwork imbued with a layered visual language replete with cultural signifiers and abstract gestures. Successions is a celebration of abstraction as an artistic expression. Robles-Gordon utilizes iconic artists like Robert Rauschenberg, Alma Thomas, Romare Bearden, and members of the Washington Color School as vivid reference points for her own dynamic use of color, form, and material within the works she created for the exhibition. These explorations will provide insights into a number of inquiries that undergird the construction of the exhibition. Successions creates a pathway towards discursive criticism around issues impacting marginalized communities oppressed by the United States’ hegemonic domestic and foreign policies. The exhibition features a new body of colorful abstract paintings, collages, and quilts created in 2020 and 2021 between San Juan, Puerto Rico (Robles-Gordon’s birthplace) and Washington, DC (where she currently lives).

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Robles-Gordon’s creative strategies were directly impacted as a result of sheltering in place in San Juan. The lack of access to materials and arduous circumstances she was confronted with in Puerto Rico and upon returning to Washington, DC catalyzed Robles-Gordon to improvise her approach to making works for the exhibition. Moreover, the experience heightened her awareness of how communities on the margin are adversely treated during moments of crisis.

Robles-Gordon’s also uses works featured in Successions to mine the stories, personal narratives, and aesthetics of the women of the Caribbean, particularly of African descent in an effort to investigate the political, socio-economic, and environmental implications of placemaking, contemporary colonial policy, and notions of citizenship on these social groups. The debate over DC statehood, similar to Puerto Rico, has been a prevalent point of contention in the District but rarely featured in the national conversation. Robles-Gordon seeks to use her “backyard” as a metaphor that would expand our understanding of notions of freedom, liberty, and justice.

A fully illustrated catalog with essays by Ossei-Mensah and Noel Anderson and in-person and virtual programs will accompany the exhibition, enriching the viewer’s experience.

y mi bandara

y mi bandera vuela mas alto que la tuya, 2020. Mixed media collage on canvas, 18 x 24 in. Courtesy of the artist.

Reflexiones

Reflexiones sobre el yo, la virgen maría y el colonialismo, 2020. Mixed media, collage on canvas, 18 x 24 in. Courtesy of the artist.

USVI Political

USVI Political, 2021. Front. Mixed media on quilt, 73 x 78 in. Courtesy of the artist.

DC Political Welcome to the District of Colonialism

DC Political, Welcome to the District of Colonialism, 2021. Front. Mixed media on quilt, 73 x 78 in. Courtesy of the artist.

USVI Spiritual Moko Jumbie

USVI Spiritual, Back, Moko Jumbie: Walk Tall and Heal Forward, 2021. Mixed media on quilt, 73 x 78 in. Courtesy of the artist.

sketch collage

Sketches done throughout residency in Puerto Rico, 2019-20.

Works in Robles-Gordon's studio

Works in Robles-Gordon’s studio.

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Amber Robles-Gordon is a mixed media visual artist of Puerto Rican and West Indian heritage. She is known for her commissioned temporary and permanent public art installations for numerous government agencies, institutions, universities, and art fairs.

Robles-Gordon has over twenty years of experience exhibiting and in art education, commissioned critiques, lectures, teaching, and exhibition coordination. She received a BS in business administration from Trinity University and an MFA in painting from Howard University, Washington, DC. She has exhibited nationally and internationally, including Germany, Italy, Malaysia, England, and Spain. Robles-Gordon has participated in residencies in Costa Rica, Washington, DC, and at the American Academy in Rome, Italy. Her artwork has been reviewed and featured in numerous magazines, journals, newspapers, and online publications.

Most recently, she held an online solo exhibition at Galeria de Arte, Universidad del Sagrado Corazón, San Juan, Puerto Rico, and was featured by Tafeta Gallery in the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair in London, England, and during London Art Week. In 2022, she will create a traveling exhibition in collaboration with Cultural DC and El Cuadrado Gris Galeria in Puerto Rico.    

ABOUT THE CURATOR

Larry Ossei-Mensah uses contemporary art as a vehicle to redefine how we see ourselves and the world around us. A Ghanaian-American curator and cultural critic, Ossei-Mensah has organized exhibitions and programs at commercial and nonprofit spaces around the globe from New York City to Rome, featuring artists including Firelei Baez, Allison Janae Hamilton, Brendan Fernades, Ebony G. Patterson, Modou Dieng, Glenn Kaino, Joiri Minaya and Stanley Whitney. Moreover, Ossei-Mensah has actively documented cultural happenings featuring the most dynamic visual artists working today, including Derrick Adams, Mickalene Thomas, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Federico Solmi, and Kehinde Wiley.

