Tag Archives: contemporary art

New Arrivals | Sculpted Paintings by JENNY WU

16 Apr

Jenny Wu transforms liquid paint into sculpture built from layers of latex paint poured on glass, color over color, to form a thick cake-like aggregate. Once dried, the material is cut into small brick-like forms and assembled in vibrant patterns on a flat surface, revealing in cross-section the varied strata of paint from the pouring and layering process. Like geological formations, Wu’s method of building up paint is dependent on time, repetition and chance with her resulting objects uniting chaos and order into a systematic imagery that blurs the boundaries between painting and sculpture.

Jenny Wu
2+ Year Long Middle School Dodgeball Game, 2022
latex paint and resin on wood panel
20 x 10 x 2.50 in
Jenny Wu
Adults Were Not Okay, 2021
latex paint and resin on wood panel
20 x 16 x 2.50 in

Jenny Wu
Meaningful Access, 2020
latex paint and resin on wood panel
20 x 16 x 2.50 in

Jenny Wu
Carefully Editing An Email Response, 2021
latex paint and resin on wood panel
24 x 18 x 2.50 in

Jenny Wu
Hardly A Mandate, 2021
latex paint and resin on wood panel
20 x 16 x 2.50 in

Jenny Wu
Have Always Existed and Will Always Exist, 2022
latex paint and resin on wood panel
36 x 24 x 2.50 in

Jenny Wu
Letting Referees Openly Bet On Games, 2021
latex paint and resin on wood panel
36 x 24 x 2.50 in

Jenny Wu
Live In #DontLookUp, 2022
latex paint and resin on wood panel
18 x 18 x 2.50 in

Jenny Wu
Too Heavy to Carry to the British Museum, 2022
latex paint and resin on wood panel
20 x 16 x 2.50 in

Jenny Wu
Got Scared & Bought It, 2021
latex paint and resin on wood panel
20 x 20 x 2.50 in

About the Artist:

Jenny Wu was born in Nanjing, China. She holds a B.A. from William Smith College in Studio Art as well as in Architectural Studies, and an M.F.A. in Studio Art from American University. Her work has been exhibited in galleries and museums including Denise Bibro Fine Art, Katzen Museum, Huntington Museum of Art, Reece Museum, Vilnius Academy of Arts in Lithuania, and CICA Museum in South Korea. Wu has participated in numerous Artist-In-Residence programs across the country; and has been awarded fellowships from Vermont Studio Center and the Pollock Krasner Foundation. She has been represented by Morton Fine Art since 2021.

Available artwork by JENNY WU.

LIZETTE CHIRRIME | Rituals for Soul Search | in ArtPlugged

13 Apr

Lizette Chirrime: Rituals for Soul Search

Exhibitions

Lizette Chirrime: Rituals for Soul Search
April 23 to May 22, 2022
Morton Fine Art
52 O Street NW #302
Washington, DC

Morton Fine Art (52 O Street NW #302 Washington, DC) is pleased to present Rituals for Soul Search, a solo exhibition of multimedia textile works by Mozambican artist, Lizette Chirrime; on view from April 23 to May 22, 2022. Presenting an array of collaged pieces that foreground her relationship to self and home, this body of work blends abstract, symbolic and figurative imagery as a means to analyze the largely unseen forces that guide and determine our realities.

Lizette Chirrime
Portrait of the artist
Courtesy of the artist and Morton Fine Art

Working primarily with recycled materials, Lizette Chirrime’s practice has a marked foundation in personal and traditional spirituality. Chirrime describes her creative process as “a prayer to the Universe”–an intention to heal the earth from overconsumption, pollution and greed. Sourcing scrap materials from her environment and immediate communities, Chirrime uses fabric, burlap, rope, paint, beads, leather and more to produce dynamic collages that speak to African womanhood, and more broadly, the human condition.

Lizette Chirrime– The Boy Who Stopped the Snake, 2014
Fabric collage 58 x 50″
Courtesy of the artist and Morton Fine Art

Finding inspiration in the natural world–the vastness of the ocean, the hues of the sunrise, the evolution of a storm–Chirrime’s pieces are layered with a poetic consideration for what she calls “the essence of life.”

Foregrounding her relationship to heritage and presence, Chirrime uses shades of amber, blue and red to produce works that evoke sentiments of love, loss, dissolution and connection. In the piece titled African Single Mother, a woman’s form stitched from black cloth stands alone, as an aged portrait of a maternal figure watches closely in the background.

