Tag Archives: Amber Robles Gordon

AMBER ROBLES-GORDON’s ” “Fertile Grounds: of minds, the womb, and the earth” at The Nicholson Project

13 Dec

 

 

In DC, neighborhoods are facing an unprecedented amount of change in appearance, racial makeup, and social policies that runs counter to the once-prevalent idea of DC being “Chocolate City.” However, there are ways to balance change with paying respects to DC’s living history. The Nicholson Project, an artist residency that recently opened in Ward 7, hopes to demonstrate this change effectively with the inaugural resident artist Amber Robles-Gordon, who lives only eight minutes from the building. For me, it feels like a house turned into a relic, with its period-accurate rehab details; however, the Nicholson Project owners do not focus on the actual former owners, but highlight contemporary artists of color instead.

Robles-Gordon’s multimedia installation at the Nicholson Project, “Fertile Grounds: of minds, the womb, and the earth,” delves into emotional and physical histories of the bodies of women of color in scientific and medical contexts. From gynecologist and slave-owner J. Marion Sims to government-sanctioned Tuskegee experiments, systematic violence on Black women and their wombs plays a quintessential part of American history and medicine. Nowadays, such violence has evolved into defiling the space that bodies of color inhabit; a disproportionate amount of US pollution, for instance, is shipped off to poorer countries for processing. This installation, Robles-Gordon explained to me, “is a conversation about the deleterious effects that man-made products have on the earth in general and how that is in conjunction with what we put into our body: unresolved trauma, unresolved issues, unresolved energy.”

In tribute to the story and cells of Henrietta Lacks—the Baltimore woman whose immortal cancer cells were harvested without her knowledge or consent at Johns Hopkins in 1951, and continue to be used in research to this day—“Fertile Grounds” layers nuance into how informed consent shapes who and what gains access to bodies and parts. Her installation seems to ask: “Who has the right to examine and characterize what is happening here? How are they describing it, and are they using the correct tools and language to do so?”

The room-size installation uses every corner and cranny of its 12-square-foot space, from floor to rafters. White cotton strings, which remind me of Fred Sandbeck’s minimalist work, hang vertically, in a 3-D formation approaching the viewer. Suspended from the strings, colorful sticks wrapped in natural and synthetic fabrics form diamond shapes at different heights and depths. Each of the three layers is approximately 8 inches apart, dancing whenever you move around. The flat V shape of the overall installation, when seen head-on, channels sacred yoni power and fragility. Approachable only from the sides and front, the installation offers viewers no access to its inner layers, setting a subtle barrier of modesty and mystery.

Women, in Robles-Gordon’s interpretation, bear the brunt of environmental instability and physical violation. The artist focuses on the physical manifestations of trauma through fibroids, growths that spontaneously appear in uteruses due to hereditary factors and which are thought to be exacerbated through emotional and physical stress. The systemic disadvantage that women of color receive in medical contexts compounds these problems.

With Henrietta Lacks, her DNA was taken from her womb without her knowledge and parsed out to strangers, thousands of times, in a 20th-century form of legal slavery. More to the point, medical institutions and genetic science itself have profited off of her cells without the Lacks family‘s knowledge, anonymized as HeLa cells to conceal the fact that any living person was ever connected to them. To stress the ancestral and narrative power of Lacks’ ordeal, Robles-Gordon uses talking sticks, an indigenous artifact that uses twigs wrapped in different strips of cloth, to represent her DNA.

“Someone told me I have a fascination with materiality,” Robles-Gordon says. “Each stick is like a conversation or like a strand of DNA where it’s perfectly imperfect.”

She uses a rainbow palette with an evolved sense of how its placement completes the personification of humanity: the spirit of colors, feelings, and experiences. With her previous solo show in 2018, Third Eye Open, Robles-Gordon focused outwards, on the infinity of the cosmos; here at the Nicholson Project, she zeroes in on the unknowable within the body.

