Tag Archives: Florida Ave NW

“Written all over your face” by Martina Dodd examines six basic human emotions depicted in figurative artwork

22 Sep

Written all over your face

by Martina Dodd

I am fascinated by the way people communicate their feelings, ideas and thoughts.  Through written word, visual art and spoken language information can be shared by one person and interrupted by another.  Our emotional state can also be expressed in a variety of ways but the most universality recognized form is through our facial expressions.   Our body language speaks volumes even when we choose not to vocalize our feelings; from facial expressions to hand gestures, the body is consistently talking.

According to American psychologist, Dr. Paul Ekman, the six most basic emotions which can be easily understood regardless of culture and language are: happiness, sadness, fear, anger, surprise and disgust. With help from some of the artists represented by Morton Fine Art, let’s see what these emotions look like off the flesh and on the canvas.

Happiness:

Kesha Bruce. That they might be lovely, archival pigment print, 7/15. 12"x9"

Kesha Bruce. That they might be lovely, archival pigment print, 7/15. 12″x9″

Sadness:

 

Rosemary Feit Covey. Self Conscious 141103_1, mixed media 33"x28"

Rosemary Feit Covey. Self Conscious 141103_1, mixed media 33″x28″

Fear:

 

Laurel Hausler. Blue Beards Place, 2009 oil on canvas with xrays. 40”x30”

Laurel Hausler. Blue Beards Place, 2009 oil on canvas with xrays. 40”x30”

 

Anger:

 

Billy Colbert. King County, 2009 mixed media on paper. 29”x22”

Billy Colbert. King County, 2009 mixed media on paper. 29”x22”

 

 

Surprise:

 

Ethan Diehl. Vigilance, oil on canvas. 36”x60”

Ethan Diehl. Vigilance, oil on canvas. 36”x60”

 

 

Disgust: 

 

Rosemary Feit Covey, Red Handed, dimensions variable

Rosemary Feit Covey, Red Handed, dimensions variable

 

Although these emotions are seen as universal, cultural practices and norms can play a role in how emotions are revealed and concealed between different members of the community. For example, the indigenous West African system of writing known as nsibidi employs graphic signs to code and convey concepts. The meaning of these symbols are traditionally restricted to members of all male associations but in Victor Ekpuks’ Asian Ubaoikpa (Hip Sista) series the artist not only creates his own symbols in the same style of  the ancient script, but also situated women in the center of the conversation.  The color and texture evoke a visceral reaction within the viewer rather than illustrating a singular emotion or revealing the meaning of his symbols.

 

 

Victor Ekpuk. Asian Ubaoikpa (Hip Sista) #11. Acrylic on canvas, 60”x48”

Victor Ekpuk. Asian Ubaoikpa (Hip Sista) #11. Acrylic on canvas, 60”x48”

 

 

NATALIE CHEUNG’s “Facsimile” opens Friday, March 27, 2015

17 Mar
Facsimile 
Alternative Process Photographs by NATALIE CHEUNG
Friday, March 27th – April 16th, 2015

OPENING DAY RECEPTION 
Friday, March 27th, 6pm-8pm
Artist will be in attendance.

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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 NATALIE CHEUNG:
 
NATALIE CHEUNG‘s “Facsimile” series investigates recurring forms and images throughout nature and art history. Her alternative process photos, known as chemigrams, are formed by utilizing traditional darkroom materials to obtain a chemical reaction between the silver gelatin paper, chemistry and light. These captured patterns mimic the pattern and order found in nature.
Born in Falls Church, Virginia, NATALIE CHEUNG received her MFA in Photography from Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia and her BFA in Photography from the Corcoran College of Art + Design in Washington, DC. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and is represented in numerous collections including the Museum of Fine Art Houston and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. CHEUNG has taught at George Washington University as well as the Corcoran College of Art + Design and Temple University, Tyler School of Art.

MAYA FREELON ASANTE, OSI AUDU & KESHA BRUCE Artwork featured in DC by Design Blog

19 Feb

Guest Post: Angela Belt and Sheryl Scruggs

I’m excited to have this guest post from stylist and writer Angela Belt, who’s in charge of the visual merchandising for Room & Board on 14th Street. I wrote a post on her own apartment last year, and in this post, Angela profiles an incredible kitchen transformation by designer Sheryl Scruggs, the owner of DC-based Bronze Interiors.

Sheryl Scruggs

Take it away, Angela!