Lizette Chirrime
As Minhas Percorridas, 2022 37 x 59.5″
Fabric and mixed media stitched on canvasCourtesy of the artist and Morton Fine Art

Speaking to ancestry and guidance, the single mother’s aloneness is made complicated by the ephemeral eye of a woman who has been here before. In another piece, The Boy Who Stopped the Snake, a multicolored masculine figure, constructed from hundreds of pieces of African fabric, holds a colossal serpent stitched of patterned brown cloth–the boy is dynamic, having achieved mastery over that which would have otherwise caused destruction.

Lizette Chirrime
African Single Mother, 2021
Fabric collage and machine sewing 44 x 34.50″
Courtesy of the artist and Morton Fine Art

In newer works, Chirrime foregrounds stitching techniques as a means to create complex landscapes and figurative imagery. Primarily selecting strips of fabric in shades of blue and red, the resultant pieces evoke sentiments of territorial exploration, as the colors of the lived environment are saturated and made alive.

In a piece titled As Minhas Percorridas–which translates to My Travels–Chirrime creates a layered and multi-directional mosaic of her life’s journey, situating the home as a space of respite. Similarly, in Connexão Ancestral, the artist weaves together 24 distinct stitched works as a representation of the largely unseen familial forces, which collectively, form the tapestry of life.

In all works presented in Rituals for Soul Search, Chirrime is in direct conversation with soul and spirit, consistently seeking purpose within the Universe and always led by an intuitive understanding of materiality. In her own words: “I let my soul decide which way to go… I never know where I’m going. Only what I need to narrate and express.”

Learn more about Rituals for Soul Search

©2022 Lizette Chirrime, Morton Fine Art

Available Artwork by LIZETTE CHIRRIME

Morton Fine Art | 52 O St Studios in Washingtonian Magazine

26 Feb

HOME & STYLE 

Inside Five DC-Area Working Art Studios

Great spots to connect with the local scene and find one-of-a-kind pieces.

WRITTEN BY MARISA M. KASHINO 

  | PUBLISHED ON FEBRUARY 23, 2022

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52 O Street Studios. Photograph by Jarrett Hendrix.

Though it’s not always obvious where to find them, Washington is full of working art studios. Here are a few spots where many artists create under one roof. Some have public hours; others are by appointment only. All are excellent places to support the local scene and procure one-of-a-kind pieces.

1. 52 O Street Studios

52 O St., NW

This enclave of artists in Truxton Circle has been around since the 1970s. The brick-faced former factory houses about 50 creatives, including painters, photographers, and fashion designers. The best way to get a sense of the work being made there is on Instagram—follow @52ostreetstudios. Pre-pandemic, the studios would occasionally open up for events. These days, you can make an appointment with individual artists. The building is also home to two galleries: Homme, which features local work by independent and emerging artists, including from the studios upstairs, and Morton Fine Art, a gallery that shows pieces by 25 artists around the world, including contemporary art from Africa and the African diaspora.

Pyramid Atlantic Art Center. Photograph by Stereo Vision Photography.

2. Pyramid Atlantic Art Center

4318 Gallatin St., Hyattsville

A huge concentration of artists can be found along the Route 1 corridor stretching from Mount Rainier to Hyattsville. While there are hundreds of studios and artist collectives in the aptly named Gateway Arts District, few are as publicly accessible as Pyramid Atlantic, which is open five days a week and specializes in printmaking and papermaking. Among its offerings: 17 private art studios, a gallery (where most of the art is under $1,000), community studios that can be rented by the hour, and a shop selling work by the resident artists (visits to their studios are by appointment). More info here.

Torpedo Factory. Photograph by Ja’Mon Jackson/City of Alexandria.

3. Torpedo Factory Art Center

105 N. Union St., Alexandria

The nation’s largest community of open artist studios under one roof isn’t in Brooklyn or Oakland. It’s in Old Town. More than 165 artists work in the former munitions factory on the waterfront. Before Covid, their spaces were accessible to the public much of the week. While the building is still open five days, the hours of individual artists are now understandably spottier. So if there’s particular work you want to see, best to schedule in advance. Profiles of the artists—who run the gamut of styles and mediums—are on their website.

Stable Arts. Photograph courtesy of Stable Arts.

4. Stable

336 Randolph Pl., NE

In 2019, right before the pandemic, 25 working studios plus a gallery opened in this repurposed horse stable in Eckington. Though the unfortunate timing means Stable has flown mostly under the radar, a peek inside would reveal dozens of resident artists producing collage, paintings, sculpture, and photography. The studios are closed to the public right now, but executive director Maleke Glee is planning programming in the spring and summer. He says there will be art and crafts for kids so parents can peruse artwork and chat with the artists. Join Stable’s mailing list and learn about its residents here.

