Tag Archives: collage art

KATHERINE HATTAM | Interlocutor Interviews

3 Dec

INTERLOCUTOR

Dec 1

Exhibition Feature – STRANGE COUNTRY, STRANGE TIMES by Katherine Hattam at Morton Fine Art

Exhibition FeaturesVisual Artists

Photo by Jarrett Hendrix

Morton Fine Art is pleased to present Strange Country, Strange Times, a solo exhibition of paintings and prints by the artist Katherine Hattam. Incorporating literary and art-historical elements into her work, Hattam’s interiors offer materialist explorations of ultimately psychic space. The artist’s first solo exhibition with the gallery, Strange Country, Strange Times will be on view through December 20, 2022 at Morton Fine Art’s Washington, D.C. space.

The Pinch, 2022, 30 x 22 in. – Jigsaw woodblock print on paper – Edition 14/15
Strange Country, 2022, 30 x 22 in. – Jigsaw woodblock print on paper – Edition 4/5

Curatorial Statement by Amy Morton: 

Katherine Hattam is an internationally-renowned artist and recent finalist for Australia’s prestigious Archibald Prize. We have worked together for over a decade, so it is a great honor to be able to share so much of her incredible artwork in one exhibition, made even more special by the fact that Strange Country, Strange Times is Hattam’s first U.S. solo exhibit at Morton Fine Art and first ever solo exhibition in the U.S.

Hattam’s work is unmistakable. Brightly shaded walls and windows, collaged book spines and iconographic depictions of native Australian fauna and flora make up much of her painterly practice – a lifelong investigation with the domestic interior as its focus. She incorporates literary and art-historical elements, focusing on materialist explorations of ultimately psychic space. Acknowledging a centuries-long preoccupation with domestic space as both the imaginative location and societal bounds of female artistic production, Hattam conjures doubly imbued sites of domestic labor and imaginative longing, full of totemic kitchen tables and charged dining-room chairs. Although uniquely Australian, Hattam’s canon inspires and relates within a global feminist dialogue.

A Strange Country, 2022, 49 x 60.5 in. – Mixed media on linen
Perhaps, 2022, 21.5 x 25.5 in – Mixed media on linen

Artist Statement – by Katherine Hattam:

A painter and printmaker, my practice encompasses works on paper, collages and straightforward oil on linen. Since my mother—a great reader—died, I began to often incorporate books into my work, repurposing them to make a grid as the support in my paper or linen pieces.

The genesis of this exhibition, Strange Country, Strange Times, was the time of Covid and lockdowns. I created six new works during this period, stretching from 2020 to 2021. As an artist with my studio out the back of my house, I was fortunate in being able to work from my studio and—more than that—to revel in the time lockdowns opened up.

I found myself reflecting on the physical and geographic nature of my country, the islandness of Australia. Initially, this relative isolation protected us against the spread of the virus, but not for long. Nevertheless, it did make very clear what a strange island and what strange times that period was and is.

My Blue Pantheon, 2022, 30 x 23 in. – Oil on line
Love From, 2022, 11 x 13 in. – Mixed media on linen
Women’s Estate, 2022, 29 x 19 in. – Mixed media on linen
This Strange Island, 2022, 31 x 23 in. – Mixed media on linen

Strange Country, Strange Times will be on view through December 20, 2022 at Morton’s Washington, D.C. space.

Check out our coverage of other current and recent art exhibitions

All images courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist

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Available artwork by KATHERINE HATTAM

KATHERINE HATTAM | See Great Art

3 Dec

ART IN THE NORTHEAST FEMALE ARTISTS

Katherine Hattam first solo U.S. exhibition comes to D.C.

BY CHADD SCOTT POSTED ON 0 COMMENTS

Katherine Hattam, This Strange Island, 2022. 16.5 x 12 in. Mixed media on linen Courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist.
Katherine Hattam, This Strange Island, 2022. 16.5 x 12 in. Mixed media on linen Courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist.