Stefanie Reiser, the owner and operator of the Nicholson Project, came to the idea of an arts residency by way of her main occupation in real estate development. When she was starting out, she says, she was “gravitating towards doing things that are related to the arts and how I could use space in a way that really could cultivate and be a cultural hub or a catalyst for creative activities.” She also took care, in her complete rehab of the Nicholson Project house, to bring in historically accurate doorways, flooring, and fixtures to reflect the styling of similar houses built around the same time, decades ago. In an interview, Reiser stressed how the property became an important symbol of history remade and re-examined for her. This building, which officially opened Sept. 14, offers paid residencies for creatives of all disciplines, stating on its Instagram that it creates “a safe, equitable space for artists to work on their studio practice and produce onsite creative activations.”

Besides Robles-Gordon’s installation, there is a photo exhibition entitled Goosin’ featuring local artist and Howard University professor Larry Cook, videographer Vince Brown, and photographer Beverly Price, alongside “Take a Stand” (2019), a neon piece by Jefferson Pinder. Goosin’, which according to the Nicholson Project’s Instagram means “the act of looking at someone or something in admiration,” features boys crouched in front of a blue backdrop, neighborhood businesses, and protestors that proclaim that “housing is a right, not a privilege.” They occupy a significant place in the gallery, well lit by the lights above and by Pinder’s artwork.

This current collection of artwork is both a study of medical anthropology and abstraction, leaving me with more questions than answers about how to value my own body and keep it from violation and degradation. Robles-Gordon’s confrontation of the past in the Nicholson Project’s rehabilitated space is a meaningful way to combat a culture that dissects and disseminates the bodies of Black and brown women, cutting deep until there is nothing left.

 


 

Admission to the Nicholson Project is free, but visitors need to make an appointment at info@thenicholsonproject.com to gain access outside of public event times. Exhibitions on view through the end of 2019.

Photos by Anne Kim / courtesy of the artist

 

Available artwork by AMBER ROBLES-GORDON

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

 

AMBER ROBLES-GORDON is first Artist in Residence at DC’s The Nicholson Project

12 Sep
A room in 2310 Nicholson.

Linen & Lens

On the outside, it looks like any other single-family rowhouse in the District. But 2310 Nicholson Street SE will soon be opening up as a project unique to the street and rare for the city: a residency for artists, with a community garden in an adjacent lot tended by the neighborhood.

“[I’m interested in] looking at where you have rapid change in urban settings and how you can utilize a place to harness creative energy and build a revitalized community in a really inclusive way,” says Stephanie Reiser, a developer in the city who owns 2310 Nicholson and founded the artist residency. “My guess is that the artists who find us will have a great familiarity with this type of work.”

Reiser has christened the venture the Nicholson Project. It will have its opening event on September 14 from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., featuring several art installations, a studio tour, and performances by East River Jazz, DJ Jahsonic, and Hirshhorn ARTLAB. (The event is free, and you can RSVP here). The gallery is also open for viewing by appointment through October 26. The project joins already-established art venues east of the river like Honfleur Gallery, Congress Heights Arts and Culture Center, and Anacostia Arts Center.

The developer says she started out her career flipping houses, and slowly became more and more concerned with issues of affordability and inclusivity. She debated for a time about what she wanted to do with the property on Nicholson, which she purchased in 2014, knowing only that she wanted to do something associated with “affordability and the arts.” Eventually, she says, it became clear to her that she wanted something more lasting than a one-time art show, for example.

“I want to have a conversation and dialogue around some of these questions of affordability, access, how development is done, and the way the arts and the creative classes can be part of revitalizing and strengthening the social fabric of communities,” Reiser says. “The idea of having a residency really rose to the front of the type of work we wanted to do. An artist residency program would help us to support artists as they advance their career. And it just resonated, it seemed to be the right for for Nicholson.”

The house itself is more restored than renovated, Reiser says, with much of the original architecture left in place. As well as offering installations, she hopes the home will become a community space that groups can use for meetings or anything else they might need. The garden in the adjacent lot, in particular, Reiser imagines as a community resource.