5. Arlington Arts Center 

3550 Wilson Blvd., Arlington

In addition to a wide selection of classes for kids and adults, the nonprofit hosts a dozen resident artists, who work in onsite studios. The current cohort includes painters, photographers, sculptors, and mixed-media artists. You can learn about them and find their contact information on their website. They show work publicly in the facility’s Wyatt Residence Artist Gallery and, a few times a year (Covid permitting), during exhibition events. Appointments are required to visit individual studios. The center is also home to eight other galleries that show work from all over.

This article appears in the February 2022 issue of Washingtonian.

VICTOR EKPUK’s site specific installation at The Phillips Collection

21 Feb


LOCAL ARTIST VICTOR EKPUK’S GRAPHIC INSTALLATION, INSPIRED BY ANCIENT NIGERIAN SCRIPT, TRANSFORMS THE MAIN VISITOR ENTRANCE TO THE PHILLIPS COLLECTION

July 1, 2021

Photo of Victor Ekpuk standing in a large circular room covered in his artwork
Photo credit: Robin Bell

Titled State of the Union: Things have fallen apart, can the center still hold?, the installation is made of adhesive vinyl that covers the museum’s vestibule, and is one of three commissions, all by DC-based artists, that celebrate the Phillips’s 100th anniversary this year.

THE ARTIST:
Victor Ekpuk (b. 1964, Akwa Ibom, Nigeria; lives in Washington, DC)
Victor Ekpuk is internationally renowned for his paintings, drawings, and sculptures, which reimagine the ancient Nigerian communication system, Nsibidi, to create his own unique language of abstraction. Ekpuk draws from African and global contemporary art discourse to explore the human condition. In recent years, Ekpuk has focused on large-scale murals, installations, and public art projects, including a 30 x 18-foot mural for the North Carolina Museum of Art in 2017, and a 20-foot metal sculpture Hope and Dream Under Glory housed at Boone Elementary School in Southeast DC in 2019.

Ekpuk holds a BFA from Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, Nigeria. His awards include a Smithsonian Fellowship. His work has been featured in national and international exhibitions, including Dakar Biennial, Senegal; Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris; Museum of Arts and Design, New York; Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, Washington, DC; Somerset House, London; New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; and the 12th Havana Biennial, Havana, Cuba. Ekpuk’s work is included in numerous collections including the Bank ABC International Headquarters in the Kingdom of Bahrain; Hood Museum, Hanover, New Hampshire; Newark Museum of Art, New Jersey; and in Washington, DC, at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, The World Bank, United States Art in Embassies Art Collection, and Smithsonian National Museum of African Art.

“In the vestibule of The Phillips Collection, I want to welcome visitors to a sense of a spiritual sacred space through an immersive experience. Through my ‘script’ drawings, the distinction between writing and visual art, legibility and illegibility are all dissolved. This process encourages viewers to experience my work in a holistic manner, allowing the abstraction rooted in ancestral knowledge and indigenous power symbols to build intuitive meaning. In the vestibule, I wish to create a collective experience across cultures and space to connect the ancient past and the contemporary moment,” Ekpuk says.

COMMISSIONS CREDIT LINE
The Phillips Collection’s Centennial Artist Commissions are supported generously by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, the Frauke de Looper Trust, and the Sherman Fairchild Foundation.

IMAGES
IMAGE: Victor Ekpuk in front of his artwork State of the Union: Things have fallen apart, can the center still hold?, Photo by Robin Bell

High resolution images of the artists available upon request. Images of the installations will be shared upon completion of the projects.

ABOUT THE PHILLIPS COLLECTION
The Phillips Collection, America’s first museum of modern art, was founded in 1921. The museum houses one of the world’s most celebrated Impressionist and American modern art collections, and continues to grow its collection with important contemporary voices. Its distinctive building combines extensive new galleries with the former home of its founder, Duncan Phillips. The Phillips’s impact spreads nationally and internationally through its diverse and experimental special exhibitions and events, including its award-winning education programs for educators, students, and adults; renowned Phillips Music series; and dynamic art and wellness and Phillips after 5 events. The museum contributes to global dialogues with events like Conversations with Artists and Artists of Conscience. The Phillips Collection values its community partnerships with the University of Maryland—the museum’s nexus for scholarly exchange and interdisciplinary collaborations—and THEARC—the museum’s satellite campus in Southeast DC. The Phillips Collection is a private, non-government museum, supported primarily by donations.      

