Tag Archives: artist

MAYA FREELON ASANTE’s solo show “IMPERMANENCE” at Morton Fine Art

17 Dec

 

Impermanence
A solo exhibition of new artwork by MAYA FREELON ASANTE

Saturday, December 12th, 2015 – January 5th, 2016


About Impermanence

Impermance is Maya Freelon Asante’s first solo exhibition following a deeply personal loss.  Deborah Willis, Ph.D. writes “Maya  Freelon Asante  explores  memory, memorial  and  family  in her  art  practice. She   also  examines  the social  and  artistic  space  within  the experience  of motherhood and   grieving.    Maya’s  artwork  looks at the  fragility  of  life  and provides  the viewer  with  a   way  of retelling  a  story  about  life–joy and pain. Her current body of work draws on the temporal and is inspired by love of family specifically of her grandmother’s art practice as inspiration. ”


About MAYA FREELON ASANTE’S process & inspiration
“In 2005 I discovered a beautiful accident; a stack of water damaged tissue paper tucked away in my grandmother’s basement was left with a brilliant and intricate stain. Since then I’ve submerged myself in the medium of bleeding tissue paper sculpture and tissue ink monoprints, which exist as simultaneously transient and steadfast. This dichotomy continues to intrigue and surprise me as I wrestle with sharing the unique beauty, fragility, and strength of my art with the world.
Much like my grandmother, who never wasted a single grain of rice on her plate, I find a way to utilize tissue paper at every stage of creation – including the rich and colorful ink released when the paper is wet, the sculptural mounds formed when creating monoprints, and even the tiny ripped pieces no larger than a fingernail which are collected and wound into spiral sculptures. Improvisation and discovery play a big role in my creative process; by incorporating archival photographs I’m able to reappropriate images, bridging a gap between the past and future.
My grandmother always said she “made a way out of no way” and her personal endurance opened a path for my own creative discovery. Art for me is about finding the message in the medium and honoring what fuels our desire to preserve and protect it. Bringing more peace, joy and light into the world is my primary objective, while simultaneously appreciating the beauty of now and creating everlasting memories.”
-MAYA FREELON ASANTE

About MAYA FREELON ASANTE
Maya Freelon Asante is an award-winning artist whose artwork was described by poet Maya Angelou as “visualizing the truth about the vulnerability and power of the human being,” and her unique tissue paper work was also praised by the International Review of African American Art as a “vibrant, beating assemblage of color.” She was selected by Modern Luxury Magazine as Best of the City 2013, by the Huffington Post’s “Black Artists: 30 Contemporary Art Makers Under 40 You Should Know”, and Cosmopolitan Magazine’s “Art Stars” as “the most badass female artists in the biz.”
Maya has exhibited her work nationally and internationally including Paris, Ghana, and US Embassies in Madagascar, Italy, Jamaica and Swaziland. She has been a professor of art at Towson University and Morgan State University. Maya has attended numerous residencies including Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, the Korobitey Institute and Brandywine Workshop. She earned a BA from Lafayette College and an MFA from the School of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She is currently represented by Morton Fine Art in Washington, DC.

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Images of CHARLES WILLIAMS opening reception for “Swim”

8 Oct
Swim
A solo exhibition of oil paintings by CHARLES WILLIAMS
Friday, September 25th – October 13th, 2015

EXHIBITION LOCATION

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

Washington, DC 20009

HOURS

Tuesday – Saturday 11am – 6pm
Sunday 12pm-5pm

 

In Swim, his debut solo exhibition at Morton Fine Art, North Carolina based painter, CHARLES WILLIAMS explores deeply personal themes of aquaphobia and stereotypes of swimming and African Americans in the South. Swim expands on his solo Swim : An Artist’s Journey recently on view at The Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chaplin Art Museum.

 

 

Click here for available artwork by CHARLES WILLIAMS.