The artists in the residency will receive $2,000 per month and can live and work full-time in the renovated rowhouse, Reiser says. Reiser is currently funding that stipend herself, but has set up a non-profit foundation to raise money for it, she tells DCist. Applications to the residency will open up twice per year—the next round opens on October 1, 2019.

The first artist in residency at the Nicholson Project will be Amber Robles-Gordon, a D.C.-based visual artist who’s had exhibitions in six countries. She’s created public art installations in the region with the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and Northern Virginia Fine Arts Association, Howard University, and other local entities. She hosted a workshop and created an installation for the #ifyoulivedhere project produced by the Pink Line Project and the Anacostia Smithsonian Museum, and has also created installations in Maryland.

Robles-Gordon began her residency in July 2019, and will create a room-sized installation that will debut at the opening of the residency on September 14.

_____________________________

 

Available artwork by AMBER ROBLES-GORDON

 

Morton Fine Art

52 O St NW #302

Washington, DC 20001

(202) 628-2787

http://www.mortonfineart.com

mortonfineart@gmail.com

 

“Starshine and Clay” at Workhouse Arts Center featuring artwork of KESHA BRUCE, MAYA FREELON & AMBER ROBLES-GORDON

15 Feb

Starshine and Clay

February 13 – March 31

Starshine and Clay
On View February 13 – March 31, 2019
Exhibition Reception: March 9, 6:00-8:00pm
McGuireWoods Gallery

DOWNLOAD PRESS RELEASE 

Workhouse Arts Center and Morton Fine Art present the work of  Kesha Bruce, Maya Freelon and Amber Robles Gordon — three women artists exploring ideas of healing power through their lineage of storytelling.

Bruce’s spirit-based use of guardians, African-American folklore and a prophetic mix of abstracted figures and symbols serve as a reminder ‘to fight’ and to bring about change. Freelon’s visual vortex of potent tissue ink monoprints and quilt-like immersive installations welcome the contemplation of our standing ideas of strength and vulnerability. Robles-Gordon’s powerful narrative and the influence of African elemental and spiritual based practices activate bloodline connections and ancestral memories.

With substantive and varied approaches, Bruce, Freelon and Robles-Gordon chart the transcendence of gender, history and preservation, rooting themselves as important and impactful contributors to current social and cultural dialogues.

