Tag Archives: East City Art

KESHA BRUCE | Take Me to the Water in East City Art

18 Sep
Kesha Bruce, Memory of Matala, 2022, 60″x48″, mixed media textile collage on canvas

About Take Me to the Water

Morton Fine Art is pleased to announce Take Me to the Water, a solo exhibition of mixed-media paintings by artist Kesha Bruce. An intuitive combination of painting, collage and textile art, Bruce’s work represents the culmination of a holistic creative practice developed by the artist over several decades. Her eighth exhibition with the gallery, Take Me to the Water will be on view from September 17 to October 11, 2022 at Morton’s Washington, DC space.

The wall works of Kesha Bruce are less discrete executions of a concerted vision than the steady accumulation of a long creative process. Referred to by the artist simply as paintings, these mixed-media compositions are in fact patchworks of painted fabric, individually selected from Bruce’s vast archive and pasted directly onto the canvas in a textile collage that can sometimes resemble a quilt. The result of a slow and perpetual artistic method, each work represents hours of treatment, selection and juxtaposition until the whole becomes manifestly greater than its parts. Bruce’s process ends with her titling of each work: a poetic articulation of what the work is at this point capable of expressing for itself.

Much like water, the routine behind Bruce’s artmaking is cyclical and in service to a greater equilibrium – a pointed contrast to many of the epitomic works that make up much of the traditional art histories of the past several centuries, and which tend to aggressively emphasize rupture, madness and unsustainability as the most fruitful mothers of invention. Bruce’s process is distinctly different, and points to more a promising alternative for artmaking, in which creativity and lived experience are inseparably intertwined. For Bruce, this means that art can be not only a form of self-care but an act of self-discovery. Noting that her color palette has become markedly warmer since she moved to Arizona (where she currently serves as the Director of Artist’s Programs for the state’s Commission on the Arts), the artist delineates her method as a form of strategic openness – making room and taking time to allow the materials to guide her toward their final form, rather than the other way around.

The show’s title, Take Me to the Water, alludes to a 1969 rendition of the traditional gospel song by Nina Simone at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Bruce locates something transcendent in the recording of Simone’s performance that encapsulates what any form of artmaking, at its best, can be: a conversation between oneself and the divine. Deftly aware of the elemental power of water as a force that follows its own paths and forms its own shapes, Bruce identifies her artistic process closely with this element, and notes how the transcendental effects which result from it can be as overwhelming and rhythmic as the ocean waves of Big Sur.

As an exhibiting artist for over 25 years, Bruce has steadily oriented her craft toward capturing and encouraging the process of artmaking as an end in its own right – a way both of making something new and taking stock of oneself. As an administrator who oversees the creative programming for the entire state of Arizona, Bruce is intuitively attuned to the reciprocal relationship between transcendent acts of self-expression and the quotidian struggle to survive. In this role, she is a mentor and advocate for hundreds of other artists; the example she sets in her own artistic practice, with its emphasis on personal growth over commercial capitulation, thus becomes a form of potent political praxis.

About Kesha Bruce
Kesha Bruce (b. 1975, Iowa) Born and raised in Iowa, she completed a BFA from the University of Iowa before earning an MFA in painting from Hunter College in New York City. Kesha Bruce has been awarded fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), The Vermont Studio Center, The CAMAC Foundation and the Puffin Foundation. Her work is included in the collections of The Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture (14 pieces), The Amistad Center for Art and Culture, The University of Iowa Women’s Center, The En Foco Photography Collection and MOMA’s Franklin Furnace Artist Book Collection. She has been represented by Morton Fine Art since 2011.

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.

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

Available Artwork by KESHA BRUCE

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