Tag Archives: Black History Month

“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

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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.

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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.

MAYA FREELON ASANTE and KESHA BRUCE artwork on view at Capital One McLean

24 Jan

CapOne1

Capital One McLean is currently hosting the group exhibition, Between Memory and Magic in honor of Black History Month. Morton Fine Art has loaned six artworks by MAYA FREELON ASANTE and KESHA BRUCE for the duration of the show.

CapOne2

Between Memory and Magic is a group exhibition exploring the creative contributions of African Americans by establishing a connection between memory, language and spirituality. The exhibition surveys the works of 9 artists providing a balance of realistic, yet poetic portrayals of the human figure and experiences within the culture; as well as works that uplift the subject in a contemporary perspective transporting the viewer to a magical, elemental realm. Between Memory and Magic includes select, diverse artists as a representation of social justice and to convey an underlining objective of peace and understanding.

Available Artwork by these two powerhouse artists MAYA FREELON ASANTE and KESHA BRUCE can be found on Morton Fine Art’s website, follow the hyperlinks attached to their names.  For additional details and acquisition please contact us here at the gallery!

MARTINA DODD on Black History Month

25 Feb

In 1926, historian Carter G Woodson along with other prominent leaders from the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH) sponsored the first Negro History Week. Negro History Week, sought to promote the teachings of Black American legacy and achievement, especially in the nation’s public schools and universities.  This seven day celebration during the second week of February was later officially extended to a month long holiday by President Ford in 1976.

Much has happened in this country since 1926, Martin Luther King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech, the first Black President was elected twice and the National Museum of African American History and Culture opened its doors.  As we use this month as an opportunity  to honor the central role of African Americans  within US history, we must also remember to salute those who are now actively creating their own legacy.  We at Morton Fine Art acknowledge and prioritize the advancements made by African Americans within this country, and applaud and thank artists, activists and educators who have made it a goal to do so within their practice.  Artists such as Maya Freelon Asante, Kesha Bruce and Nathaniel Donnett who continually use their artistic medium to preserve and highlight the stories of African Americans.

past_present_tense-webMAYA FREELON ASANTE, Past Tense Present, 2015, 8.5”x18″, tissue ink mono/photo print

Inspired by her discovery of a stack of water-soaked colored paper in her grandmother’s  basement, Freelon Asante’s tissue ink mono photo prints speak to the power of  familial history, connected-ness and renewal.  Bruce,  who also found inspiration from a grandparent’s belongings,  reconceptualizes  the Black American experience in her photo series (Re) Calling  & (Re) Telling,  through  old and damaged negatives  given to her by her grandfather. Bruce’s and Freelon Asante’s use of archival images to explore the connections between personal mythologies and collective memory both help to re-center the black family unit within the American narrative.

that-they-might-be-lovely-webKESHA BRUCE, That They Might Be Lovely, 12″x9″, archival pigment print, edition of 15

Nathaniel Donnett’s work articulates the complex cultural concerns of a “united nation” still divided by racial tension.  In his Small Bag series, Donnett makes reference to the “paper bag test” and its South African equivalent the  “pencil test,” (two tests used to distinguish a person’s racial identity and/or their ability to “pass” as white) while prompting his viewers to take a four question test of their own that relate to acceptable beauty standards, microaggressions and racial biases. By asking his audience to finish statements like;  “Good hair can be A) Kinky B) Straight C) Wavy D) All of the above,” he brings to light America’s  legacy of racism, colorism and its obsession with classification.

smallbag18-cropNATHANIEL DONNETT, Small Bag 18, 10.75″x5″ graphite, charcoal and printed ink on paper
bag

Although Black History Month is quickly coming to a close, we should continue to support these artists as they maintain their dedication in keeping the  stories of our ancestors alive.

-MARTINA DODD for Morton Fine Art, February 2017

MAYA FREELON ASANTE’s artwork at University of Maryland, Eastern Shore in “History Continues: Contemporary African American Artists

2 Feb

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UMES hosts Black History Month exhibit

“History Continues:  Contemporary African-American Artists,” the University of Maryland Eastern Shore’s Black History Month exhibit, opens Feb. 4 with a reception from 4-6 p.m. in the Mosely Gallery.

The art display, which runs through March 10, shows “how current events and culture inform the work of contemporary African-American artists,” gallery director Susan Holt said.  “All the artists are young, emerging artists from the Baltimore/Washington area who use quite different materials, themes and approaches, yet contain some connection to the relevance of Black History.”

Artists include:  Michael Booker (University of Maryland 2012), Maya Freelon Asante (School of Museum of Fine Art in Boston 2007), Larry Cook (George Washington 2013), Shaunte Gates, Jeffrey Kent (Maryland Institute College of Art 2010) and Jamea Richmond-Edwards (Howard University 2012).

Companion events accompany the art exhibit.

The Mosely Gallery is free and open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Call 410-651-7770 or visit www.moselygallery.com for more information.

 

Click here to view available artwork by MAYA FREELON ASANTE.
Artwork is available at Morton Fine Art, 1781 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC 20009

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