Tag Archives: Aqua Art Miami

KESHA BRUCE “5 Black and Latino Artists You Need to Know”

15 Dec

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5 black and Latino artists you need to know

At Miami’s Art Basel, a new, more diverse crop of talent is on the rise.

BY COREY CHALUMEAU DEC 9, 2015

 

IMAGE VIA GETTY / THADDAEUS MCADAMS

Every December, artists and aficionados alike hit up Miami for a week of shows, events, and hobnobbing with the 1 percent.

For enthusiasts, Art Basel marks the winter reunion of the global art world; for socialites, it means a week’s worth of free booze, elaborate parties, and the chance to network with top influencers.

Regardless of what draws you to the 305, Art Basel’s primary purpose is to celebrate artists. But since the art world is widely known for its classism and elitism, we had to wonder: How much diversity would be present on art’s biggest stage? After perusing Art Basel’s most high-profile shows—Pulse, Scope, Aqua, and Basel—it’s clear that artists and gallery owners of color remain underrepresented.

Luckily, NTRSCTN managed to find five artists who break the mostly white mold, and present diverse narratives.

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Original photos and interviews by Corey Chalumeau​

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  • 1. Michi Meko
  • Hometown: Florence, Alabama
    Currently lives in: Atlanta
    Where to find his work: AlanAveryArtCompany.com

    Thoughts on his art: “The overall narrative I’m interested in is Southern culture and contemporary underground culture, and where those two aesthetics meet. But it’s also of an exploration into blackness and its identity in that Southernness.”

  • Latest project: “Buoyancy” explores themes involving water, specifically tackling the stereotype that black people can’t swim. It also comments on Meko​’s previous experience as a fisherman.
  • Why he matters: As a multidisciplinary artist, Meko works with different media to portray black heroes post-slavery, choosing to shed light on a more positive element of blackness rather than focusing on the trauma of the slave narrative. He utilizes a trapped-out aesthetic, visible in projects like Gourds, The Job of Resurrectors, and We Been Gold, which helps his work resonate with a younger audience.

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  • 2. Aerosyn-Lex Mestrovic
  • Hometown: Buenos Aires, Argentina
    Currently lives in: Brooklyn
    Where to find his workAerosynlex.com
  • Why he matters: Mestrovic is a multidisciplinary artist whose work has been displayed at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. One of his most recent paintings was also shown at and later donated to the White House. Mestrovic collaborates with some of the world’s best-known brands and personalities, including Kenzo, Nike, Diesel, Public School, and artist Jeff Koons.
  • Latest project: A multi-piece installation called “Paper View,”  in collaboration with digital company MOO, which celebrates works made entirely from paper.
  • Thoughts on his art: “You come to these art fairs, and everyone’s trying to scream as loud as possible to grab your attention. But I believe the work I’m able to do is something a little more reserved. If you really dig, there’s a lot more to it, a deeper conversation there, which is throughout all of my work—whether it be for a women’s collection (like the one I’m designing in Japan), or the tour visuals I did for Kanye West, or the short film I worked on for UK’s Channel 4 and Protein London as part of theRandom Acts arts platform.”

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  • 3. Kesha Bruce
  • Hometown: Pella, Iowa
    Currently lives in: Paris
    Where to find her work: KeshaBruce.com
  • Latest project: A collection of paintings entitled “The Guardians,” which is a solemn tribe of mysterious beings who act as watchers, keepers, and protectors. The idea came to Bruce when she “awoke in the early morning hours to witness a figure hovering at the foot of her bed.” That moment conjured up many emotions for Bruce, including fascination, terror, and wonder—themes on which she has focused over the past three years.
  • Thoughts on her art: “The work I’m doing right now is focused on contemporary spirituality, but what I’m most interested in is personal mythology and the magical spiritual belief in the African diaspora, as well as people’s belief systems and personal belief systems. The paintings I’m working on now are my own magical symbols that are personal just to me, that belong to no other religion or spiritual system.”

    Why she matters: Bruce has been awarded fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, theVermont Studio Center, and French creative center CAMAC. She also received a Puffin Foundation grant for her work with Artist’s Books. Bruce’s art is part of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture’s permanent collection.