Morton Fine Art co-curates “Starshine and Clay” at Workhouse Arts Center

7 Feb
KESHA BRUCE, MAYA FREELON & AMBER ROBLES-GORDON
Starshine and Clay
February 13th – March 31st, 2019
Opening Reception
Saturday, March 9th from 6-8pm
EXHIBITION LOCATION
Workhouse Arts Center
2nd Floor – McGuireWoods Gallery
9518 Workhouse Road
Lorton, VA 22079
HOURS
Wednesday – Saturday 11am – 6pm
Sunday 12pm-5pm
About Starshine and Clay
Morton Fine Art and Workhouse Arts Center present the work of Kesha Bruce, Maya Freelon and Amber Robles Gordon — three women artists exploring ideas of healing power through their lineage of storytelling.
Bruce’s spirit-based use of guardians, African-American folklore and a prophetic mix of abstracted figures and symbols serve as a reminder ‘to fight’ and to bring about change. Freelon’s visual vortex of potent tissue ink monoprints and quilt-like immersive installations welcome the contemplation of our standing ideas of strength and vulnerability. Robles-Gordon’s powerful narrative and the influence of African elemental and spiritual based practices activate bloodline connections and ancestral memories.
With substantive and varied approaches, Bruce, Freelon and Robles-Gordon chart the transcendence of gender, history and preservation, rooting themselves as important and impactful contributors to current social and cultural dialogues.
Co-curated by Amy Morton of Morton Fine Art and Jaynelle Clarke Hazard of Workhouse Arts Center.
KESHA BRUCE
Artwork is spiritwork.
When I pray, I ask my ancestors for the bravery to follow and make manifest the deepest truths and longings of my heart. Every artwork I create is an answered prayer.
In this current political and social moment my prayers are especially urgent: Where can Black women feel safe? Where can we feel free? How do we protect our spirits from those who mean to destroy us?
As an artist, these questions always lead me back to my work.  In my experience, the most powerful weapon for spiritual warfare is joy. I’m not being hyperbolic when I tell you that the process of making artwork has saved my life many, many times. Art is a refuge for the spirit. It offers us a way to understand and heal ourselves. I am of the mind that something absolutely prophetic can be revealed in both the act of making and the act of looking at art.
Art objects embody spiritual power.
I believe this so firmly now, that it seems almost surreal to think back to a time, not so long ago, when I was afraid to speak about my work in spiritual terms for fear of being called less serious or less intellectually rigorous. It’s clear to me now that often our fears show us the parts of ourselves that are desperately waiting to be revealed. To be set free.
So, I present this new work with the firm knowledge that what I am creating is an important and worthy contribution to the current cultural dialogue. More importantly, I consider my work a part of a strategy for resistance. Even as we steel ourselves for battle ahead, we must remember to leave room for joy.
Joy is sacred and so it is worth fighting for.
Remember to fight.
-KESHA BRUCE
SELECTED COLLECTIONS
Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (14 pieces), Washington, DC
The Amistad Center for Art and Culture, Hartford, CT
The Museum of Modern Art, Franklin FurnaceArtist Book Collection, New York, NY
The University of Iowa Women’s Center, Iowa City, IA
The En Foco Photography Collection, New York, NY
The Museum of Modern Art/Franklin FurnaceArtist Book Collection, New York, NY
photo credit: Christopher Charles
MAYA FREELON
Maya Freelon is an award-winning visual artist whose work was described by the late poet Maya Angelou as “visualizing the truth about the vulnerability and power of the human being.” Cosmopolitan Magazine featured her in June 2015 in “Art Stars” calling her one “of the most badass female artists in the biz.”  She was commissioned by Google to design original art for their OnHub router, by Cadillac to create a live-sculpture for their Dare Greatly creative campaign, and by the North Carolina Museum of Art to create a collaborative tissue paper sculpture celebrating the opening of their African Art wing. Her unique tissue paper art, praised by the International Review of African American Art as “a vibrant, beating assemblage of color,” has been exhibited internationally, including shows in Paris, Jamaica, Madagascar, and Italy. She was selected by Modern Luxury Magazine as Best of the City; by Huffington Post as “Black Artists: 30 Contemporary Art Makers Under 40 You Should Know”; and by Complex magazine as “15 Young Black   Artists Making Waves in the Art World.”  Maya has completed residencies at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine, the Korobitey Institute in Ghana, and the Brandywine Workshop in Philadelphia. She earned a BA from Lafayette College and an MFA from the School of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
COLLECTIONS
U.S. State Department
U.S. Embassy in Madagascar
U.S. Embassy Swaziland
U.S. Embassy Rome
The University of Maryland (David C. Driskell Center)
Johns Hopkins University
Rocketship Rise Academy;
The Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists
The Reginald F. Lewis Museum
The School of the Museum of Fine Arts The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Lafayette College
The Brandywine Workshop
The Experimental Printmaking Institute
The Williston Northampton School
The Kokrobitey Institute
Lewis Tanner Moore
Dr. Maya Angelou
AMBER ROBLES-GORDON
My artwork is a visual representation of my hybridism: a fusion of my gender, ethnicity, cultural, and social experiences. I impose colors, imagery, and materials that evoke femininity and tranquility with the intent of transcending or balancing a specific form. I associate working with light, color, and energy as a positive means to focus on the healing power found in the creative process and within us all. It is my belief that colors have both feminine and masculine energies and each color represents a specific aspect of nature.
-Amber Robles Gordon
COLLECTIONS
Judith A. Hoffberg Archive Library
University of California, Santa Barbara, CA
Masterpiece Miniature Art Exhibition, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Capital One Bank, Mc Clean,Virginia
District of Columbia’s Art Bank, Washington, D.C.
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York, NY
The Gautier Family Collection, Washington, DC
About Workhouse Arts Center
Workhouse Arts Center is a Virginia not-for-profit corporation that was created for planning, developing and fundraising a self- sustaining arts space. The primary goal has been and remains the renovation, preservation and reuse of the former District of Columbia Complex’s Workhouse facilities. Officially transitioned from the District of Columbia Prison Complex to Workhouse Arts Center in 2008, the organization now sits on 55-acres of land surrounded by rolling hills, featuring 4 main gallery spaces, near 100 artist studios and hosts an array of arts education courses, festivals and theatre performances.
About Morton Fine Art
Founded in 2010 in Washington, DC, 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 or enthusiast, 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.