Available Artwork by VICTOR EKPUK

CHOICHUN LEUNG | Cultured Magazine

21 Jan

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Choichun Leung Uses Art to Communicate with Survivors

ART

Choichun Leung Uses Art to Communicate with Survivors

The painter shares her latest body of work, her nonprofit and how the two have created pathways towards healing from childhood sexual abuse.WORDS

January 19, 2022

Choichun Leung is, as she puts it, the “product of a Chinese takeaway upbringing.” The artist grew up in Wales—her mother from the UK, her father from Hong Kong—where, from a young age, she began cooking and working at the family restaurant. She says that while her father was also creative, his circumstances as a Chinese man in the 1950s meant he wasn’t able to act on it; but as she watched him draw or make things with chopsticks after work, she caught on. She has a clear memory from about three years old of making playdough sculptures for a school competition. As a shy kid, Leung says art often allowed her to communicate—both with others and herself: “Art was my imaginary world that helped me disappear from my reality.”

Chiochun Leung in her studio. Photography courtesy of the artist.

With time, Leung had her hands in various mediums, and eventually chose to pursue metalwork with her education. She felt both a spiritual connection to the trade—she recounts visits to Chinese monasteries in her late teens that inspired a “fascination with ceremonial objects”—and believed it was a function that had to be learned, from welding and forging to raising a bowl. She believed that painting, on the other hand, would come from her. And it did.

Leung had always been a doodler, oftentimes depicting the heads of three Chinese girls in her work. Once, a friend asked why she stopped drawing at the characters’ heads: “He said, ‘why don’t you just carry on drawing the bodies?,’ and I began to feel that self-restriction telling me a story. I realized what was covered was a story of all the emotion that I had kept in.”

Chiochun Leung, Subconscious. Conscious., 2019. Photograohy courtesy the artist and Morton Fine Art.

In the years that followed her friend’s prompt, Leung began to visually communicate with herself, drawing more and more Chinese figures as she reconciled memory and healing. “When I was drawing,” she shares, “I was remembering how I felt as a child.” At around age six, Leung has a memory of being sexually abused, and because she never approaches a painting with an intention, she shares how the story of her past began to reveal itself to her, thus fueling her journey as a survivor. Today, Morton Fine Art in Washington, D.C. opens Leung’s solo show, “The Watchful Eyes,” which amalgamates previous work from her journey with The Young Girl Project and otherwise.

Chiochun Leung, The Watchful Eyes, 2021. Photography courtesy the artist and Morton Fine Art.

As she has begun to exhibit these paintings, Leung has witnessed how her work catalyzes dialogue around childhood sexual abuse. “These young kids are so open when they see the work,” Leung says. She shares that children will point out certain parts of her work—a girl hiding, a depiction of self harm, hands up to cover a child’s face—and ask what they mean. “I’ll say, ‘Well, she’s upset because somebody touched her vagina,’ or another graphic action phrased in a way that is most accessible to children.” Consequently, Leung’s paintings have become a channel for conversation around consent, allowing parents and their children to have honest dialogue around traumatizing events. Leung’s ability to document her own stories, both subconsciously and more advertently, has become a source of relief and education for many.

This year, Leung has turned her series of paintings and their ensuing discourse into an nonprofit, The Young Girl Project, that strives to destigmatize conversations around the sexual abuse of children. In conversations with survivors, Leung says she observes children feeling understood. In addition to being a resource for help, the organization asks that everyone who sees the project share it with five friends in some capacity. “We’re working to take something that is taboo out of that arena [and] into the mainstream in order to dispel shame,” the artist explains.

Chiochun Leung, Backward. Forward, 2019. Photograohy courtesy the artist and Morton Fine Art.

As for why she thinks her work has resonated with survivors, it all comes down to art as an integral method of communication, particularly for children. “Children that have been abused don’t have the words to express it sometimes,” she shares. Almost accidentally, Leung has mimicked the work of therapists and community workers who are identifying cases of sexual abuse. “Using art helps [children] discern what has happened to them—by asking them to draw or observing the subject matter of their [existing] drawings,” she says.

Ultimately Leung hopes to create a community that advocates for the most vulnerable facing of sexual abuse. And, in doing so, she wants to teach children to think for themselves. “This is about defying authority—saying no to an adult who’s telling you to do something you don’t want to do,” she shares. “It’s all about connecting to your gut and your intuition. If you feel something isn’t right or wrong, trust that and act upon it.”

Available Artwork by CHOICHUN LEUNG.