Morton Fine Art is presents “Strange Country, Strange Times,” a solo exhibition of paintings and prints by the artist Katherine Hattam. Incorporating literary and art-historical elements into her work, Hattam’s interiors offer materialist explorations of ultimately psychic space. The artist’s first solo exhibition in the U.S., “Strange Country, Strange Times” will be on view from November 16 – December 20, 2022, at Morton Fine Art’s Washington, D.C. space.

Brightly shaded walls and windows, collaged book spines and iconographic depictions of native Australian fauna and flora make up much of Hattam’s painterly practice, a lifelong investigation with the domestic interior as its focus. Acknowledging a centuries-long preoccupation with domestic space as both the imaginative site and societal bounds of female artistic production, Hattam’s totemic kitchen tables and charged dining-room chairs recur as motifs throughout her artistic practice, doubly imbued as locations of domestic labor and sites of imaginative longing.

Often, windows look out onto fantastic landscapes – a rueful rumination on experiences proffered but withheld. In “Strange Country, Strange Times,” the vibrancy of Hattam’s window-views infiltrates into the domestic interior, reflecting the seeping isolation of the recent pandemic years, when means of travel and discovery were often confined to the mind. Hattam was well-equipped for such conditions: her domestic spaces have always been inveterately imaginative, expanded by (and often literally constructed from) the pages and covers of the books she’s been reading. Her frank pastiche of passing literary and artistic influences onto these interior landscapes discloses the extent to which Hattam views the perception of space as an inherently psychological construction, with internal influences and personal histories governing the way we make sense of even the most familiar room.

In 2019, Hattam received a fellowship grant to study at the Australian Print Workshop undermaster printer Martin King, where she began learning the method of jigsaw woodcut printing, a technique of classical Japanese art that was later adopted by Edvard Munch and Paul Gauguin. Several works in this exhibition were first made at that workshop in the months immediately preceding the pandemic. One of this show’s title works, Strange Country, sets Australian animal life in a landscape originally taken from Giotto. Reflecting on these portentous prints, Hattam notes that the pandemic allowed her to recognize the isolation implicit to living in Australia, a condition of being which she has often imposed into her art.

Hokusai’s Great Wave off Kanagawa (1831), another woodblock print, is inserted regularly throughout Hattam’s work here, alternately as window views or paintings-within-paintings, and represents for the artists a mentality of time – waves of feminism, waves of coronavirus – that embraces natural rhythms based on a sense of tidal flow.

A longstanding image for Hattam is that of a wood-backed dining room chair, which the artist has drawn and even reconstructed as sculpture since the 1990s. The persistence of chairs, tables and books stand in for family members and personal influences, like portraits in absentia. Despite the inveterate cerebrality of her interior compositions, Hattam insists that her works are always “about actually being there: they exist because someone has been there to see it.”

Her furniture, despite its symbolically potency and personal resonance, is also steadfastly literal, and represents a window into the broader material world. Through her compositions, Hattam asks: How much of one’s daily life is a mixture of what’s going on in your head and what’s going on outside?

About the Artist

Katherine Hattam (b. 1950) is a Melbourne-based Australian artist. Literature was a passion for Hattam’s mother, who first read Freud in adolescence, later passing her appreciation down to her daughter. Hattam graduated from Melbourne University in 1974 with a BA in Literature and Politics and a focus on psychoanalytic theory.

Literary references abound in her work; some of the books used in her compositions derive from her mother’s extensive collection, while others are scoured from second-hand stores. Works on paper – drawing, printmaking and collage – are a continuing thread in her practice.

Hattam’s work is in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Victoria, Queensland Art Gallery, University of Queensland, Queensland University of Technology, Artbank, Heide, Art Gallery of South Australia, Deakin and La Trobe Universities, Warrnambool Art Gallery and Bendigo Art Gallery. In 1992 she was awarded an MFA by the Victorian College of the Arts, and in 2004 she was awarded a PhD by Deakin University.

She has been represented by Morton Fine Art since 2011.

Morton Fine Art

Morton Fine Art Founded in 2010 in Washington D.C. by curator Amy Morton, 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 art collecting can be cultivated through an educational stance, 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 specializes in a stellar roster of nationally and internationally renowned artists as well as has an additional focus on artwork of the African Diaspora.

