Tag Archives: Contemporary African American Art

NATE LEWIS in Hyperallergic

16 May

Artist NATE LEWIS was featured in a recent review on Hyperallergic.

The Body as a Field for Graphic Experiments

A show in Harlem takes on the human form with some surprising results.

Seph Rodney

Nate Lewis, “Uninhibited Movements” (2016), hand sculpted paper photo print, 40 x 26 inches (all images courtesy Art in Flux Harlem)

It’s difficult to surprise art audiences with figurative work these days. But at a new exhibition at Art in Flux Harlem, Terrestrial Resonance, I see work that genuinely astonishes me. Nate Lewis’s “Uninhibited Movements” (2016) and “Conductor II” (2017) both are hand sculpted paper photo prints that meld the material of the photographic paper and the body depicted on that paper to work together as a field of graphic and textural exploration. Lewis, delicately and with a staggering degree of detail, makes cuts into the underlying image of a nude black male body in “Uninhibited Movements” to create a landscape that is tattooed with patterns like waves, a flock of birds wheeling in the night sky, or tribal beadwork incised into the skin. The picking done to create these vistas is so fine that I bounce back and forth between admiring the metaphor of the body as canvas for the decorative impulse and admiring the facture of the work.

To see the rest of the article, click HERE.

To see more of NATE LEWIS’ works, visit his page on our website HERE

NATALIE CHEUNG and NATE LEWIS Reviewed in The Washington Post

25 Apr

WASHINGTON POST ~ In the galleries ~ April 21, 2017

 Natalie Cheung: Increments in Time and Nate Lewis: Tensions in Tapestries On view through April 26 at Morton Fine Art, 1781 Florida Ave. NW. 202-628-2787. mortonfineart.com.

Natalie Cheung’s “31 Hours,” cyanotype on paper, on view through April 26 at Morton Fine Art. (Natalie Cheung/Courtesy of Morton Fine Art)

To judge by their titles, change must be the subject of Natalie Cheung’s cyanotypes. Each picture in her Morton Fine Art show, “Increments in Time,” is named after a period of as little as one and as many as 76 hours. This is how long it took water to evaporate from the photographic paper, yielding studies in blue, black and white.  The D.C. artist has turned the process, once used for architectural blueprints, into something abstract and unpredictable. Her pictures may resemble Rorschach tests and microscopic views, but all they truly illustrate is the process by which they were made. Their poetry is an accident of chemicals and duration.


Nate Lewis’s “Signals II,” hand-sculpted paper photo print, at Morton Fine Art. (Nate Lewis/Courtesy of Morton Fine Art)

To Nate Lewis, whose “Tensions in Tapestries” also is at Morton, the African American body is a landscape to be transformed. He cuts and scrapes black-and-white photographic portraits, removing pigment while adding patterns and flocked textures. The effect recalls African weaving and skin embellishment, but also reflects the influence of the D.C. artist’s job as an intensive-care nurse, seeking to heal the most damaged. In pieces such as “Funk and Spine,” the surface of a woman’s body is almost entirely remade, yet sinew, bone and essence endure.

– Mark Jenkins

Natalie Cheung: Increments in Time and Nate Lewis: Tensions in Tapestries On view through April 26 at Morton Fine Art, 1781 Florida Ave. NW. 202-628-2787. mortonfineart.com.

New Works by NATE LEWIS

11 Apr
Mobile, hand sculpted paper photo print, 40″ x 26″​
We are excited to announce new works by Washington, DC based artist NATE LEWIS. They are from his latest series Tensions in Tapestries
 
We all have a lens through which we see. Our lens is distilled by our patterns of seeing and thinking which continually refines our lens. The lens we come to form becomes our filter.
Using figurative and portrait style images I hand-sculpt patterns and textures on to single sheets of paper that reveal unseen tensions on and within bodies representative of the past, present, and future – the physical and the spiritual, the tangible and intangible. 
Internal, as well as external influences come to refine our patterns of thinking, seeing, interacting and loving. Through the use of presence and absence, textures and distortion, I aim to challenge the filters we hold that dictate our views and our actions.
Through an attentive, intentional process of sculpting patterns and terrains of texture on bodies, I seek for this work to mirror the intentionality and consistency it can take in ones patterns of thinking and seeing to hold an empathetic lens.
-NATE LEWIS, 2017
 
Nathaniel Lewis grew up in Beaver Falls, near Pittsburgh, Pa. Born 1985, Nate benefited from the cultural mix of his Trinidad-born father who was raised in Brooklyn and his white American-born mother, raised in Philadelphia. He graduated from VCU with his BSN and has been a practicing critical care nurse for the past five years as well as professional fine artist. Tensions in Tapestries is Nate’s second solo exhibition at Morton Fine Art.
 
Please find images of the new works below. You can see more of Nate’s available works HERE.