VONN CUMMINGS SUMNER featured in East City Art

5 Oct

MORTON FINE ART PRESENTS VONN CUMMINGS SUMNER KRAZY TIMES

By Editorial Team on October 4, 2021

Vonn Cummings Sumner, Krazy Times, 2021, 24″x24″, oil paint on panel.
On View: October 9 – November 3

Vonn Cummings Sumner’s contemporary depictions of Krazy Kat’s titular character build upon the comic strip’s longstanding influence on the art world at large.

Available Artwork by VONN CUMMINGS SUMNER

About Krazy Times
Morton Fine Art is pleased to present Krazy Times, a solo exhibition of new paintings and watercolors by artist Vonn Cummings Sumner, on view from October 9–November 3, 2021. Reflecting the artist’s longstanding interest in the career of famed American cartoonist George Herriman, Sumner’s recent works render the eponymous protagonist of Herriman’s Krazy Kat comic strip in settings and circumstances evocative of contemporary life.

Sumner was first introduced to Krazy Kat while under the tutelage of painter Wayne Thiebaud, whose love of Krazy Kat was shared by peers such as Philip Guston and Willem de Kooning. Appearing in newsprint from 1913 to 1944, Krazy Kat remains a keystone in the history of American cartooning, memorialized in part by the works of those it influenced. In the present decade, Krazy Kat has long since ceased publication; yet, the reinvigoration of its visual vocabulary by Sumner highlights its utility as a vehicle for investigating 21st-century themes.

Drawing from the original comic strip’s mediations on humanity—previously executed through tragic humor in a series of panels—Sumner depicts the titular character of Krazy Kat being followed by ghosts, peering at balloons floating just out of reach, and gazing at his reflection in a cerulean blue oasis, among other narratives collapsed into a singular image. Rendered in oil on panel as well as ink, gouache and pencil on paper, Sumner removes Krazy Kat from the landscapes of the comic strip, instead presenting such encounters in fields of seemingly endless white. In this sort of alternative dreamscape devoid of horizons, Sumner enables Krazy Kat to act as a projection of the artist or the viewer, embodying allegorical scenarios akin to lived experiences.

Partly created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sumner describes Krazy Kat as an “empathetic effigy” for processing a moment of great global change and loss. Sumner asks, “What do you paint when reality seems to be an absurd satire of itself?” Naturally, the answer is Krazy Kat, upon whom Sumner bestows new life. Bringing forth Krazy Kat’s curiosity and innocence, Sumner intertwines existential feelings with an earnest playfulness, producing accessible avenues into thoughtful contemplation. While the contemporary moment warrants heaviness, Sumner’s Krazy Kat paintings offer welcome reminders of optimism, inspiring joy in the face of Herculean challenges.

About VONN CUMMINGS SUMNER
Vonn Cummings Sumner grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, and attended the University of California, Davis, where he studied closely with the celebrated painter and teacher, Wayne Thiebaud, among others. Vonn has exhibited nationally and internationally since 1998, and his work has been featured or reviewed in many publications, including: New American Paintings, Elle Décor, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, L.A. Weekly, Art Ltd., Riviera magazine, Hi Fructose, Juxtapoz, Cartwheel Art, The Painter’s Table, Boom magazine, and Quick Fiction. Vonn’s work has been the subject of two solo museum shows: The Other Side of Here, at the Riverside Art Museum in 2008, and Stages, in 2011 at the Phillips Museum of Art in Pennsylvania. In 2021, his work was featured in the first museum survey tracing the influence of Wayne Thiebaud on contemporary art at the Manetti Shrem Museum of Art at UC Davis.

Vonn currently lives and works in Santa Ana, CA, and is a Professor of Painting at Fullerton College.

He has been represented by Morton Fine Art since 2010.

About Morton Fine Art
Founded in 2010 in Washington, DC 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 founded the trademark *a pop-up project in 2010. *a pop-up project is MFA’s mobile gallery component which hosts temporary curated exhibitions nationally.

Gallery hours:

  • By appointment only.

Mask required.

Morton Fine Art is located at 52 O St. NW #302.

Available Artwork by VONN CUMMINGS SUMNER

KATHERINE TZU-LAN MANN’s solo exhibition “Water Ribbon” reviewed in The Washington Post

2 Oct

Museums Review

In the galleries: Probing our relationships with living systems

By Mark Jenkins October 1, 2021 at 6:00 a.m. EDT

“Water Ribbon” by Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann is a vertical composition that’s 7½ feet high. (Morton Fine Art)
“Arch 3″ by Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann has a strong central focus that departs from the artist’s usual style. (Morton Fine Art)

…Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann is the most conventional of the five participants, at least in her choice of media. The Washington artist paints, usually on paper and often on a mammoth scale, with acrylic pigment and sumi ink. The ink links Mann’s style to historical Chinese painting, as does her nature imagery. Yet the crowded, layered pictures are mostly abstract. Mann begins by pouring pigment to make random patterns, which are then amended and extrapolated, partly by collage.