Available Artwork by KATHERINE HATTAM

KATHERINE HATTAM | Surface Magazine

1 Dec

WHEN

November 16, 2022 – December 20, 2022 Morton Fine Art: 52 O St NW #302, Washington, DC 20001

Brightly shaded walls and windows, collaged book spines, and iconographic depictions of Australian fauna and flora make up much of Hattam’s painterly practice, a lifelong investigation of the domestic interior. Here, she reflects on psychic space at the hands of the pandemic’s seeping isolation through vivid jigsaw woodcut printing, a technique of Classical Japanese art that was later adopted by Edvard Munch and Paul Gaugin. Inserted regularly throughout the works are motifs of Hokusai’s Great Wave Off Kanagawa, representing a mentality of time—waves of feminism, waves of coronavirus—that embraces natural rhythms based on a sense of tidal flow. 

KATHERINE HATTAM | Martin Cid Magazine

17 Nov

Paintings and Prints by Katherine Hattam Showcase Places of the Mind in the Wake of Isolation

The Australian artist’s new work reflects on the comforts of solitude and the peculiarities of her enclosed island state

Art Martin Cid MagazineBy Art Martin Cid Magazine

Updated: November 14, 2022

Katherine Hattam A Strange Country, 2022 49 x 60.5 in. Mixed media on linen Courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist

Washington, D.C. – Morton Fine Art is pleased to present Strange Country, Strange Times, a solo exhibition of paintings and prints by the artist Katherine Hattam. Incorporating literary and art-historical elements into her work, Hattam’s interiors offer materialist explorations of ultimately psychic space. The artist’s first solo exhibition in the U.S., Strange Country, Strange Times will be on view from November 16 – December 20, 2022 at Morton Fine Art’s Washington, D.C. space.

Katherine Hattam Perhaps, 2022 21.5 x 25.5 in Mixed media on linen Courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist

Brightly shaded walls and windows, collaged book spines and iconographic depictions of native Australian fauna and flora make up much of Hattam’s painterly practice, a lifelong investigation with the domestic interior as its focus. Acknowledging a centuries-long preoccupation with domestic space as both the imaginative site and societal bounds of female artistic production, Hattam’s totemic kitchen tables and charged dining-room chairs recur as motifs throughout her artistic practice, doubly imbued as locations of domestic labor and sites of imaginative longing. Often, windows look out onto fantastic landscapes – a rueful rumination on experiences proffered but withheld.

In Strange Country, Strange Times, the vibrancy of Hattam’s window-views infiltrates into the domestic interior, reflecting the seeping isolation of the recent pandemic years, when means of travel and discovery were often confined to the mind. Hattam was well-equipped for such conditions: her domestic spaces have always been inveterately imaginative, expanded by (and often literally constructed from) the pages and covers of the books she’s been reading. Her frank pastiche of passing literary and artistic influences onto these interior landscapes discloses the extent to which Hattam views the perception of space as an inherently psychological construction, with internal influences and personal histories governing the way we make sense of even the most familiar room.

Katherine Hattam The Pinch, 2022 30 x 22 in. Jigsaw woodblock print on paper Edition 14/15 Courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist

In 2019, Hattam received a fellowship grant to study at the Australian Print Workshop under master printer Martin King, where she began learning the method of jigsaw woodcut printing, a technique of classical Japanese art that was later adopted by Edvard Munch and Paul Gauguin. Several works in this exhibition were first made at that workshop in the months immediately preceding the pandemic. One of this show’s title works, Strange Country, sets Australian animal life in a landscape originally taken from Giotto. Reflecting on these portentous prints, Hattam notes that the pandemic allowed her to recognize the isolation implicit to living in Australia, a condition of being which she has often imposed into her art. Hokusai’s Great Wave off Kanagawa (1831), another woodblock print, is insterted regularly throughout Hattam’s work here, alternately as window views or paintings-within-paintings, and represents for the artists a mentality of time – waves of feminism, waves of coronavirus – that embraces natural rhythms based on a sense of tidal flow.