Sheryl is has a one-of-a-kind personality. When she talks, you listen—and watch, because she uses every part of herself to communicate an idea. When you ask Sheryl a question, she answers from her head to her toes with a response. I asked her if she has a background in theatre, and to my surprise she said no, because the way she moves is flowing and graceful, and everything is accentuated all at once. Sheryl, similar to her design, can be best summed up in this quote: “I’m sort of all over the place—I’m mosaic in that way.”

scruggs1

All photography copyright by Morgan Howarth

In our interview together, Sheryl and I discussed the vision behind this kitchen. “Its a jewel box, small and dramatic; it’s the perfect example of big is not always better,” she says. As the stylist for this photo shoot, I have to agree. The backsplash in this kitchen literally looks like gems.

image2

The glass tiles in this backsplash have to be applied individually by hand—they don’t come prearranged on square sheets. Tedious work to say the least.

scruggs3

Sheryl reached out to me to style this kitchen because she wanted to get rid of the notion that kitchens are merely utilitarian, with a cabinet on every wall. She asked me, essentially, to bring the living room into the kitchen, without the decorative aspects taking away from its function and layout. This can be a tricky balancing act, because I love to layer elements in a room; pulling back and restraining myself was an intriguing challenge.

scruggs4

We sourced the accessories for this photo shoot from Daren Miller, the owner of  AndBeigein Adams Morgan. Sheryl wanted the objects in the kitchen to be white, metallic and sculptural, and the sculptural offerings from Miller’s boutique perfectly fit the ticket.

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For the artwork, Sheryl and I collaborated with Amy Morton of her eponymous Morton Fine Art in DC, which focuses on African and African-American artists both here and abroad. Clients tend to think kitchens need cabinets on every wall, Sheryl says, but placing art on a wall or two is an unexpected surprise.

Abstract painting on rear wall: "Boom," a tissue-ink monoprint by Maya Freelon Asante. Art provided by Morton Fine Arts Gallery. Side wall: top painting: "I Can See Your House From Here," pastel on paper by Osi Audu; on bottom: Self Portrait XXXIV, graphite on paper by Osi Audu.

Bronze Interiors is about bold design, yet simple and refined in its execution. Based on these images of her recent kitchen remodel, I think you will agree!

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Comments

  1. Wow! Great to see more of Cheryl’s great work. Love the rich wood cabs- a welcome departure from the sea of white and gray!

  2. Jennifer Sergent says:

    I know, right?? It’s like you ONLY see white marble anymore. I also love the profusion of art/ really changes the feel of the space.

  3. Love seeing a small kitchen that includes fine art. The “Journey Home,” mixed media on canvas by Kesha Bruce, is a wonderful element here.

  4. Art work in the kitchen is a nice surprise.

  5. Jennifer Sergent says:

    I know — I just hung some pictures in my own kitchen and it changes the feel of the entire space.

CHARLES WILLIAMS “Swim” in South Strand News

30 Jan

Sink or swim: Georgetonian conquers fears through his artwork

  • Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Show More

“In Seconds No. 4” by Charles E. Williams

Photos

Charles Williams is getting nervous. He grips his hands tighter together while he talks, causing his knuckles to whiten. His voice lowers and his speech slows. If one were to look closely, they may see a bead of sweat or two appear on his brow.

He’s talking about swimming, or rather his inability to swim, as he stands amongst four huge six-foot-by-six-foot paintings of the ocean.

The works are his, on display at the Franklin G. Burroughs — Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum in Myrtle Beach in an exhibition titled “Swim: An Artist’s Journey.”

“This is me trying to look at what’s causing my fear. The water is alluring but deadly, and it has these human characteristics. Water has always been an intricate part of my pieces,” Williams said. “…For viewers, I’m just using swimming to represent me, but this is also for others to look at their fears and make steps toward becoming better individuals.”

For Williams, that journey, and his fear of water, started when the Georgetown native was 11 years old.

“When I was 11, I was taken under. I was jumping the waves with my cousin at the state park in Myrtle Beach,” he remembers.

From that point forward, the fear of water had a tight grip on Williams, causing him to have what he calls “accidents” every time he ventured into the water in the future.

The accidents – near drownings and panic attacks in the water – have continued all of Williams’ life, since the incident when he was 11 years old, to the swimming lessons he failed in high school, up to three years ago, the most recent event, when he had a panic attack after finding he couldn’t touch the bottom of a swimming pool.

“Swim” is an attempt to tackle his fears, and his next step in finally learning to swim.

His original idea for an exhibition at the museum was a bit different, but it evolved after museum staff asked him to make the works more personal.

“I thought this would be a good time to be brave enough to do a few water paintings. It was therapeutic in a way,” Williams said. “I love a challenge, and this is a life challenge for me.”

The exhibition opened on Jan. 15 and will close at the museum on April 23.

“It was a packed house,” Williams said of the opening. “I was really surprised and grateful.”

The crowd included friends, family, sponsors, collectors and even “people from high school when I was selling my work in Georgetown to raise money for college at SCAD (the Savannah College of Art and Design),” he said.