That synthesis — of flowing and improvisational with hard-edged and precise — yields tableaux that are dynamic and distinctive. The two Mann panoramas in “Empirical Evidence” — the larger almost 12 feet wide — are among the show’s highlights.

Anyone smitten with these sweeping pictures can easily find more, if not quite so expansive, examples at Morton Fine Art. The biggest offering is the title piece, “Water Ribbon,” a rare vertical composition that’s 7½ feet high. Many of the other pictures are, unusually for Mann, square or nearly so. Although they still suggest landscapes, such pictures as “Arch 3” have a stronger central focus than is typical of the artist’s style. Rather than meander every which way, Mann’s latest water ribbons coalesce into dazzling wholes.

Empirical Evidence Through Nov. 13 at Hamiltonian Artists, 1353 U St. NW.

Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann: Water Ribbon Through Oct. 6 at Morton Fine Art, 52 O St. NW, No. 302.

Available Artwork by KATHERINE TZU-LAN MANN

Partnership between global digital platform for art from Africa and the African Diaspora | Pavillon 54 | and Morton Fine Art

19 Jul

ENGAGING THE STORY OF ART FOR A SUSTAINABLE AFRICAN ART MARKET: THE PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN PAVILLON54 AND MORTON FINE ART

ENGAGING THE STORY OF ART FOR A SUSTAINABLE AFRICAN ART MARKET: THE PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN PAVILLON54 AND MORTON FINE ART

JULY 16, 2021

Amy Morton at Morton Fine Art gallery

As the one-stop global digital platform and community for art from Africa and the Diaspora, Pavillon54 always seeks to enter fruitful partnerships with artists, curators, collectors, and galleries. It became only natural, then, that for the next step of our development, we partnered with some of the most exciting international galleries that specialise in contemporary African art and share our vision for the African art market.

A couple of months ago, Pavillon54 entered a partnership with Morton Fine Art, a Washington DC gallery and curatorial group, headed by Amy Morton, that provides museum-quality art with a focus on the African Diaspora. We were instantly drawn to Morton Fine Art due to their impressive roster of artists and the diversity of their offering, whether geographically, in style, in medium, or in the range of artists themselves. What was most captivating, however, was our shared vision to go beyond the commercialisation of African art and to tell the underlying stories—an essential element to foster a sustainable development of the market.

With Pavillon54’s expertise in the African art market and digital strategy, combined with Morton Fine Art’s incredible roster of artists, finding contemporary African art that is not only aesthetically exceptional, but also enriched in narrative, becomes easier for the African art collector. Together, Pavillon54 and Morton Fine Art are making high-calibre contemporary African art more accessible, more transparent, and more meaningful.

We sat down with founder and curator Amy Morton, to learn more about how Morton Fine Art was founded, and what makes it an extraordinary destination for African art.

Artwork of Victor Ekpuk, Kesha Bruce and GA Gardner

Gallery View at Morton Fine Art, Artworks by Victor Ekpuk, Kesha Bruce and GA Gardner

P54: How did Morton Fine Art come to be? What was the driving force or need to be filled that resulted in the creation of the gallery?

AM: I founded Morton Fine Art in 2010. My first exhibition was launched early that year under Morton Fine Art’s trademark mobile gallery, a pop-up project in Washington, DC in the Penn Quarter neighborhood. It was in a former gallery space which I had leased short term, for a three-month period. I was interested in curating an exhibition that I felt positioned substantive art in the market and quickly realized I needed a permanent location to continue in that vein. I then leased a space in Adams Morgan, a quirky district in DC known for independent businesses. Morton Fine Art was in that location for 9 years before moving to a flourishing creative community in Truxton Circle at 52 O St NW, where it has been for nearly 3 years. 

From its inception, the inclusion of diverse voices, nurturing a safe space and working with an educational stance has been at the forefront of the gallery’s mission. I am firmly committed to a comfortable and intimate gallery space intended for exploration and journeying through visual art.  

P54: Why the focus on the African Diaspora?

AM: I have always been interested in and open to artwork and original voices from all over the world. Interconnectedness between people and exploring the human condition fascinates me. I value our collective overlaps and progressions toward deeper shared understandings and relationships. In the 90’s I attended Occidental College in Los Angeles, where my studies in art were informed by a strong commitment to equity and diversity. I think the combination of these personal priorities resulted in a natural inclusion of artists from the African diaspora, as well as from many other places and orientations, whose practice foregrounds pertinent, globally relevant, philosophical questions. With these values at the center of my work, Morton Fine Art’s curatorial vision has bloomed and been enriched organically.  