Hyperallergic, Prizm and Morton Fine Art’s Osi Audu and Amber Robles-Gordon

11 Dec

ART

In Miami, a Fair for Artists from Africa and the African Diaspora Shines Again

The Prizm Art Fair, which consistently shows great work, has finally been given the room to breathe.

Charo Oquet, "Like an arrow, like a tree, like a mountain" (2018), mixed media-installation (image courtesy the artist)
Charo Oquet, “Like an arrow, like a tree, like a mountain” (2018), mixed media-installation (image courtesy the artist)

MIAMI — Construction of the Alfred I. duPont Building was completed in 1939, when its primary tenant was the Florida National Bank. I have been there three times in the last two years — once to see Trina perform on an old vault for a Borscht Film Festival party, then for an anticlimactic ghost tour, and last night, for Prizm Art Fair. The space is sweeping and beautiful and very appropriate for Prizm — a fair that consistently shows great work in spaces that never did it justice. It always shone through, but here, in this building, with all its breadth and light, the feeling was a sigh of relief. Work like this needs space. Room to breathe.

Left: Patrick Quarm, “Dada,” oil paint, African print, 33 x 34 1/4 inches; Right: “Mama ba,” oil paint, African print fabric on canvas, 42 x 32 1/2 inches (photo by the author for Hyperallergic)

Now in its sixth edition, Prizm features talks, performances, and 63 artists across several participating galleries and three specifically curated sections. Dr. Jeffreen M. Hayes’s section, The Diaspora Currency: Black Women, focuses on work by or featuring black women, a means of centering their voices as valuable, actual currency. That’s a real through-line in the fair: reparations, or that which is reparative. Curative. Transforming the forces of capitalism and white supremacy into systems and imaginaries that empower those forced to live under it. “Renegotiation,” says Mikhaile Solomon, Prizm’s founder.

Jamele Wright, “In Transit Number 9” (2018), on display at September Gray (photo by the author for Hyperallergic)

Solomon has curated her own section, The Dark Horse, which refers to the archetype of the same name — the unforeseen visitor, or here, powerful retaliation. She’s included work like Dáreece J. Walker’s charcoal drawings of die-ins, entitled “The Die-Ins: Can I live” (2018), and a video of Dread Scott’s 2010 performance, “Money to Burn,” in which he burned $250 on Wall Street and invited traders to do the same. Nearby, in the gallery section, Tahir Carl Karmali’s draped raffia robes shine with inlaid cobalt — your phone battery is probably made with it, and a child might’ve mined it. There’s a cost to these hard truths, and one for learning them: willful suspension of disbelief. But knowledge can be reclamation, too.

Christa Davis, "When the Smoke Clears" (2018) (image courtesy the artist and TILA Studios Gallery)
Christa David, “When the Smoke Clears” (2018) (image courtesy the artist and TILA Studios Gallery)

The work at Prizm also channels the spirit of embodiment — the literal, manifested act of being fully inside one’s body. Presence, people call it. Reimagining the self is some form of transformation as well; it’s everywhere at Prizm: Osi Audu’s graphite self-portraits that look like voids, their sheen a suggestion of what’s inside. Amber Robles-Gordon’s works that look like mandalas, decorated with her belongings — cowrie shells, jewels — and entrail-like snakes. Adriana Farmiga’s watercolor acrylic nails, painted rainbow-pastel. Jamele Wright’s big, gorgeous tapestries of fabric, repeated patterns — a reference to the mingling of identities, recycling, even in hip-hop — and red dirt from the earth.