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

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

http://www.mortonfineart.com

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

24 Sep

Charles Williams Interview Questions

 

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

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

Inspiration for Concept

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Self Portraits

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Charles Williams painting "Swim"

Charles Williams painting “Swim”

 

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

 

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

 

Oceanscapes

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

NATALIE CHEUNG’s “Facsimile” and ANDREI PETROV’s “B.C./A.D” reviewed in the Washington Post

10 Apr

the washington post logo

 

 

“Cappadocian Field Trip” and other abstract oil paintings by Andrei Petrov evoke erosion. (Andrei Petrov/Courtesy of Morton Fine Art)

“Cappadocian Field Trip” and other abstract oil paintings by Andrei Petrov evoke erosion. (Andrei Petrov/Courtesy of Morton Fine Art)

 

April 10, 2015

NATALIE CHEUNG’s “Facsimile” and ANDREI PETROV’s “B.C./A.D.” reviewed in the Washington Post

Natalie Cheung & Andrei Petrov

Photograms and chemigrams are both forms of camera-less photography yet have a very different feel. Natalie Cheung illustrates the contrast with “Facsimile,” at Morton Fine Art. The smaller photograms, created by placing objects on photo paper and then exposing it, are hard-edged, black-and-white and essentially tidy. The chemigrams, painted with chemicals on photo paper, are larger and looser. The billowing black and red-brown forms suggest ink painting but also, at their most ominous, blood-
spatter patterns. One piece resembles a razor blade, dripping with black plasma. Even if it may not be what the Washington artist intended, these pictures are beguilingly dark, fluid and strange.

The abstract oils of Andrei Petrov’s “B.C./A.D.,” also at Morton, evoke glaciation, erosion and water seeping through rock. Such associations fit the Washington-born New York artist’s method: He both builds and subtracts from his paintings, scraping and sanding to achieve a hard-worked surface and compositions that feature seeming cracks and crevices. The colors include some bright blues but are mostly shades that suggest minerals. Although “Swiss Bliss” somewhat resembles a landscape, most of the works lack that picture’s sense of distance. Whatever it is that Petrov depicts, he puts the viewer very close to its center.

Facsimile: Alternative Process Photographs by Natalie Cheung and B.C./A.D.: Nature-Based Abstract Oil Paintings by Andrei Petrov On view through April 16 at Morton Fine Art, 1781 Florida Ave. NW. 202-628-2787. 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.

Available Paintings by ETHAN DIEHL

2 Jul

 

ETHAN DIEHL's meticulous gray scale grids on canvas

ETHAN DIEHL’s meticulous gray scale grids on canvas

Specializing in figurative narratives and typically painting in gray scale, ETHAN DIEHL uses a grid system to create his work. His 48 x 60” paintings are comprised of approximately 104,000 squares per canvas, with the end result producing “unreal realism” of emotionally and visually complex images.

Available paintings include:

ETHAN DIEHL, "Navigator", 24"x48", oil on canvas

ETHAN DIEHL, “Navigator”, 24″x48″, oil on canvas

 

ETHAN DIEHL, "Vigilance", 36"x60", oil on canvas

ETHAN DIEHL, “Vigilance”, 36″x60″, oil on canvas

 

ETHAN DIEHL, "Flavors", 24"x48", oil on canvas

ETHAN DIEHL, “Flavors”, 24″x48″, oil on canvas

For additional details please contact Morton Fine Art.

http://www.mortonfineart.com

Morton Fine Art is located at 1781 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC, 20009

(202) 628-2787

mortonfineart@gmail.com

 

Katherine Hattam’s essay “Counting and the Vulgar Reader”

14 May

To view available work by visual artist, KATHERINE HATTAM, please visit http://www.mortonfineart.com.

Katherine Hattam, "The Egoist"

Katherine Hattam, “The Egoist”

KATHERINE HATTAM

COUNTING AND THE VULGAR READER

“The desire comes first”. This phrase, one I read in a book about American artist Eva Hesse, explains most things in my life, and certainly why I decided two years ago, to call this exhibition Consciousness Rising, to create work springing from reflections on the 1970s feminism and the phenomenon of “Consciousness Rising” particular to that time.