My vision for the gallery, as well as for my life, is to create a safe space for dialogue and the sharing of ideas. In that way, the evolution of the gallery has been very process-oriented, and not something that was artificially orchestrated or even conscious much of the time. It continues to be a growth-oriented work in progress. I studied fine art and art history and appreciate that visual art is a potent tool for highlighting issues which may otherwise be difficult for people to address. I am attracted to the intersection of art and activism, and how artwork can be an effective tool for personal introspection, interaction, dialogue and ultimately, I hope, change and growth. 

Osi Audu, Self Portrait, after Head of a Shango Staff, 2017 | Pavillon 54  Limited

 Osi Audu ‘Self Portrait, after Head of a Shango Staff’ (2017)

P54: What qualities do you see in an artist when you sign them on and how do these connect with the mission of Morton Fine Art?

AM: I usually know we are well matched right away. My artist partners are incredible at what they do! First and foremost, their creative vision and visual language inspire me on such a deep level. Examples include Osi Audu‘s philosophical exploration of “The Tangible and Intangible Self “; Victor Ekpuk‘s mining of historical narratives, the vocabulary of the contemporary African diaspora, and humanity’s connection to the sacred;  Rosemary Feit Covey‘s attention and sensitivity to the delicacy of earth and the natural world; Maliza Kiasuwa and Meron Engida‘s themes of reconciliation; and Lizette Chirrime’s interconnectivity between art practice, spirituality and healing.

Rosemary Feit Covey, Amethyst Deceivers II, 2019 | Pavillon 54 Limited

Rosemary Feit Covey ‘Amethyst Deceivers II’ (2019)

Their deep and meaningful engagement with these themes is what powers my belief in them and commitment to uplifting their voices. The artwork shown here is purely the artists’ visions, created without gallery interference. I look for long-term partnerships, so synergy is also important. The relationship needs to be trust-based and natural as we often spend years working together. These strong personal connections are important for understanding the creations themselves, allowing me to do my job better.

Victor Ekpuk - Works | Pavillon 54 Limited

 Victor Ekpuk ‘Mask Series 2’ (2018)

P54: What excites you most about the African art market, and working in this field?

AM: Learning, evolving, exploring questions and shared histories, and meeting artists with lasting substance and incredible talent—there is an abundance of all of that in the African art market. It is endless. With art, I can never be bored—either when exploring an individual piece I connect with or with creations at large. Art is a mirror, and it fascinates me to see what is revealed in a moment and how more reveals itself with time. Contemporary artists remind us of where we are, including our shortcomings and our most sacred parts. They invite us to do better.

Maliza Kiasuwa, Brown Skin 1, 2021 | Pavillon 54 Limited

Maliza Kiasuwa ‘Brown Skin 1’ (2021)

P54: What are some of Morton Fine Art’s greatest moments or achievements?

AM: First and foremost, I am proud to have such outstanding artist partners who center substantive concepts and demonstrate a mastery of medium. The artists I work with are thoughtful, tremendous and have so much to say and share! The backbone of the gallery is our partnership, as is our shared trust in each other. It is fascinating to see organic shifts and developments in their artwork and art practice, knowing their growth informs new iterations of brilliance. It is also very rewarding to witness their points of public-facing recognition, including in national and international museums and publications. 

Meron Engida - Works | Pavillon 54 Limited

Meron Engida ‘Solidarity 9’ (2020)

AM: I am personally proud of the warm vibe of the space and the maturity of conversations and experiences shared here through art. This is a gallery for everyone to explore, regardless of experience or exposure to art.  Authenticity is valued as are questions and feelings, even when layered.  In many ways it has the intimacy and hominess of a salon, and that facilitates connection with artists, collectors and enthusiasts alike.

Morton Fine Art

52 O St NW #302

Washington, DC 20001

(202) 628-2787

info@mortonfineart.com

http://www.mortonfineart.com

MERON ENGIDA in ZO mag’ by Roger Calme

2 Jul

https://zoes.fr/

PEINTUREPublié le 30 juin 2021Laisser un commentaire

Ethiopie / Peinture / Meron Engida  / LA MERE, L’ENFANT ET LES OISEAUX

écrit par Roger Calme

Avant de commencer une journée,  jeter un oeil sur une chose apaisante. Pourquoi ne pas fonctionner de cette façon ? Il ne s’agit pas d’un exercice thérapeutique mais d’une fenêtre ouverte qui change l’air de la pièce et dissipe les toxines. Souvent la peinture de Meron Engida agit de cette façon. On regarde, on observe ces visages aux grands yeux, ces lèvres posées sur des mots tranquilles. Parfois des femmes se retrouvent et s’assoient ensemble sur une natte. Ça s’appelle « Solidarité », et ça résume parfaitement la philosophie de l’artiste.