Osi Audu, “Self Portrait after Dogon Bird Mask II” (2018), graphite and pastel on paper mounted on canvas, 15 x 22 inches (image courtesy the artist and Morton Fine Art)
Amber Robles-Gordon, “South and of the Fire” (2016), mixed media on canvas, 34 x 35 inches (image courtesy the artist and Morton Fine Art)

The artist William Cordova curated the third section: Transceivers: channels, outlets and forces. It’s the first you see, and the one I went to last. Experiencing Prizm in a circle — in a cycle — feels right, because the works speak to each other, and the conversation is continuous. Ritual is prominent in Cordova’s section, specifically the ritual of transmitting history, maybe rewriting it. Khaulah Naima Nuruddin’s graphite drawings of Eatonville homes, intimate and distant from the very paper they’re portrayed on, reference the formerly all-black town in Orlando.

Purvis Young at William Cordova’s Transceivers: channels, outlets and forces, installation view (image by Victoria Ravelo)

Prizm’s video works were my favorite of all. Ezra Wube’s animated video, “Hidirtina/ Sisters” (2018), in Solomon’s section, is part of a story collection Wube started in 2004, when he sent out an open call for folklore to a Habesha diaspora community in New York City. His animation is based on a volunteer’s short story, which centers on a group of seven immortal sisters, one  of who falls in love with a hunter. Against the sisters’ warning, he murders a deer, whose sudden listlessness is rendered slowly; his beloved instructs him to climb a tree to protect himself from subsequent cosmic retaliation. Onajide Shabaka’s one-minute “Henry Meade Leighton 1881” (2018), located in Cordova’s section, tells the story of a man’s body, discovered in a river, covered in the muck of swamps. Though his pockets were “officially said to be empty,” says the narrator, “a woven knot of long, black hair was found … inside one pocket of his overalls. Some said, a naked woman of light complexion with long black hair, had been seen swimming in the area. But every search for her ended with no evidence of the woman being found.”

Tahir Carl Karmali, “STRATA I,” raffia, cobalt, oxide, copper and aluminum, 69 x 52 inches (photo by the author for Hyperallergic)

The body of the earth is, I think, another thread in Prizm — its ills and treasures, its destruction, the way its losses mirror human loss, the way it grows, enchants, and flourishes anyway.

Prizm Art Fair continues at the Alfred I. DuPont Building (169 East Flagler Street, Miami) through December 9.

Preview of Morton Fine Art’s Booth at Prizm Art Fair in Miami

29 Nov

 

 