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  • 4. Alejandro Salazar
  • Hometown: Colima, Mexico
    Currently lives in: Miami
    Where to find his work:JennyGreenGallery.com
  • Why he matters: Salazar says he is determined to portray his Latin roots in his work, and to spark meaningful conversation as a result.
  • Latest project: His paintingTres Pescados(“Three Fish” in Spanish) comments on excessive consumption, and the role it plays in a society where people are constantly baited by advertising and marketing—much like how humans bait fish.
  • Thoughts on his art: “I think art should have many purposes beyond just the creating. There’s a lot work out here that doesn’t speak to me—it’s not made with your hands, so it has no spirit. You can tell it’s flat; its only purpose is to decorate. I feel works—especially those that are made through painting—should serve a purpose beyond just decoration.”

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  • 5. Gregory Saint Amand a.k.a. GoGo
  • Hometown: New York, but raised in Haiti
    Currently lives in: Manhattan
    Where to find his work: IKnowGoGo.com
  • Why he matters: Amand currently has work featured in the corporate collection of hedge fund Red Alder, and his first solo show will kick off later this winter. In just two years, Amand has presented his work at two of the biggest fairs at Art Basel; last year, he showed at Miami’s Red Dot Art Fair and this year, his work was on display at contemporary art show Scope.

    Latest project: “Kitty Face,” a painting inspired by a trip to China during which Amand​ saw impressive graffiti that felt familiar, but couldn’t translate. Instead of getting frustrated, he decided to use the graffiti as his backdrop, and then adds an urban figure (e.g. a young black girl or a black male boxer) to either cause tension, or see if the two can blend together seamlessly.

  • Thoughts on his art: “My art is about juxtaposing elements that we don’t think match, and then putting them together to see how seamlessly they live together. I think that nine out of 10 times, us human beings are so much alike. We’re doing these things in different cultures, but when you see it on a canvas, it just works. Visually, we all speak similar languages.”

Click HERE to view the article in full.

Please contact Morton Fine Art for available artwork by KESHA BRUCE.

Morton Fine Art, 1781 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC 20009

(202) 628-2787, mortonfineart@gmail.com, http://www.mortonfineart.com

VONN SUMNER’s solo “New Ancient Pictures” at Morton Fine Art

10 Nov
Neo Byzantine Square, 24"x24", oil on canvas

Neo Byzantine Square, 24″x24″, oil on canvas

New Ancient Pictures

A solo exhibition of oil paintings by VONN SUMNER
Friday, November 6th – November 24th, 2015

OPENING RECEPTION 
Friday, November 6th 6pm-8pm
ARTIST TALK
Saturday, November 21st 3pm-4pm
Pink Theatre, 24"x24", oil on panel

Pink Theatre, 24″x24″, oil on panel

EXHIBITION LOCATION

Morton Fine Art (MFA)
1781 Florida Ave NW (at 18th & U Sts)
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 628-2787
mortonfineart@gmail.com
HOURS

Tuesday – Saturday 11am – 6pm
Sunday 12pm-5pm
Warrior Moving, 2015, 12"x12", oil on panel

Warrior Moving, 2015, 12″x12″, oil on panel

About New Ancient Pictures
In the Spring of 2011, at the Phillips Collection here in Washington, I saw an exhibition of Philip Guston’s paintings made while he was traveling in Rome in 1971. Around the same time I came across the idea that in the original Homeric tales of the Iliad and the Odyssey there is no mention of the color “blue”-that even though those stories take place under skies and over oceans, the color palette of those stories is mostly: red, yellow, black, grey and white. That idea, whether true or not, was exciting to me and related directly to the palette that Guston was using in the Roma pictures. All of this coincided with a time in my life when I have moved several times between states, and across coasts, so that somehow the mythic tales of Homer and the aesthetic travels of Guston felt personally related to my own search for a sense of ‘home’, for personal transformation, and for a feeling of artistic renewal. The paintings in this show are a result of those artistic influences, mixed with my own subjective experience of our shared, observable world.
-VONN SUMNER
 
Mirror, 26.25″x20.75″, oil on canvas
Vonn Sumner in his studio, Courtesy of the Artist
About VONN SUMNER
 
“Vonn Sumner’s fine paintings are equivocal visual wonders. They are painted worlds that reflect a bright clarity interrupted by mysterious bewilderments.
Ideas and concepts are overwhelmed by empathic feelings suspending us in a tension between answers and questions provoking and teasing us into a long and careful looking…perhaps, the look of a lifetime?”
~Wayne Thiebaud, 2015
 