I am revisiting and reflecting on that time, my education – literature and psychoanalytic theory disguised as political science – when I read texts like Sanity, Madness and the Family; The Divided Self; The Greening of America – now I physically cannibalize them to provide a grid over which to work, incorporating covers and spines.

Why look back now? Death – less importantly politics – watching Julia Gillard’s resignation speech, for all my criticism of her as leader, there was a huge sense of sadness. Certainly it was different being a woman as a politician – harder…I am not a political artist – that is where my drive comes from – so to death…Both my parents have been dead for years, changing me and the work. But it is the more recent and shocking death of my friend Diana Gribble that feeds directly into this work. It certainly raised my consciousness of mortality but it was her stories of the South Yarra women’s consciousness raising group in the 1970s, stories of young, mostly married women, awakened to the fact of living in a patriarchy and simultaneously – almost without knowing it – finding themselves out of their once happy marriages – she was fabulous talking about this, being funny yet acknowledging its significance, at the same time both mocking it and taking it seriously.

As I didn’t do it, my knowledge of “consciousness rising” is secondhand. I wasn’t asked – it was an urban thing and I was married at twenty, living in far western Victoria on a family property (that life less conservative than it appeared), where women were of necessity integral to the business and daily life, through it was assumed the sons would inherit the land. But, I was commuting to Melbourne University once a fortnight and reading various second wave feminist texts. In fear of ever being stuck at a cattle sale or outside the stock and station agents in town, I always carried a book, at times Germaine Greer’s The Female Eunuch or a novel, say Anna Karenina or Women in Love. We were reading of student unrest in The Uncommitted, about the personal being political, so I was, through my visits to university, in touch. Importantly, a friend, Winsome McCaughey emailed me information about WEL (Women’s Electoral Lobby) that, significantly, I chose not to act on.

Looking back, I see an intellectually sophisticated, but emotionally backward young woman, navigating my marriage, living in a place and a life more exotic and different than if I had gone to another country rather than to the country. Maybe I was too young; my friends who did join consciousness-raising groups are years older. However, talking about this with my sisters, it was perhaps more the legacy of my intelligent but anti-joining mother. Added to this, she was a Modernist, believed there was only good and bad art, not Women’s or Muslim, Gay or Indigenous art, and would have been horrified, mocked the idea of quota, affirmative action.

It’s taken me pretty much until now to disagree with her. Reading the essay on “consciousness rising” titled “The personal is political” in the 1960s pamphlet “Notes from the Second Year”, I now see what I missed. I get it – women told their personal experiences and, in the repetition, the similarity of experience came to realize that personal experience was political. In a recent lecture, Sophie Cunningham, publisher, writer and Chair of the Literature Board, listed damning figures in all the arts – portraying an extremely unleveled playing field – the visual arts being by miles the worst. She pointed me to the blog, “The Countess”, which does just that, counts. Two examples: 1) the 1986 Sydney Biennial had 50/50 male female artists – the Australia Council, for once, specified that the money would be given on the condition that this would be the case, the only time both things have happened – the numbers have never since been equaled. 2) of the two thousand works in the Kaldor Collection donated to AGNSW, two or maybe three are by women.

An erstwhile friend, a writer, a good one and amusing friend, a man who used to ring me to talk and gossip – it was always interesting and fun, but somewhere in these conversations, he almost directly, and I’m sure, unconsciously, quoted Mr. Tansey in Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse, saying, “Women can’t write and women can’t paint”. Eventually our friendship ended when we argued over the portrayal of an artist in a novel which enraged me, “That just wouldn’t happen”, I objected – (it annoys me when writers use the character of an artist to explore their own creativity and, unfailingly, get the details of the trade wrong). Hs reply was to call me a “vulgar reader”, a title I now wear with pride.