Sneak Preview of Morton Fine Art’s Booth at Prizm Art Fair in Miami
Contact the gallery for complimentary passes.
Morton Fine Art will be closed 12/5-12/8 during our time in Miami, however we are available by phone (202) 628-2787 or mortonfineart@gmail.com if you need to reach us!
OSI AUDU
THE TANGIBLE AND INTANGIBLE
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
COLLECTIONS
Smithsonian Museum of African Art
The Newark Museum
The British Museum
Horniman Museum
Wellcome Trust Gallery
OSI AUDU, Self-Portrait after Dogon Bird Mask II, 2018, 15″x22″, graphite and pastel on paper mounted on canvas
OSI AUDU, Self Portrait after Igbo Mask, 2018, 11″x15″, acrylic on canvas
KESHA BRUCE
KESHA BRUCE, The Sky Opened for Her, 2016, 60″x48″, mixed media on canvas
KESHA BRUCE, Fight Fire with Fire, 2017, 40″x30″, mixed media on canvas
Artwork is spiritwork.
When I pray, I ask my ancestors for the bravery to follow and make manifest the deepest truths and longings of my heart. Every artwork I create is an answered prayer.
In this current political and social moment my prayers are especially urgent: Where can Black women feel safe? Where can we feel free? How do we protect our spirits from those who mean to destroy us?
As an artist, these questions always lead me back to my work.  In my experience, the most powerful weapon for spiritual warfare is joy. I’m not being hyperbolic when I tell you that the process of making artwork has saved my life many, many times. Art is a refuge for the spirit. It offers us a way to understand and heal ourselves. I am of the mind that something absolutely prophetic can be revealed in both the act of making and the act of looking at art.
Art objects embody spiritual power.
I believe this so firmly now, that it seems almost surreal to think back to a time, not so long ago, when I was afraid to speak about my work in spiritual terms for fear of being called less serious or less intellectually rigorous. It’s clear to me now that often our fears show us the parts of ourselves that are desperately waiting to be revealed. To be set free.
So, I present this new work with the firm knowledge that what I am creating is an important and worthy contribution to the current cultural dialogue. More importantly, I consider my work a part of a strategy for resistance. Even as we steel ourselves for battle ahead, we must remember to leave room for joy.
Joy is sacred and so it is worth fighting for.
Remember to fight.
-KESHA BRUCE
SELECTED COLLECTIONS
Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (14 pieces), Washington, DC
The Amistad Center for Art and Culture, Hartford, CT
The Museum of Modern Art, Franklin Furnace Artist Book Collection, New York, NY
The University of Iowa Women’s Center, Iowa City, IA
The En Foco Photography Collection, New York, NY
The Museum of Modern Art/Franklin Furnace Artist Book Collection, New York, NY
NATHANIEL DONNETT
African textiles, Gee’s Bend Quilts, and the everyday aesthetic within
the historic African American neighborhoods of Houston, Texas inspire “Boom”. This
work acts as a reminder to the extrinsic value of these neighborhoods through the
lens of its spatial geography and relationship to gentrification, along with objects
and form in terms of cultural iconography, and the everyday aesthetic. Drum
notations and Houston’s hip-hop car culture formulate the abstract patterns. These
patterns act as a response to the marginalization of Black American identity, the black spatial imaginary, and contemporary art. During the times of American slavery, it was said that southern quilts communicated warnings to the slaves.
Although this was found to be a myth, this contemporary makeshift quilt does
communicate moments of neighborhood erasure and the silencing of its cultural
contributions. It also simultaneously celebrates the neighborhood’s cultural socio-
consciousness and overall complexity.
-NATHANIEL DONNETT
MUSEUM EXHIBITIONS
The Ulrich Museum, Wichita, KS
The McColl Center, Charlotte, NC
The American Museum, Washington, DC
The Kemper Contemporary Arts Museum, Kansas City, MO
The Theresa Hotel, Harlem, NY
Harvey B Gantt Art Center for African American Arts and Culture, Charlotte, NC
The Community Artist’s Collective
The Mattatuck Museum, Waterbury CT
The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Houston, TX
Project Row Houses, Houston, TX
The University Museum, Houston, TX
The New Museum, New York, NY
NATHANIEL DONNETT, Boom, 2018, 40″x46″, duct tape, plastic and photographs on paper
VICTOR EKPUK
VICTOR EKPUK, Head 4, 2015, 45″x48″, acyrlic on panel
VICTOR EKPUK, Mask Series 1, 2018, 24″x18″, acrylic on canvas
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” -Victor Ekpuk
COLLECTIONS
Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
Smithsonian Museum of African Art
Brooks Museum
Krannert Art Museum
Arkansas Art Center
Fidelity Investments
Newark Museum
The World Bank
University of Maryland University College Art Collection
The U. S. Department of State
MAYA FREELON