VONN CUMMINGS SUMNER grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area,
the son of a picture framer in an artistic family. Frequent trips to museums as well as travel in Europe, Central America and India, shaped Sumner’s visual aesthetic during his formative years. He attended the University of California at Davis, where he earned both a Bachelor’s degree and an M.F.A. in painting. While at UC Davis he worked closely with Wayne Thiebaud  both as a student and as a teaching assistant. He also took summer classes at the San Francisco Art Institute and is influenced by the Bay Area Figurative movement that centered around that school in the postwar period.
Sumner has exhibited nationally and internationally since 1997. He has been featured or reviewed in many publications including NewAmerican Paintings, Elle Décor, The Washington Post, L.A. Weekly, Art Ltd., Riviera magazine, Hi Fructose, Juxtapoz, Cartwheel, and featured on the cover of Boom magazine and Quick Fiction. Sumner has had two solo museum exhibitions – Vonn Sumner: The Other Side of Here– at the Riverside Art Museum in 2008 and Vonn Sumner: Stages,  in 2011 at the Phillips Museum of Art in Pennsylvania .

CHARLES WILLIAMS : Banishing Fear, Stereotypes through Waves of Paint in Charlotte Viewpoint

7 Jul

charlotte viewpoint

 

ARTS & CULTURE »

Banishing Fear, Stereotypes Through Waves of Paint

byJoshua Peters

June 7, 2015

Caption: Two paintings from Charles Williams’ Swim series.

There is a moment, a second before a frosty blue-green wall of Atlantic Ocean wave crashes over you, where your body braces — you close your eyes, pull your arms into yourself and take a deep breath. Then comes a crash, muffled turbulence and silence… followed by the re-emergence of warm sun and the slowly recognizable sounds of gulls, waves and beach.

For McColl Center Artist-In-Residence Charles Williams, these moments are the most sacred. When Williams was 11 years old, he joined his cousins for a family reunion in Myrtle Beach to play in the surf. His father forbid him to go, but he went anyway despite his sub-par swimming ability. Williams remembers the crash, muffled turbulence, and silence but not the warm sun, nor the familiar sounds of his cousins playing. A torrential rip current pulled him out to sea, and — unable to swim free — a helpless Williams would have drowned if his uncle and father had not arrived in time to rescue him.

Williams would go on to great things, including a stint at Savannah College of Art and Design and a successful career as a brand manager, designer and marketer.  Two things remained constant for him though: uneasiness around water, and dissatisfaction with his career path. In one bold stroke, though, Williams decided to confront both and recapture both his desire to be a painter and a deeply personal understanding of his own struggle with water, as well as the psychological barriers and bigotry associated with swimming and black youth.

“How we handle traumatic experiences,” says Williams, “both shapes and molds our identities.”

But his step away from the corporate creative world and into his own studio to confront these feelings has not impeded his success. His more recent achievements include participation in the Hudson River Landscape Fellowship, selection as a keynote speaker at CPCC’s Sensoria 2016, featured work in the Artists Magazines 28th Annual Art Competition, and honorable mention fromSouthwest Art magazine’s “21 Emerging Under 31” competition. Williams’ works have been shown inAmerican Art Collector, Empty Magazine, Charleston Magazine, Grand Strand, Studio Visit, Bluecanvas and other national publications. He was recently interviewed on an NPR segment entitled “Nature through the Eyes of an Artist.” His contemporary landscapes have been exhibited in group and solo exhibitions in galleries in New York, Vermont, California, Georgia, South Carolina and other southeastern states, with more planned, including a featured place at Miami’s Art Basel 2015. His stay in Charlotte has brought him to a residency at the McColl Center for Arts + Innovation through August, with a show in the McColl’s galleries planned at some point during his stay.

The process of personal change is the primary focus of the summation of Williams work, his Swim series. Previously featured (all too appropriately) at the Myrtle Beach Art Museum, Swim consists of eight (and counting) large oil paintings. These canvases are home to incredibly detailed, hyper-realistic seascapes. Painted from reference photographs taken by Williams himself, Swim represents the ocean at its most imposing or forbidding moments — before the crash of a wave, or at night, swallowed by darkness. Others capture the sea at its most beautiful, lightly foaming in shades of bronze and teal and washed in sunlight. Each composition is stunning in the most physical sense of the word. Williams’ compositions force the audience to stop, imparting the weight of the chest-deep ocean onto onlookers.