A longstanding image for Hattam is that of a wood-backed dining room chair, which the artist has drawn and even reconstructed as sculpture since the 1990s. The persistence of chairs, tables and books stand in for family members and personal influences, like portraits in absentia. Despite the inveterate cerebrality of her interior compositions, Hattam insists that her works are always “about actually being there: they exist because someone has been there to see it.” Her furniture, despite its symbolically potency and personal resonance, is also steadfastly literal, and represents a window into the broader material world. Through her compositions, Hattam asks: How much of one’s daily life is a mixture of what’s going on in your head and what’s going on outside?

Katherine Hattam headshot Courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist. Photo credit: Clare Rae

Katherine Hattam (b. 1950) is a Melbourne-based Australian artist. Literature was a passion for Hattam’s mother, who first read Freud in adolescence, later passing her appreciation down to her daughter. Hattam graduated from Melbourne University in 1974 with a BA in Literature and Politics and a focus on psychoanalytic theory. Literary references abound in her work; some of the books used in her compositions derive from her mother’s extensive collection, while others are scoured from second-hand stores. Works on paper – drawing, printmaking and collage – are a continuing thread in her practice. Hattam’s work is in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Victoria, Queensland Art Gallery, University of Queensland, Queensland University of Technology, Artbank, Heide, Art Gallery of South Australia, Deakin and La Trobe Universities, Warrnambool Art Gallery and Bendigo Art Gallery. In 1992 she was awarded an MFA by the Victorian College of the Arts, and in 2004 she was awarded a PhD by Deakin University. She has been represented by Morton Fine Art since 2011.

Katherine Hattam This Strange Island, 2022 31 x 23 in. Mixed media on linen Courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist

Morton Fine Art

Founded in 2010 in Washington D.C. by curator Amy Morton, 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 art collecting can be cultivated through an educational stance, 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 specializes in a stellar roster of nationally and internationally renowned artists as well as has an additional focus on artwork of the African Diaspora.

Morton Fine Art

52 O St NW #302, Washington, DC 20001

New “Not Geo” Collages by LISA MYERS BULMASH

23 Mar
LISA MYERS BULMASH, Not Geo : Woman, 2022, 12″x9″, ink, hand-marbled and rice paper collage on watercolor paper

Seattle-based artist LISA MYERS BULMASH writes on her new series “Not Geo”:

Sifting through vintage images of Black people can be hazardous to your mental health – if
you’re not prepared for what you might see. Even well-executed illustrations carry racist
baggage. The cover story, if you will, was that scientists were studying anthropological “types” in
the same way Charles Darwin might have drawn animal fossils. This kind of reasoning
continued well into the 20 th century. That’s how National Geographic magazine justified
publishing nude photos of people of color, for more than 100 years.

LISA MYERS BULMASH, Not Geo : Braiding, 12″x9″, ink, hand-marbled and rice paper collage on watercolor paper
LISA MYERS BULMASH, Not Geo : Sitting Man, 2022, 12″x9″, ink, hand-marbled and rice paper collage on watercolor paper

The “Not Geo” series of collages is a play on National Geographic’s nickname, Nat Geo. Rather
than perpetuating stereotypes, however, I’ve decided to rehab them with contemporary collage
elements. Each person’s image is highlighted with marbled paper, elevating their presence
much like actual marble does for classical sculpture. Delicate rice paper fragments and
watercolors add a contrasting softness. My hope is that a touch of irony and humor will help
restore some dignity to people once reduced to specimens. – LISA MYERS BULMASH

LISA MYERS BULMASH, Not Geo : Girl, 2022, 12″x9″, ink, hand-marbled and rice paper collage on watercolor paper
LISA MYERS BULMASH, Not Geo : Crossed Arms, 2022, 12″x9″, ink, hand-marbled and rice paper collage on watercolor paper

Available artwork by LISA MYERS BULMASH

Tune in to LISA MYERS BULMASH’s Visiting Artist Lecture at The North Seattle College of Art on Monday 10/25 from 12-1pm PDT or 3-4pm EST