A native of The Bronx, Ossei-Mensah is also the co-founder of ARTNOIR, a 501(c)(3) and global collective of culturalists who design multimodal experiences aimed to engage this generation’s dynamic and diverse creative class. ARTNOIR endeavors to celebrate the artistry and creativity of Black and Brown artists around the world via virtual and in-person experiences. Ossei-Mensah was a contributor to the first-ever Ghanaian Pavilion for the 2019 Venice Biennial with an essay on the work of visual artist Lynette Yiadom-Boakye.

Ossei-Mensah is the former Susanne Feld Hilberry Senior Curator at MOCAD in Detroit and currently serves as Curator-at-Large at Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), where he curated the New York Times heralded exhibition Let Free Ring and A Return: Liberation as Power respectively.       

Ossei-Mensah has been profiled in publications including the New York Times, Artsy, and Cultured Magazine, and was recently named to Artnet’s 2020 Innovator List. Follow him on Instagram at @larryosseimensah and Twitter at @youngglobal.

Amber Robles-Gordon discusses her series “The Temples of My Familiars”

17 Mar

Video by Jarrett Hendrix

“The Temples of My Familiars” series is about the intersections between my identity, the diverse visual languages in my artwork and the narratives they reference. The title is most definitely borrowed from the 1989 Alice Walker novel, The Temple of My Familiar. A womanist narrative about several women of color and their evolutionary process to know self, their identity and their struggle for happiness within a patriarchal society. However, I chose the title because of the distinct visual reference my sculptural geometric-like renderings took on once I inverted them. They became temples, a place of spiritual practice and sacrifice in which I could place my familiars —my visual languages. A place where they could be re-rooted, re-formulated, and take on a new life.

Being an artist has facilitated a very specific type of data collection, visual documentation, analysis and a vast array of methods of self-expression and personal exploration regarding issues that concern me. During a recent journey through past work, contemplations, beginnings and endings; I encountered fragments of myself. These fragments vibrated silently, yet continuously, like piercing questions waiting to be answered. The various languages beckoned and bemoaned to be unified. Once combined, the equations gracefully revealed themselves in harmony. Each artwork, 24 x 18 in, mixed media collage, within the series begins with title “The Temples of My Familiars” and then has a distinct sub-title. -AMBER ROBLES-GORDON, 2019

Contact Morton Fine Art for available artwork by AMBER ROBLES-GORDON.

http://www.mortonfineart.com

AMBER ROBLES-GORDON

(Washington, DC b. Puerto Rico)

EDUCATION

2011 M.F.A., Howard University, Washington, D.C.

2005 B.S. in Business Administration, Trinity College, Washington, D.C.

SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2021 American University, Katzen Arts Center, Washington, DC

2019 Universidad del Sagrado Corazon, San Juan, Puerto Rico 2018 Washington College, Chestertown, MD

2018 Third Eye Open, Morton Fine Art, Washington, D.C.

2017 At the Altar, Arts Center/Gallery Delaware State University, Dover, DE

2017 Pennsylvania College of Art and Design, Lancaster, PA

2012 Milked, Riverviews Art Space, Lynchberg, Virginia

2012 With Every Fiber of My Being, Honfleur Gallery, Washington, D.C.

2011 Milked, National League of American Penn Woman, Washington, D.C.

2011 Wired, Installation and Exhibit, Pleasant Plains Workshop, Washington, D.C.,

2010 Matrices of Transformation, Michael Platt Studio Gallery, Washington, D.C.

2007 Can You Free Me?, Ramee’ Gallery, Washington, D.C.

1997 The Artwork of A. Robles-Gordon, Dance Place Exhibition Space, Wash., D.C.

1995 The Art, The Brittany, Arlington, VA

COLLECTIONS

Judith A. Hoffberg Archive Library, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA

Masterpiece Miniature Art Exhibition, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Capital One Bank, McLean, VA

District of Columbia’s Art Bank, Washington, DC

Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York, NY

The Gautier Family Collection, Washington, DC

Department of General Services, Washington, DC

Martha’s Table, Washington, DC

Democracy Fund, Washington, DC

Art in Embassies Abuja includes Osi Audu, Kesha Bruce, Victor Ekpuk and Amber Robles-Gordon

27 Feb

Morton Fine Art is pleased to announce the inclusion of artwork by artists OSI AUDU, KESHA BRUCE, VICTOR EKPUK and AMBER ROBLES-GORDON in Art in Embassies Exhibition, United States Embassy Abuja. With heartfelt thanks for the inclusion to Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard.

Established in 1963, the U.S. Department of State’s office of Art in Embassies (AIE) plays a vital role in our nation’s public diplomacy through a culturally expansive mission, creating temporary and permanent exhibitions, artist programming, and publications.