The sub-series Lost and Found features familiar South Carolina coastline at night. The first additions in this series are painted entirely in black. The waves are carved in striking ebony with a palette knife. Natural light plays off the raised texture imparted by the wet-on-wet process and the strokes of the palette knife, creating incredible visual depth and movement along the contours of the water’s surface. As the series continues, light breaks through into the compositions, seemingly lit only by Williams’ lone flashlight and the flash from his camera. The yellow aura from the flashlight bleeds through the bristling water and out into complete darkness. Williams’ use of compositional whitespace highlights the simple, powerful beauty of the ocean but encloses it in a suffocating field of darkness. Every canvas is a confrontation between the artist and his fear on a grand scale, the light pushing back terrible dread.

Aesthetically, his work is impossibly beautiful — individual bubbles rise from fields of foam sitting atop murky ocean. It’s easy to mistake his canvases for the photographs they reference. There is a captivating spectrum present across Swim, between complete darkness and stark daylight. Sky gracefully frames an ocean depicted with great reverence and respect, and at the same time an immutable uncertainty — a fear that can’t help but make its way through Williams’s brush strokes to the onlooker.

But Williams, has more planned for his audience than a glimpse into his phobia and striking waves. “These paintings serve as a personal testimony of my decision to begin a journey toward freedom,” he says. He stresses the importance of his paintings going beyond just inspiring awe, but moreover an understanding of embedded social racism surrounding aquaphobia and the inability to swim. Williams hopes that Swim marks not only a pivotal point in his own life — a step closer to defeating a fear that has robbed him of his own freedom — but a step closer to stemming the tide of institutionalized racism.

Link to the article: http://www.charlotteviewpoint.org/article/3403/CharlesWilliamsSwimSeries

Please contact Morton Fine Art for available work by CHARLES WILLIAMS.

Morton Fine Art, 1781 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC 20009

(202) 628-2787, mortonfineart@gmail.com, http://www.mortonfineart.com

NNENNA OKORE in the Wall Street Journal

20 Jan
 wall street journal logo

Paintings of a Caricaturist, Plus Two Sculptors

David Levine, Nnenna Okore and Juan Muñoz in Fine Art

Nnenna Okore: Twist and Turns

David Krut Projects

526 W. 26th St., (212) 255-3094

Through Jan. 17

‘Transitions’ (2013) by Nnenna Okore.
‘Transitions’ (2013) by Nnenna Okore. NNENNA OKORE/DAVID KRUT PROJECTS, NEW YORK

To Western art-world eyes, a lot of work made by contemporary artists with non-Western backgrounds is technically impressive but aesthetically a little suspicious. That is, we sense it looks good mostly because considerable labor and careful craft have gone into it. Because it often contains exotic or folkish materials, it has a kind of guaranteed visual floor under it. Whatever else happens, it won’t look outrightly bad.

In the hurly-burly of today’s big-city gallery scenes (especially New York’s), this can be a disadvantage. But it is one that the Nigerian-American sculptor, Nnenna Okore (b. 1975) overcomes. Not that Ms. Okore—who is an art professor in Chicago—avoids the problem; she actually doubles down on it.

Having spent an apprentice year under the internationally successful Ghanaian artist El Anatsui (whose fabriclike wall pieces, made of bits of refuse metal in his studio in Nigeria, grace a plethora of modern art museums), Ms. Okore has worked with sewing, dyeing, weaving and other unconventional processes.

For this exhibition, the artist has pared down the materials in her complex, weblike relief sculptures. The three-part, 10-foot-wide “Transitions” (2013), for example, consists of newspaper stiffened and colored with acrylic paint. Ms. Okore’s palette tends toward muted, organic greens and reds and, in some works, black. Although her art’s initial impact is that of the easy good looks that come with craft and applied African traditions, the emotional intensity in this exhibition lifts Ms. Okore’s work to a higher level.

Morton Fine Art at Aqua Art Miami featured in the Washington City Paper

5 Dec

Arts Deskwashington city paper

A Look at the D.C. Galleries and Artists at Miami’s Aqua Art Fair

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While D.C. chills in the freezing rain, D.C. gallerists are sweating out Miami humidity in breezy, emptied hotel rooms at South Beach’s Aqua Art fair, one of several fairs operating alongside Art Basel this weekend.