Maya Freelon is an award-winning visual artist whose work was described by the late poet Maya Angelou as “visualizing the truth about the vulnerability and power of the human being.” Cosmopolitan Magazine featured her in June 2015 in “Art Stars” calling her one “of the most badass female artists in the biz.”  She was commissioned by Google to design original art for their OnHub router, by Cadillac to create a live-sculpture for their Dare Greatly creative campaign, and by the North Carolina Museum of Art to create a collaborative tissue paper sculpture celebrating the opening of their African Art wing. Her unique tissue paper art, praised by the International Review of African American Art as “a vibrant, beating assemblage of color,” has been exhibited internationally, including shows in Paris, Jamaica, Madagascar, and Italy. She was selected by Modern Luxury Magazine as Best of the City; by Huffington Post as “Black Artists: 30 Contemporary Art Makers Under 40 You Should Know”; and by Complex magazine as “15 Young Black   Artists Making Waves in the Art World.”  Maya has completed residencies at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine, the Korobitey Institute in Ghana, and the Brandywine Workshop in Philadelphia. She earned a BA from Lafayette College and an MFA from theSchool of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
COLLECTIONS
U.S. State Department
U.S. Embassy in Madagascar
U.S. Embassy Swaziland
U.S. Embassy Rome
The University of Maryland (David C. Driskell Center)
Johns Hopkins University
Rocketship Rise Academy;
The Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists
The Reginald F. Lewis Museum
The School of the Museum of Fine Arts The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Lafayette College
The Brandywine Workshop
The Experimental Printmaking Institute
The Williston Northampton School
The Kokrobitey Institute
Lewis Tanner Moore
Dr. Maya Angelou
photo credit: Christopher Charles
MAYA FREELON, Compression, 2017, 44″x34″, tissue ink monoprint
MAYA FREELON, Intuition, 2017, 46″x44″, tissue ink monoprint
AMBER ROBLES-GORDON
AMBER ROBLES-GORDON, Awakening the Matrilineal: Calling in the West, 36″x36″, mixed media on canvas
AMBER ROBLES-GORDON, Awakening the Matrilineal: South and of the Fire, 2016, 34″x35″, mixed media on canvas
Awakening the Matrilineal
“My artwork is a visual representation of my hybridism: a fusion of my gender, ethnicity, cultural, and social experiences. I impose colors, imagery, and materials that evoke femininity and tranquility with the intent of transcending or balancing a specific form. I associate working with light, color, and energy as a positive means to focus on the healing power found in the creative process and within us all. It is my belief that colors have both feminine and masculine energies and each color represents a specific aspect of nature.” -Amber Robles Gordon
COLLECTIONS
Judith A. Hoffberg Archive Library
University of California, Santa Barbara, CA Masterpiece Miniature Art Exhibition, Kuala Lumpur,
Malaysia Capital One Bank, Mc Clean,Virginia District of Columbia’s Art Bank, Washington, D.C.
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York, NY
The Gautier Family Collection, Washington, DC
NATE LEWIS
In continuing my work with black figures I sculpt in unseen tensions of the past present and future on bodies with the idea of utilizing diagnostic lenses and contrast dyes to reveal erased and unknown histories and patterns.
Through the use of presence, absence, distortion and illusion and while in a time when the digital world has severe control of our information feeds I aim to challenge our lens’, the powers that hold our attention, and create opportunities for questioning and perspective alteration.
In my time working as a critical care nurse, we would use a multitude of lenses to gain a broad understanding of what is going on with any given situation to find homeostasis. While facts and diagnostic information can inform us of any given situation, without empathy and perspective alteration, our hearts will remain unchanged.
– NATE LEWIS
Nate Lewis grew up in Beaver Falls, near Pittsburgh, Pa. He graduated from VCU with his BSN and was a practicing critical care nurse for five years as well as professional fine artist. He has been awarded prestigious residencies at Pioneer Works and Dieu Donne in NYC, Agora Culture on Martha’s Vineyard and won a number of artist fellowship grants from the DC Commission of the Arts and Humanities.
NATE LEWIS, Spirit Suite, 2018, 21.5″x26″, hand sculpted photo paper print
NATE LEWIS, Traverse Suite, 2018, 26″x26″, hand sculpted photo paper print
About Morton Fine Art
Founded in 2010 in Washington, DC, 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 or enthusiast, 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
52 O St NW #302
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 628-2787
For further information and images, please contact Amy Morton:
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