AIE’s exhibitions allow citizens, many of whom might never travel to the United States, to personally experience the depth and breadth of our artistic heritage and values, making what has been called a “footprint that can be left where people have no opportunity to see American art.”

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AMBER ROBLES-GORDON in Ahlem Baccouche and ARTNOIR’s Larry Ossei-Mensah “From: Friends, To: Friends”

5 Feb

From: Friends, To: Friends Nov 27 Part 2: On The Journey

 in article

Ahlem Baccouche in conversation with Larry Ossei-Mensah on his journey into the art world, his stance on diversity, and much more. 

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Leveraging the power of art as an agent for social change and cultural transformation is the mission of ARTNOIR’s co-founder, art critic and international curator Larry Ossei-Mensah, whose latest initiative invites people to become agents of change in the art industry.  

In the first part of this interview, Larry expanded on his partnership with Artsy for the ARTNOIR From: Friends To: Friends Benefit Auction, which aimed to raise funds for the newly launched ARTNOIR Jar of Love Funda microgrant initiative intended to provide relief for artists, curators, and cultural workers of colour.  

In this second part, we discuss Larry’s journey into the art world, his views on diversity, his upcoming projects and advice on leading an authentic life.  

Ahlem Baccouche: I’m always curious about the journey that led people to their current position, as life is never a linear path. What was your journey like?  

Larry Ossei-Mensah: My starting point in terms of art and business was in high school, where I did internships at record labels like Epic and Columba Records from my junior year all the way through university. I wanted to be a record man, I wanted to be Diddy. That experience gave me my first exposure to the intersection of art and business. The art being music as a form of expression, but also music as a commodity: how it can be packaged, marketed, distributed and consumed.  

That foundationally informs my thinking. When I think about an exhibition that I’m doing, I see it like an album release. How do I build content around a show that will be different than just a press release and an email blast? A good example of that would be the Phillips Auction conversation with Tremaine Emory, we used it not only as a space to talk about art, but also social justice and other issues currently impacting society.  

I eventually realized that the music industry wasn’t for me, and worked a bit in marketing and advertising before going to Switzerland to complete a Masters at Les Roches. My mother worked in the hospitality industry for about thirty – thirty five years at the Waldorf Astoria, so there was always a romance of opening a hotel or something similar one day, as it’s an industry that I grew up in. That is something I still want to do in the long term.  

Studying at Les Roches and being exposed to a truly international student body shifted my thinking about humanity and how we engage with each other. It taught me how to really value people, relationships, and perspectives that were different from mine. Just because you have two people from the same city, like New York, doesn’t mean they’ll get on. We can have very different experiences. My time at Les Roches also afforded me an opportunity to travel and explore Europe. As a graduate student, I didn’t have a lot of discretionary income, so I found things that were free and, a lot of the time, that would be museums.  

The American education system makes you believe that there wasn’t a presence of Black people in Europe throughout history. However, by going to these museums in Europe, to a place like Florence’s Uffizi Galleries, and discovering paintings of Black people, even if they’re mixed, was mind blowing. That afro, is undeniable.  

That exposure started an inquiry into who’s telling the narrative of the Black diaspora experience? Who’s controlling the story? So much is hidden from us or recontextualized. For example, one of Sicily’s patron saint is of African descent, Saint Benedict the Black, there are murals of this guy all over Palermo. It’s not a hidden secret, but it’s not openly discussed. I began this inquiry and started taking photographs as a way to document these experiences and began to exhibit these images when I moved back to the states. I exhibited a little, but quickly realized that being a photographer wasn’t my journey. After that epiphany,  I started writing about art and that’s when I noticed that there weren’t enough platforms for artists of colour to have their work be seen, discussed and purchased.  

This was over ten years ago, before it became in vogue. The ability to recognize that and be invested in it fully has allowed me to build a lot of relationships, which was the backstory behind the foundation of ARTNOIR. Knowing artists at the beginning of their career and having a decade-long relationship with them, whether I’ve shown their art or not, provided a spark plug for rich dialogue and collaboration with these artists. Moreover, building those relationships over time helped me shift and expand my thinking about contemporary art.  

Click here to read the entire article:

https://www.madeinbed.co.uk/agents-of-change/from-friends-to-friends-part-2-on-the-journey

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Temples of My Familiars R Squared Triangular Fractals, The Yin and Yang Over Color Theory by Amber Robles-Gordon. Image credit: Amber Robles-Gordon website.

 AB: What projects are you currently working on?  

LOM: I will be co-curating the 7th Athens Biennale with OMSK Social Club, which has been rescheduled for Spring 2021.  