15 Oct

LISA MYERS BULMASH, The Ingratitude of the Girl, 2021, 36″x48″, mixed media collage on panel
Detail of LISA MYERS BULMASH, The Ingratitude of the Girl, 2021, 36″x48″, mixed media collage on panel

Available Artwork by LISA MYERS BULMASH

KATHERINE TZU-LAN MANN in Bmore Art by Suzy Kopf

7 Oct

Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann Isn’t Apologizing for Beauty Anymore

Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann Isn’t Apologizing for Beauty Anymore

Mann’s wall-sized collages and installations rework and play with her own life and history, visually summarizing the collision of her upbringing

Collage can be loosely summarized as the coming together of contrasting elements to make a new whole. Bold colors or patterns are pushed up against representational forms to create a world that doesn’t adhere to the laws of gravity or perspective. We recognize this in the 100-year-old canvases of artists like Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, and Juan Gris (who currently has a show up at the Baltimore Museum of Art). Perhaps because of these origins of collage, it’s especially notable when a contemporary artist combines elements of themselves in their work, not just material from the world around them. 

Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann’s wall-sized collages and installations rework and play with her own life and history, visually summarizing the collision of her upbringing. Moving every two or three years through Asia, the US, and the Middle East as the daughter of an American foreign service officer father and a Taiwanese mother, homemaker, teacher, and graphic designer, Mann first dabbled with traditional Sumi-e ink techniques as a teen but didn’t learn to speak Chinese until college.

In her work, Mann simultaneously combines Eastern and Western influences, using extremely old mediums such as Sumi-e ink, invented in the first century AD in China, and contemporary ones such as Yupo paper, a plastic paper that is popular with water media artists because it repels water instead of absorbing it, allowing ethereal shapes that recall their watery origins to dry slowly.

Installation view of Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann: Water Ribbon at Morton Fine Art

In her practice, Mann creates space for herself to exist as a biracial person, something she says is a “lifelong struggle and burden” of constantly feeling out of place. The traditional Asian painting traditions are not fully hers, she feels, and neither is the thorny history of Western landscape painting, which is inherently tied to imperialism and colonialism. In her studio in the DC studio complex STABLE, Mann has both a well-worn Thomas Moran book and a similarly battered book of the Buddhist Mogao caves at Dunhuang, China, within arm’s reach. A self-identified landscape painter, she draws upon both histories of painting place, relating to her ancestors, who she describes being “destroyed by colonialism,” and the undeniable beauty of the work of the Hudson River School, problematic as they are.

I first saw a solo show of Mann’s work at Goucher College in 2015, and over the six years I’ve been admiring it since, it has become more chaotic, more layered, and, as Mann sees it, “more fragmented.” The pandemic caused great personal loss for the artist: Two of her grandparents passed away, one from COVID-19 and one most likely from pandemic-induced confinement. But it has also caused her to rethink the way she works. She also connects the start of these internal shifts to parenthood (she is the mother of 4-year-old Mae and 6-year-old Calvin), which has caused her to grow more accustomed to taking risks in her art and being less rigid. 

Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann, Arch 2 (diptych), 2018, acrylic, sumi ink, silkscreen, and monoprint on paper, 60 x 120 inches
Installation view of Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann: Water Ribbon at Morton Fine Art

Many of the works in her current solo show, Water Ribbon, at DC’s Morton Fine Art (up until October 6), are a record of the last eighteen months, when Mann took care of her children during the day and worked for long chunks of the night in her studio. “I’m going to look back at the pandemic as this time of immense grief and loss,” she says. “But also, I’m going to look back at it as a time where I became much more connected to my kids.”

Before having children, Mann was a regular on the DMV college-adjunct circuit. Since having her son and daughter—and especially since the pandemic forced her to become a “preschool student” of immersion Mandarin (to support her daughter’s education, she says, laughing)—she and her partner have worked out a system where they split childcare and Mann is a full-time artist. Her ability to support herself with art sales and commissions speaks to her talent, but moreover, it is evidence of her work ethic. 