Thrice, hand sculpted paper photo print, 26″ x 40″

Cloaked but Absent III, hand sculpted paper photo print, 40″ x 26″

Funk and Spine, hand sculpted paper photo print​, 40″ x 26″

Archaic Pages, hand sculpted paper photo print, 18″ x 22″

Clenched, ​hand sculpted paper photo print, 14″ x 18″

Conductor, hand sculpted paper photo print, 20″ x 22″

Dignity II, hand sculpted paper photo print, 22″ x 20″

Signals II, ​hand sculpted paper photo print, 24″ x 26″

Unbalanced and Clear, hand sculpted paper photo print, 24″ x 26″

NATHANIEL DONNETT in “Silos” at Columbia College

11 Jan
DEPS - Department of Exhibitions, Performance & Student SpacesColumbia College Chicago
 Yaw Aygeman, den na ma ye (what have I done), 2016 , video installation
silos

Silos

November 17, 2016 – February 18, 2017

Reception and artist talk: November 17, 4-8 P.M.
4-5 p.m., Annika Marie in conversation with Shane K. Gooding
5-8 p.m., Opening reception

Lecture: Jeffreen M. Hayes Ph.D.
February 9, 6p.m. 623 S. Wabash Ave, room 203

As a microcosm of our society, the art world maintains a system of marginalization based on racial and cultural difference. Artists identified as “other” function in silos, just as they do in society. This exhibition presents eleven artists who examine these silos, otherness, and the cultural and social ramifications of marginalization based on one’s identity, whether self-defined or inscribed. Bearing witness, as these artists do, not only identifies the pressing issues of our time but also challenges the norm of marginalization, absence, and exclusion. Through the work of Yaw Agyeman, Wesley Clark, Nathaniel DonnettShané K. Gooding, Esau McGhee, Johana Moscoso, Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz, Ellington Robinson, Stacy-Lynn Waddell, Rhonda Wheatley and Wilmer Wilson IV Silos gives voice to the silence(d).

Curated by Jeffreen M. Hayes, Ph.D

For more information: Mark Porter, mporter@colum.edu/312-369-6643

Gallery Hours

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 9am – 5pm, Thursday 9am – 7pm,
Saturday 12pm – 5pm

NATHANIEL DONNETT featured in New American Paintings

20 Dec
NATHANIEL DONNETT featured in New American Paintings 2016, West, Issue #126

 
 

NATHANIEL DONNETT

Region: West
City / State: Houston, TX
I’m a Dark Imaginarence practitioner interested in human behavior and psychosocial concerns. “Dark Imaginarence” is a term I coined that conceptually and formally combines social observation, everyday working-class poetics, the human condition, and African-American creative cultural expression. My most recent body of work explores tensions around disparate perspectives and forms that underscore notions of visibility, presence, and preservation as they relate to society, the black body, and black ontology. Approval and refusal, representation and abstraction, are symbolically adjacent, coexisting in dialectical dissonance. Foreclosed homes and buildings are the inspiration for the abstracted forms, and historical floor plans are superimposed as cosmological shields and masks depicting agency and sacredness while referencing time. Space, place, and everything in between have historically operated as a location for reflection and the imaginative transformation of blackness in the United States South. The imagination responds to the innate desire for the freedom of the in/external self. The black experience and black aesthetic is a forever evolving song that I continue to replay and rethink again and again and again and…

 

Morton Fine Art celebrates the historic grand opening of the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of African American History and Culture with KESHA BRUCE’s (Re)calling & (Re)telling photography

13 Sep
Inspired by family mythologies and personal experiences, KESHA BRUCE‘s photography series (Re)calling and (Re)telling creates open narratives addressing aspects of African American history and experience through memory and storytelling. The complete 14 piece series of (Re)calling and (Re)telling is in the permanent collection of the new Smithsonian Institution National Museum of African American History and Culture.
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

About (Re)calling & (Re)telling

Kesha Bruce uses photography as a means to explore new ways of conceptualizing cultural and ethnic identities and histories. Inspired by a collection of old and damaged negatives given to her by her grandfather, (Re)calling and (Re)telling is essentially the next step in the progression of those ideas.

Each photograph in (Re)calling and (Re)telling begins with a single large-format negative. Once a print has been made from the negative, fragments of maps, drawings, or other found imagery are manually manipulated directly in front of the camera lens, on a delicately lit three-dimensional set, in order to arrive at a final image. Each image in the series is composed and created “in camera” without the aid of photo-editing software.

(Re)calling and (Re)telling is part history, part personal mythology, and part homage. Each image contains narratives and histories, both real and invented, that give voice to individuals who remain marginalized by the commonly accepted meta-narratives within Western culture.

That They Might Be Lovely 
 
 

That They Might Be Lovely, 12″x9″, archival pigment print, edition of 15


That They Might Be Lovely was created by combining three images: The first, a Slave Map, dating from 1857, illustrating slave populations by state and county; a daguerreotype portrait of a slave woman named Delia, taken by Louis Agassiz in 1850; and a photograph of three lovely, smiling women, taken by my grandfather, nearly one hundred years later.