Amy Morton of Morton Fine Art has been showing at Aqua for three years, and brought a collection of paintings, photos, drawings, and collages from a slew of living contemporary artists, including three from D.C. The gallery scored one of the largest (and coolest, temperature-wise) rooms at the fair. The Miami art fairs put D.C. on the global art radar, Morton says. “D.C., we’re really making our stamp down here,” she says, and since Morton made its Aqua debut, “I’m seeing more of a D.C. presence overall.”

At Morton’s booth, the work of local artist Stephon Senegal—who does most of his work in bronze and steel—was represented in large-format portrait photos of children. Senegal has an undergraduate degree from Howard University and a master’s from the Maryland Institute of Contemporary Art. Morton also showed oil paintings from Nigerian-born D.C. artist Victor Ekpuk(top) and mixed-media collages by GA Gardner, who worked in D.C. for many years and now lives in Trinidad (below).

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A few doors down, Farmville, Va.’s J. Fergeson Gallery sold one of several $1,400 model trains painted by D.C. graffiti artist Tim Conlon (below) and is exhibiting a few of his spray-painted canvases, too. Fergeson has brought Conlon’s work to Miami for a few years now, but always as part of a collection of several artists. This year, Fergeson’s showing Conlon on his own. “His trains have always been popular, but it’s never worked out that I’ve had a good venue to show his paintings before,” says gallery founder Jarrod Fergeson. Conlon’s working on a street-art piece on a wall in Miami’s Wynwood Art District this week.FullSizeRender_2

Hamiltonian Gallery, also at Aqua, is showing the work of several of its fellows and alumni. Joshua Haycraft‘s tiny sculptures (below) are cataloged as elements of an alternate universe called BHBITB. Though the pieces are all handmade, Haycraft made painstaking efforts to craft them in precise, geometric forms that look like they could have come from a 3-D printer.

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Also in Hamiltonian’s room at Aqua is one of Sarah Knoebel‘s “Cycles” videos of a frozen ball of detritus—a head of lettuce, fake hair, feathers—melting in a cloudy tank of water. The gallery’s already sold “Rock My World,” one ofAnnette Isham and Zac Willis‘ $500 collages depicting Michael Jackson and Elvis as religious idols (below), riding googly-eyed unicorns and ruling over Lisa Frank cat stickers. Art collectors who are scared of the dark, take note: One of the Elvis pieces still on view (bottom) gave the Hamiltonian reps a shock as they closed up shop last night. When they turned out the lights, they noticed for the first time that it glows in the dark.

Follow #washingtonmiamipaper on Twitter and Instagram for more updates on D.C. artists and galleries from the Miami art fairs this weekend.

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Morton Fine Art – Booth #216 at Aqua Art Miami 14

4 Dec

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Artwork Images of WILLIAM MACKINNON’s “Crossroads”

18 Nov

Reviewed in The Washington Post when liken to Henri Rousseau, here are select images of paintings from WILLIAM MACKINNON’s recent solo exhibition “Crossroads” at Morton Fine Art in Washington, DC.

 

WILLIAM MACKINNON, Trouble Will Find Me (The National) , 48"x58", acrylic, oil and automotive enamel on  linen

WILLIAM MACKINNON, Trouble Will Find Me (The National) , 48″x58″, acrylic, oil and automotive enamel on linen

 

Farewell Transmission (Magnolia Electric Co.), 58"x48", acrylic, oil and enamel on  linen

WILLIAM MACKINNON, Farewell Transmission (Magnolia Electric Co.), 58″x48″, acrylic, oil and enamel on linen

 

WILLIAM MACKINNON, Landscape As Self Portrait 2 (Leaving), 48"x58",  acrylic, oil and automotive enamel on linen

WILLIAM MACKINNON, Landscape As Self Portrait 2 (Leaving), 48″x58″, acrylic, oil and automotive enamel on linen

 

WILLIAM MACKINNON, Almost Was Not Good Enough (Moonlight II), 58"x48", acrylic, oil and automotive enamel on  linen

WILLIAM MACKINNON, Almost Was Not Good Enough (Moonlight II), 58″x48″, acrylic, oil and automotive enamel on linen

 

View paintings by Australian artist WILLIAM MACKINNON at Morton Fine Art’s booth #216 at Aqua Art Miami, December 3 -7th. Please contact the gallery for availability and acquisition.

mortonfineart@gmail.com

(202) 628-2787

http://www.mortonfineart.com