Coming out of MICA’s Hoffberger MFA program in 2009, she knew that there were not going to be galleries knocking down her door to work with her. Instead, she focused on open calls and began what has become a constant practice of sending out applications. The results have basically been a snowball of opportunities over the last twelve years.

“I applied to the Hamiltonian fellowship after grad school and when I got that they brought my work to art fairs,” she says. “A gallery saw a painting at an art fair and picked me up after I was finished with the fellowship. I was lucky that happened, but I did apply to it to begin with.” She also got good at accepting rejection and moving on. 

Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann, Crust, Mantle, Core, 2021, acrylic and collage on paper, 60 x 60 inches
Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann, Ley, 2020, acrylic, sumi ink, and collage on paper, 45 x 55 inches

This is not to imply Mann’s career has been without its professional challenges—she began to pursue public commissions because of a bad business deal. When she was pregnant with her son six years ago, she had gallery representation in New York, London, Los Angeles, and Toronto—an enormous professional milestone for many. And then, seemingly without warning, all but the Toronto gallery went out of business, one going bankrupt while owing Mann a substantial amount of money for works that had been sold. “It felt like, oh, you achieved this goal that you’re supposed to have in the art world. And then you ended up worse for it,” Mann says. “It felt like this lack of independence, a lack of freedom on my part to have control over my own destiny because all of these other people were players.”

But Mann isn’t dwelling in the past, and is instead focusing on ways to evolve her studio work alongside the large-scale commissions. For the works in her show at Morton Fine Art, “there was more bold cutting into forms and it’s a little bit more aggressive,” she says. “Whereas before, I was thinking about building these bodies and having these additions onto the bodies.”

Weathering this season of loss, Mann sees a “subtractive element” in her work where there had previously been additions, focusing more on “sharply cutting into forms to take things away and confuse the negative space more. What is negative space is not as apparent now as it was.” Where earlier collages focused on contrast, in the new works made in 2020, collage is becoming camouflage.

A single completed painting contains many “failed paintings,” Mann says, which have been recycled and pasted into new works, creating an overall “hybridity” that she is seeking. She works on paper, first laying it down on the floor and pouring ink onto it, and then pinning it to the wall so she can paint and collage in an immediate manner, responding to previous marks and allowing her plans to change as the work develops. 

Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann, Dunhuang 1, 2016, acrylic and sumi ink on paper, 60 x 84 inches

Contrary to the traditional emphasis on sketching in art school, Mann doesn’t create sketches first unless working on a commission for a client. Her process-oriented works begin with an ink pouring, which “provides the rest of the direction of the future of the painting.” The resulting works are layered and confusing to behold because they seem to move constantly between flat and textural areas, a phenomenon that Mann recognizes from her training in traditional Chinese landscape painting, which also emphasizes shifting perspective. Sumi-e painting can be thought of as a kind of meditation that follows an extremely specific order of brush strokes to create such classical natural subjects as bamboo, cherry blossoms, and mountains. The repetition of subject matter and method has found its way into Mann’s work; botanical and decorative themes such as flowers and undulating bows have been motifs since the artist’s graduate school days. Over time, she feels that these symbols “take on a new form, new meaning, or become kind of diffused in their original meaning.” And for this reason, she returns to them, playing with how to make them over again.

Like most of us, it seems Mann is entering the next phase of the pandemic with a new acceptance of herself and her work. She no longer tries to explain away the inherently pleasant nature of much of the patterns, colors, and compositions of her work. “I originally felt like it was a flaw in the work that it was beautiful and therefore not serious,” she says. “I’ve come to not apologize for that.” 

She believes that the concept of beauty as trivial comes from the male and Western tradition of Abstract Expressionism, which she butted up against with Grace Hartigan, then-director of Hoffberger, in her first year of graduate school. Mann recalls Hartigan telling her that “pattern tickles the eye but does not touch the soul,” which was hard for her to move past. Mann began purposefully working with symbols of beauty to address this critique and in “acknowledgment of beauty and girlhood,” she explains. After the pandemic, it’s hard to really see the pursuit of pleasure as a problem.

Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann, Water Ribbon, 2021, acrylic and sumi ink on paper, 90 x 60 inches

*****

Featured image: Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann, Understory, 2021, acrylic, collage, and sumi ink on paper, 56 x 56 inches

Installation view of Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann: Water Ribbon at Morton Fine Art
Installation view of Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann: Water Ribbon at Morton Fine Art

All images courtesy of the artist and Morton Fine Art. Installation views by Jarrett Hendrix

Available artwork by KATHERINE TZU-LAN MANN

MALIZA KIASUWA featured in Nation and allAfrica

28 Jun

Kenya: Artist Takes Pride in Her Ancestry

By Margaretta Wa Gacheru

Having transformed a hay-filled barn into a giant home studio, Malisa Kiasuwa has been working throughout the Covid-19 lockdown preparing for two exhibitions currently underway overseas. One is in Washington, DC, while the other is in London.

Both sharing the theme, The Pride of Origins, the Naivasha-based Malisa has previously exhibited in Nairobi at Circle Art Gallery and at Alliance Francaise. But Amy Morton of the Morton Fine Art Gallery in Washington found Malisa on Instagram, the social medium currently accommodating many local fine artists.

Nonetheless, while visiting Kenya in 2019, Morton found her way to Circle Art where she got an even better impression of Malisa’s organically-based artistry.

“Amy was and still is interested in featuring contemporary African art at her gallery, which is how she got to know me,” says the Belgian-Congolese artist whose 21 collages and wall hangings featured in her first solo show in DC from June 2to 22.

Soulful spotlight

Meanwhile, another 16 of Malisa’s collages are featuring now at the Sulger-Buel Gallery in London, where the artist has set her soulful spotlight on not just the Pride of Origins but specifically on the notion of ancestry.

Malisa works with an array of mixed media, including organic materials like raffia grass, sisal rope, handmade papers, scraps of fabric, and threads made out of cotton and silk, silver and gold. She blends them with found objects that she collects during her frequent walks around the lake and Naivasha town.

The upcycling of found objects appeal to the artist’s concern for conservation. Her use of organic materials reflects her desire to stay close to the purity of nature. But during the lockdown, Malisa reflected upon all the many clashing contradictions festering in the world, including the ‘virus of racism’ and the coronavirus, the Black Lives Matter movement and the rise of white supremacy.

An example of reconciliation

She desires to see the reconciliation of these extremes, a coming together of disparate elements in the name of peace.

“I see myself as an example of reconciliation since my background is both European and African,” says Malisa.

In a sense, both exhibitions are about Identity, reconciliation, and ‘the pride of origins’. These themes are symbolised most visibly in her London show where she includes collages that combine engraved portraits of 18th-century European aristocrats upon whose faces Malisa has affixed wooden West African masks (the kind that enthralled Western artists like Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse).

“I found the engravings of my [Swiss] husband’s ancestors in an attic of his family’s home,” says Malisa who saw the etchings had been forgotten, so she brought them back to Kenya where she and her family have been living since 2013.

Treating them like the other ‘found objects’ that she uses to upcycle into her art, the masks superimposed on the faces of these bourgeois white men are meant to symbolize what reconciliation might look like. Yet the juxtaposition of the two-dimensional etchings and the three-dimensional masks could also be interpreted in other ways, either to amuse or to annoy.

There’s an irony of her embellishing the men’s portraits with African masks which had once been used in sacred rituals and infused with mystical powers. At the same time, Western aristocrats are not the only ‘nobility’ in the London show.

Malisa herself comes from West African nobility. “My father’s ‘tribe’ is Ndongo, the same one as Queen Zinga [or Nzinga] of Congo,” she recalls. Noting that Zinga was renowned for her military and diplomatic leadership which is credited for fending off Portuguese colonialism and slave trade for over 30 years.

Zinga is often identified as coming from Angola, but Malisa explains the Ndongo kingdom, before the colonial carving up of Africa in the 19th century, traversed northern Angola as well as southern Congo.