He first attended Georgetown High, but finished his degree at Carvers Bay High. In 2006 he graduated from SCAD and worked in graphic design briefly before becoming a fulltime painter in 2008.

Williams has had several solo exhibitions in Georgetown, Pawleys Island and Charleston; has been a part of 25 group exhibitions in cities across the U.S. including Atlanta, Sacramento and Washington, D.C.; and has won 11 awards and fellowships for his work.

“Swim” is a collection of 48 oil works – eight six-foot canvas paintings and 40 smaller studies, 30 of the daytime and 10 of nighttime. It took him eight months to complete them.

Standing next to the canvas works, Williams is almost as tall as they are.

“I even feel like these are too small,” he said. “I wanted to paint them as large as I could. It goes back to the person experiencing what I fear. I wanted the pieces to take over you.”

The exhibition is held in three rooms, which Williams described as a “cinematic spectrum from day to night.”

The first room is brightly lit and shows four canvas works titled “In Seconds.” Each shows a progression of the experience of drowning; from No. 1 to No. 4, the viewer is above the water, at the cusp of being under water, completely engulfed under water, and lastly drowning.

“In Seconds No. 4” depicts an 11-year-old Williams floating beneath the surface of the water.

“No. 4 is a significant piece. You know how people talk about dying and seeing the white light? Well I saw it,” Williams said. “I wanted this to reflect the idea of the white light. It’s warm, full of life, and this is me in a sort of ‘letting go’ pose.”

The center room features the study pieces, which are smaller works on paper and canvas.

The studies, which feature day and night images, lead into the final room that houses all four “Lost and Found” paintings.

Williams explains the works, which show portions of the ocean illuminated by light, surrounded by darkness: “Psychologically, I wanted to go back into my mind with a flashlight and find the monster. As a kid, I was also afraid of the dark, so this also helped me show, ‘Hey, I can tackle this fear.’”

Ocean sounds are playing in all of the rooms, which only adds to the feeling of becoming Williams, and he said the effect is particularly important in the “Lost and Found” room.

“I wanted to mimic what you can’t see,” he said, “and yet you can hear the sound of the water.”

To accomplish the effect, he used a flashlight and camera at the beach at night to gather images for inspiration. The lights in the room also mirror the experience, with dim lighting in the center and one spotlight aimed at each piece to mimic where the artist’s flashlight would have been.

Williams’ journey of exploration also took him beyond case studies and into research. It’s a stereotype that most blacks can’t swim, but the artist wanted to know more details. His research revealed that each year, for every one white child who dies from drowning, two to three black children die from it.

“In a way, I would like ‘Swim’ to be an awareness too. … I think it comes down to parents, and how they view the importance of swimming as a survival mechanism,” he said.

Williams called the experience “surreal” to have his first museum show at home along the Atlantic Ocean, a sentiment similar to making money from conquering his fears. Each of the larger canvases has a $10,000 price tag attached.

“As an artist, we already make a living off of putting ourselves out there,” Williams said. “I would encourage all artists to explore learning about themselves and illustrating that. It lets everyone see them innocently.”

Does the 31-year-old consider himself brave for conquering the project?

“Hell yeah, brave in many ways. I took a year off of working for commercial galleries to invest the time, research and process to create these,” Williams said, “but it was all worth it and I would do it again. And I will do it again.”

With a little less enthusiasm, but the same determination, he said the same of swimming: “I still fear the water, but this is my first step toward learning how to swim.”

ARC Magazine interviews GA GARDNER on his show “Timeless Remnants”

2 Oct

arc logo

 

Audible fragments amid the noise: An interview with GA Gardner

By Marsha Pearce Thursday, September 25th, 2014 Categories: Exhibitions, Features, Updates

Gardner’s contemporary art practice homes in on the colossal machine of mass media and the messages it churns out. He extracts bits of information, dislodging them from specific moments in time to create new narratives; new points of identification and fresh collages of meaning that have personal and collective resonance. In the lead up to the show at MFA, Gardner shares insights into his art, revealing the influence of his life in and travels between the Caribbean and the U.S., his navigation of the terrain of randomness, and his engagement with the territory of patterns. The artist also speaks about the significance of timelessness in his work and his commitment to making Caribbean and African identities audible amid a din of Western communications.

Marsha Pearce: The exhibition Timeless Remnants seems to draw on discourses of psychology, including the work of such thinkers as Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. Freud posited the idea of “archaic remnants” or an “archaic heritage which a child brings with him [or her] into the world” (1940, p167). Jung also proposed his ideas. In addition to what he saw as a personal unconscious, which serves as a repository of experiences that are unique to each person, Jung asserted the notion of a second psychic system. He called this second system the collective unconscious and described it as that which is inherited. Does your work engage with a universal inheritance that you are deliberately making conscious with your art? If so, what do you see as that inheritance and how do you attend to it in your creative practice?