In Delia’s portrait, I saw not just a portrait of a slave, but a portrait of a woman who refused to be shamed by history. Much like the ancient limestone busts of Nefertiti, her profile reveals dignity and strength.
In the narrative I’ve created, the three young, beautiful, women, posing happily in a field, represent Delia’s private imaginings.
They are her dream, her wish, and her hope for the future. –KeshaBruce

And Then I Shall Be Free 
 
 

And Then I Shall Be Free, 12″x9″, archival pigment print, edition of 15


My grandfather seemed to have picked up photography as a hobby during the period from 1950-1955 while he was a soldier during the Korean War.  He never spoke to me about his photographs until I too began studying photography at University.  Then, one day, without explanation, he gave me his entire collection of negatives.

And Then I Shall Be Free combines an archival photograph taken of a slave plantation with an inset self-portrait of my grandfather in uniform. For my grandfather, being a soldier represented the possibility of a better life, and ultimately freedom. –Kesha Bruce

Begotten 
 
 

Begotten, 12″x9″, archival pigment print, edition of 15
 
While religion has never been the subject of my work, my religious upbringing has definitely had a significant influence on my work.

The idea for this image came from an archival photo of slave children on a plantation. This particular photograph of the children brought to mind a biblical verse that had always fascinated me.
The first chapter of the book of Matthew traces the genealogy of Christ. The chapter begins: “Abraham begot Isaac, and Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers…” and continues on for another 16 verses, in this same manner, until we reach the birth of Jesus Christ.
I used a simplified shape of a house and the words from the passage as a foreground to reframe the original image. –Kesha Bruce

Nobody Knows Her People 
 
 

Nobody Knows Her People, 12″x9″ archival pigment print, edition of 15


“Nobody Knows Her People” is a phrase I once overheard one of my family members use to explain why nobody really knew much about my grandfather’s mother.  Much later, I learned that she was orphaned as a young child and was taken in and raised by another family, eventually taking their last name.

The primary image I’ve incorporated into Nobody Knows Her Peoplewas a very popular abolitionist propaganda drawing that was widely circulated in many different versions and printed in many different publications.  I was always struck by the simplicity and the power of this drawing and it immediately came to mind once I’d decided I wanted to create a narrative about history, disconnection, and loss.

Kesha Bruce

About National Museum of African American History & Culture
 
 
The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture. It was established by Act of Congress in 2003, following decades of efforts to promote and highlight the contributions of African Americans. To date, the museum has collected more than 36,000 artifacts. Nearly 100,000 individuals have become charter members of the museum. When the NMAAHC opens on September 24, 2016, it will be the 19th and newest museum of the Smithsonian Institution.
There are four pillars upon which the NMAAHC stands:
  1. It provides an opportunity for those who are interested in African American culture to explore and revel in this history through interactive exhibitions;
  2. It helps all Americans see how their stories, their histories, and their cultures are shaped and informed by global influences;
  3. It explores what it means to be an American and share how American values like resiliency, optimism, and spirituality are reflected in African American history and culture; and
  4. It serves as a place of collaboration that reaches beyond Washington to engage new audiences and to collaborate with the myriad of museums and educational institutions that have explored and preserved this important history well before this museum was created.
The NMAAHC is a public institution open to all, where anyone is welcome to participate, collaborate, and learn more about African American history and culture. In the words of Lonnie G. Bunch III, founding director of the NMAAHC, “there are few things as powerful and as important as a people, as a nation that is steeped in its history.”

MAYA FREELON ASANTE site-specific installation in DC

21 Jun

Amazing site-specific installation by MAYA FREELON ASANTE soon to be unveiled in DC! This five pod piece was custom created for the space and is comprised of tissue and ink Ubuntu quilts. Simply stunning!

 

About MAYA FREELON ASANTE

Maya Freelon Asante 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 [interesting] female artists in the biz.”

She was commissioned by Google to design original art for their OnHub router. 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 Corcoran Gallery of Art, 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. Maya is also the daughter of critically acclaimed Architect, Phil Freelon, lead designer of The Anacostia Library, and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. She is represented by Morton Fine Art in Washington, DC.

 

Inspiration of MAYA FREELON ASANTE

Ubuntu “I am because we are”

Ubuntu is a classical African concept which can be interpreted as  I Am Because We Are. This notion of togetherness and solidarity resonates through this sculpture, as the joining of the tissue paper illustrates the power of unity.

Independently, a torn piece of paper seems insignificant, but once those pieces are combined with others, the force is overwhelming. By creating monumental, vibrant, sculptures out of tissue paper I am asking the viewers to acknowledge the fragility of humanity and the importance of working together towards a peaceful and harmonious existence.

Ubuntu echoes the African-American traditions of both the patchwork quilts and textiles which stems from resourcefulness and resilience. Each practice reminds us, as Dr. Martin Luther King said, “that I can’t be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be; and you can’t be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be.”

Students, I challenge you to embrace Ubuntu, and find unity in all aspects of your life! We are better together.

– Maya Freelon Asante

Please click HERE for available artwork by internationally renowned artist MAYA FREELON ASANTE.

Morton Fine Art

1781 Florida Ave NW

Washington, DC 20009

(202) 628-2787

mortonfineart@gmail.com

http://www.mortonfineart.com