“Our people had lived on the border of what is now Congo,” says Malisa, adding that she wants her children to take pride in their shared ancestry.

In both exhibitions, there is at least one explicitly autobiographic collage featuring a mug shot of the artist wearing a crown, either made of hand-made paper or animal skin. As if enthroned in her exhibition just as Queen Zinga headed her vast kingdom, the letter ‘Z’ is emblazoned on each crown, standing at once for Zinga and for Zaire, which was the name of her country at the time that she was born.

Read the original article on Nation.

Available artwork by MALIZA KIASUWA

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

http://www.mortonfineart.com

info@mortonfineart.com

+001 (202) 628-2787 (call or text)

MALIZA KIASUWA featured in Metal Magazine

8 Jun

Maliza Kiasuwa – Bound by historyWords by Emma Smit

MALIZA KIASUWA BOUND BY HISTORY

Morton Fine Art in Washington D.C. is featuring twenty-one works for the exhibit titled, Pride and Origins, by Kenyan-based artist Maliza Kiasuwa. This display is on view until June 30, 2021, and it showcases Kiasuwa’s investigations about the ongoing disproportionate exchanges between Africa and the Western world. Her pictorial symphonies are deeply rooted in Kenya’s cultural, social, and political context, but more generally of Africa and the modern world.

As a visual artist of European and African origin, Kiasuwa’s art transforms an isolated piece of unearthed material into an arrangement of personal narratives that tell the tales of her panoptic perspective and her own experience of the expression ‘double belonging,’ and of being othered. She blends handcrafted materials from Japan with found objects from around her farm on Lake Naivasha.

From mesh detailing, delicate embroidery and a foray of varied kinds of paper, she highlights the interconnectedness of the post-colonial landscape and its consumerist society. Transfiguring their meaning as separate beings, they lay in harmony as potential space for reconciliation once positioned together.
Maliza Kiasuwa’s exhibition Pride and Origins is now on view at Morton Fine Art in Washington D.C. until June 30.Common History 2, 2021Incomplete 1, 2021Imperfections, 2021Common History 4, 2021Common History 3, 2021Common History 1, 2021

Words
Emma Smit
Images Courtesy of the artist and Morton Fine Art

Available Artwork by MALIZA KIASUWA

LISA MYERS BULMASH “The Home Inside My Head” reviewed in The Washington Post

27 Dec

Congratulations to LISA MYERS BULMASH for the rich review of her solo exhibition “The Home Inside My Head” in today’s print edition of The Washington Post by Mark Jenkins. (Arts & Style Section 12/27/20)

Lisa Myers Bulmash

Also spurred by pandemic-era exile from everyday life, Lisa Myers Bulmash conceived a Morton Fine Art show “The Home Inside My Head”. The Seattle artist combines found and personal objects into 3-D collages that conjure both African American history and her family’s own story. The pieces juggle the antiquarian and the immediate to express what Bulmash’s statement calls “a Black and female viewpoint”.

One series, “Rare & Exquisite,” places oversize models of endangered butterflies atop maps of regions of the United States collaged from Colonial-era (and thus not entirely reliable) charts. The effect is to correlate the threatened species — affixed with heavy railroad spikes that evoke hard labor –with Black people whose place in this country has always been at risk.

Examples of another antique tool, the wooden washboard, serve as frames in the “Bought and Paid For” series. The washboards hold books and ovals made of twine, which enclose overlapping transparencies of family photos. The pictures depict various old structures, including houses, and children at play. Again, Bulmash contrasts rough materials with fragile beings.

It seems apt that another piece is based on a torn piece of old sheet music repaired by kintsugi, the Japanese technique of using gold to both accentuate and exalt the cracks in a broken vessel. Bulmash’s assemblages can be seen as a bid to mend history.

Click HERE to read the review in full.

On view by appointment at Morton Fine Art through January 6th, 2021. Located at 52 O St NW #302, Washington, DC 20001.

(202) 628-2787 (text or call)

info@mortonfineart.com

http://www.mortonfineart.com

Available Artwork by LISA MYERS BULMASH