GA Gardner: I believe that I, like all human beings, am influenced by what has come before me. That might mean the personal structure of my familial ties, as well as the influences of artists before me. I don’t believe that any human being or artist for that matter, can create in a vacuum. I see my inheritance, if you want to call it that, as one that is traced back to my African roots at the primal level and to my Caribbean heritage, most recently. That is overlaid with my experience in the United States, where I have spent most of my adult years. So, I call on all of these influences, this inheritance – this collective unconscious – in my work. I use the rhythms and colours of Africa and the Caribbean to filter the “sounds” and “expressions” of America’s global communication machine.

'So You'. GA Gardner. 65" x 42". Mixed media on mylar Photo credit: GA Gardner

MP: You seem to be foregrounding a specific collective unconscious; or pinpointing specific groups – African and Caribbean people. I am thinking though, about your attention to a global proliferation of media and messages in your art. Are we perhaps more and more the inheritors of a cacophony of media messages? Do you see that as an inheritance that is largely unconscious and one that goes beyond African and Caribbean “boundaries”?

GAG: Yes, that particularly applies in the 21st century, with the global reach and access of media messages.

'Indulge'. GA Gardner.  66" x42". Mixed media on mylar. Photo credit: GA Gardner

MP: I want to return to Jung as a reference point. According to Jung, the collective unconscious is said to be expressed through archetypes or patterns. Can you talk about the role of patterns in your work?

GAG: Patterns are a fundamental component of my work. They often emerge from randomness as information is literally sliced out of context to form a montage of images that carries random conversations. These overall patterns and shapes are replicated from ancient African and modern Caribbean design. Like the Kuba people of central Africa I am interested in the construct of pattern and design. In addition, I find and use contemporary materials and I add a Caribbean colour palette to create art that best symbolizes our current state of being. Though I allow the process to lead, I commit to cultural forms and lines – for example, the geometric foms and lines that are inherent to cultures like that of the Kuba people – as guides for the direction of a piece. This does allow patterns to emerge uninhibited from my work. This is the magic of the creative process – a life, seemingly of its own, that the artistic endeavour engenders.

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MP: Your visual amalgams of material remnants seem time consuming. How does the passage of time factor into your work? How might the concept of timelessness enter your visual statements?

GAG: Since my work reinvents and reinterprets material, timelessness is at the center of my creative expression. Once I have disassociated material from its former use and place in time, I allow it to flow free; to be unfettered from the moment it was created, or from any limitations of space or time. The repurposing of these fragments of communication produces an ageless, timeless new identity, which frees my work from temporal boundaries.

'Curious'. GA Gardner. Mixed media. Photo credit: GA Gardner

MP: You live and work in the Caribbean and the USA. What is it that remains with you as you move between those spaces and how do those remnants of experience in both spaces inform your work?

GAG: My work is conceptual; it represents the struggle for identity that we all face in the midst of globalization – chiefly, the dominance of Western influences and the struggle to be heard amongst all the noise of media. This is apparent in my travels; therefore I am compelled to represent this conflict in my art.  I am not one who watches TV nor am I a news junky; I try my best to tune these elements out of my life. The very nature of going between these two countries reinforces the need for the messages in my art.  It is born of the fact that we in the Caribbean consume so much foreign media that we are often at a loss for our personal and cultural identity.

I bring the printed content of North America’s vast media machine to the Caribbean and recycle it, extracting its artificial hues, and often add a rich colour palette found naturally in my Caribbean surroundings. This is the synergy I want in my art. I am making a statement that despite the dominance of Western media, Africa and the Caribbean will be heard – at least through the colour palette and patterns in my mixed media art.

The exhibition Timeless Remnants runs from September 26 to October 17, 2014 at Morton Fine Art, Washington, DC, USA.

– See more at: http://arcthemagazine.com/arc/2014/09/audible-fragments-amid-the-noise-an-interview-with-ga-gardner/#sthash.d5zYGO5i.dpuf

 

Marsha Pearce
Marsha Pearce

Marsha Pearce is ARC’s Senior Arts Writer and Editor. She holds a PhD in Cultural Studies from the University of the West Indies (UWI) St Augustine Campus, Trinidad. She lectures in the Department of Creative and Festival Arts at UWI and is also a freelance arts writer for the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian newspaper. Pearce is the 2006 Rhodes Trust Rex Nettleford Cultural Studies Fellow.

– See more at: http://arcthemagazine.com/arc/2014/09/audible-fragments-amid-the-noise-an-interview-with-ga-gardner/#sthash.d5zYGO5i.dpuf