I’m doing a show in Rome in November as part of a series of exhibitions called Parallels and Peripheries. The show in Miami included only women artists. In Detroit, we looked at the intersection of Art, Technology, and Nature. In Maryland, the theme was about migration and immigration, and it included first generation immigrant artists. The show in Rome is called Fragments and Fractals and is held at Galleria Anna Marra (a 3D viewing is available). 

We’ll be thinking about fractals as a mathematical concept, the potential to repeat infinitely, and exploring the idea of fragmentation when thinking about layered identities. As an example, I’m Black; I’m African American; I’m also Ghanaian; I’m a New Yorker; I come from a working class background; I’m a male. We try to look at the different layers that compose a person, not just from an identity standpoint, but also from a practice standpoint. 

The show includes six Black artists: Kim DacresKenturah DavisBasil KincaidNate LewisDavid Shrobe and Kennedy Yanko. They all work with different mediums such as sculpture, photography, drawing and painting. It will be the first show in Italy for some of them. Just think about the social climate in Italy, particularly for Black folks. How do we use the exhibition as a platform to key in on those things? I also highlight that the fact that we’re Black does not mean that we’re a monolith. We’re very vast and very diverse in our experiences, our thinking and our creative approach.    

Next, I have a show at the American University in 2021 with Amber Robles Gordon, an Afro Puerto Rican artist based in DC. It will be a solo show of just abstract work, which is exciting for me, because I don’t think I’ve done a solo presentation of just abstraction. So I seize this opportunity to educate myself on movements like the Washington Color School and look at artists like Alma Thomas more closely.  

It’s also interesting to mine this layer of the diasporas: so thinking about the African diaspora experience from a Latin perspective, but then also from an American perspective, because the artist grew up in the United States as well. 

Lastly, I’m toying around with the idea of writing a pocket book on my experience in the art world. I gave a lecture with Oolite Art at Anderson Ranch called “Lead with the Hustle.” I describe my journey, but also talk about things that I’ve recognized that I believe not only artists, but all people should be aware of.  

From storytelling, to relationship management, professionalism, likeability and how to operate on a professional level consistently. It’s about how to work within the art world from a business standpoint and think about storytelling through your work. What is your story? If I was doing an article on you, what would that story look like? Why do you do what you do? 

AB: Are there any artists, curators, businesses, colleagues, or organizations whose work you admire and would like to highlight?  

LOM: In terms of curators, Okwui Enwezor of course. I’m following many curators who are doing a lot of incredible work internally and externally. Among them are Meg Olni from ICA Philadelphia, Erin Christoval from the Hammer Museum and Osei Bonsu at Tate Modern.  

I like what SAVVY Contemporary is doing in Berlin. In terms of fashion, I love what Pyer Moss is doing. They just released a sneaker of which the proceeds will go towards The Innocence Projects.  

AB: Any favourite advice, resources or tips you’d like to share?  

LOM: It goes back to the pillars: really understand why it is you’ve chosen to work within the arts. I think that understanding the why, for me, informs everything else. It’s going to inform where you’ll choose to work; it’s going to inform your values. I recommend this book called Start with Why.  

Cultivate meaningful relationships. The art world in particular, is about human connection. You’ll know a lot of people, but how many of those people are meaningful relationships where you can pick up the phone and call if you have a question, or an issue. How many of those people would you invite over to your home for dinner?  

Branch out. Build a support system. This is going to be a journey and you need people from different spectrums. When we think about mentorship, it’s always kind of thinking of an old wise person, and that’s antiquated. We need to change the way we think about mentorship, as it doesn’t necessarily have to be with an older, wiser person. I think peer mentorship is just as valuable.  

In terms of books, Never Eat Alone is a great book about relationship building. Some people will call it networking, I prefer “relationships” as “networking” feels more transactional. Who Moved My Cheese is a good one to adapt to change. Collecting Contemporary by Adam Lindemann, particularly for artists who want to get a snapshot of the industry. The Hard Things About Hard Things is a business book coming from an honest perspective. Usually, when you hear about a business, you only hear about the success. You don’t hear about the pitfalls, running out of money, being broke and the resilience that it takes. Being an artist is not easy, so you need to make sure to have the tools and the support to navigate the ebbs and flows of this journey. 

And my final tip: Stay true to yourself.

Source: https://www.madeinbed.co.uk/agents-of-change/from-friends-to-friends-part-2-on-the-journey Tags: Larry Ossei-MensahARTNOIRAmber Robles GordonAhlem BaccoucheMadeinbedmagazinePeter Williams ExhibitionOkwui EnwezorMeg OlniErin ChristovalOsei BonsuOolite ArtAnderson RanchWashington Color SchoolAlma ThomasSotheby’s Institute of Art

Available artwork by AMBER ROBLES-GORDON

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

http://www.mortonfineart.com