Leurs langues et les coutumes diffèrent mais leur entente est parfaite. 

« Les enfants et les agneaux sont le vocabulaire visuel que j’utilise pour exprimer mon innocence et mon pardon. J’ai l’intention de créer un dialogue sur la diversité et les femmes.Mon envie est d’écouter leurs expériences, de libérer des mots, qui apportent le réconfort, l’empathie, la curiosité de l’autre. »  Sa dernière série s’inscrit donc tout entière dans cet esprit. Ces femmes assises représentent toutes les tribus de l’Ethiopie. Leurs langues et les coutumes diffèrent mais leur entente est parfaite. 

Dans cette galerie paisible, la famille est une vertu inébranlable, que la peintre associe aux ocres, aux terres de sienne, dans une lumière transversale et des teintures de tissus. « C’est une célébration d’humanité », que la toile diffuse. Il est huit heures du matin. La journée vient juste de commencer. On regarde la toile, on regarde la fenêtre ouverte et les arbres remplis d’oiseaux. 

RC (ZO mag’)
Photos Morton Fine Art et M. Engida
https://www.mortonfineart.com/artists

Amber Robles-Gordon discusses her series “The Temples of My Familiars”

17 Mar

Video by Jarrett Hendrix

“The Temples of My Familiars” series is about the intersections between my identity, the diverse visual languages in my artwork and the narratives they reference. The title is most definitely borrowed from the 1989 Alice Walker novel, The Temple of My Familiar. A womanist narrative about several women of color and their evolutionary process to know self, their identity and their struggle for happiness within a patriarchal society. However, I chose the title because of the distinct visual reference my sculptural geometric-like renderings took on once I inverted them. They became temples, a place of spiritual practice and sacrifice in which I could place my familiars —my visual languages. A place where they could be re-rooted, re-formulated, and take on a new life.

Being an artist has facilitated a very specific type of data collection, visual documentation, analysis and a vast array of methods of self-expression and personal exploration regarding issues that concern me. During a recent journey through past work, contemplations, beginnings and endings; I encountered fragments of myself. These fragments vibrated silently, yet continuously, like piercing questions waiting to be answered. The various languages beckoned and bemoaned to be unified. Once combined, the equations gracefully revealed themselves in harmony. Each artwork, 24 x 18 in, mixed media collage, within the series begins with title “The Temples of My Familiars” and then has a distinct sub-title. -AMBER ROBLES-GORDON, 2019

Contact Morton Fine Art for available artwork by AMBER ROBLES-GORDON.

http://www.mortonfineart.com

AMBER ROBLES-GORDON

(Washington, DC b. Puerto Rico)

EDUCATION

2011 M.F.A., Howard University, Washington, D.C.

2005 B.S. in Business Administration, Trinity College, Washington, D.C.

SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2021 American University, Katzen Arts Center, Washington, DC

2019 Universidad del Sagrado Corazon, San Juan, Puerto Rico 2018 Washington College, Chestertown, MD

2018 Third Eye Open, Morton Fine Art, Washington, D.C.

2017 At the Altar, Arts Center/Gallery Delaware State University, Dover, DE

2017 Pennsylvania College of Art and Design, Lancaster, PA

2012 Milked, Riverviews Art Space, Lynchberg, Virginia

2012 With Every Fiber of My Being, Honfleur Gallery, Washington, D.C.

2011 Milked, National League of American Penn Woman, Washington, D.C.

2011 Wired, Installation and Exhibit, Pleasant Plains Workshop, Washington, D.C.,

2010 Matrices of Transformation, Michael Platt Studio Gallery, Washington, D.C.

2007 Can You Free Me?, Ramee’ Gallery, Washington, D.C.

1997 The Artwork of A. Robles-Gordon, Dance Place Exhibition Space, Wash., D.C.

1995 The Art, The Brittany, Arlington, VA

COLLECTIONS

Judith A. Hoffberg Archive Library, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA

Masterpiece Miniature Art Exhibition, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Capital One Bank, McLean, VA

District of Columbia’s Art Bank, Washington, DC

Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York, NY

The Gautier Family Collection, Washington, DC

Department of General Services, Washington, DC

Martha’s Table, Washington, DC

Democracy Fund, Washington, DC