Tag Archives: Kesha Bruce

KESHA BRUCE’s iconic (Re)calling & (Re)telling series featured in Rethinking Schools

8 Nov

Congratulations to Morton Fine Art’s KESHA BRUCE for having four images from her iconic (Re)calling & (Re)telling photo series featured in “Black is Beautiful” by Kara Hinderlie in Rethinking Schools!

 

 

 

Click HERE to view available artwork by KESHA BRUCE.

 

 

 

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MARTINA DODD on Black History Month

25 Feb

In 1926, historian Carter G Woodson along with other prominent leaders from the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH) sponsored the first Negro History Week. Negro History Week, sought to promote the teachings of Black American legacy and achievement, especially in the nation’s public schools and universities.  This seven day celebration during the second week of February was later officially extended to a month long holiday by President Ford in 1976.

Much has happened in this country since 1926, Martin Luther King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech, the first Black President was elected twice and the National Museum of African American History and Culture opened its doors.  As we use this month as an opportunity  to honor the central role of African Americans  within US history, we must also remember to salute those who are now actively creating their own legacy.  We at Morton Fine Art acknowledge and prioritize the advancements made by African Americans within this country, and applaud and thank artists, activists and educators who have made it a goal to do so within their practice.  Artists such as Maya Freelon Asante, Kesha Bruce and Nathaniel Donnett who continually use their artistic medium to preserve and highlight the stories of African Americans.

past_present_tense-webMAYA FREELON ASANTE, Past Tense Present, 2015, 8.5”x18″, tissue ink mono/photo print

Inspired by her discovery of a stack of water-soaked colored paper in her grandmother’s  basement, Freelon Asante’s tissue ink mono photo prints speak to the power of  familial history, connected-ness and renewal.  Bruce,  who also found inspiration from a grandparent’s belongings,  reconceptualizes  the Black American experience in her photo series (Re) Calling  & (Re) Telling,  through  old and damaged negatives  given to her by her grandfather. Bruce’s and Freelon Asante’s use of archival images to explore the connections between personal mythologies and collective memory both help to re-center the black family unit within the American narrative.

that-they-might-be-lovely-webKESHA BRUCE, That They Might Be Lovely, 12″x9″, archival pigment print, edition of 15

Nathaniel Donnett’s work articulates the complex cultural concerns of a “united nation” still divided by racial tension.  In his Small Bag series, Donnett makes reference to the “paper bag test” and its South African equivalent the  “pencil test,” (two tests used to distinguish a person’s racial identity and/or their ability to “pass” as white) while prompting his viewers to take a four question test of their own that relate to acceptable beauty standards, microaggressions and racial biases. By asking his audience to finish statements like;  “Good hair can be A) Kinky B) Straight C) Wavy D) All of the above,” he brings to light America’s  legacy of racism, colorism and its obsession with classification.

smallbag18-cropNATHANIEL DONNETT, Small Bag 18, 10.75″x5″ graphite, charcoal and printed ink on paper
bag

Although Black History Month is quickly coming to a close, we should continue to support these artists as they maintain their dedication in keeping the  stories of our ancestors alive.

-MARTINA DODD for Morton Fine Art, February 2017

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.”

KESHA BRUCE’s (Re)calling & (Re)telling on view at The Smithsonian National Museum of American History

12 Jul
KESHA BRUCE, That They Might Be Lovely,  2008, Hand-signed and numbered Archival Pigment Print.

KESHA BRUCE, That They Might Be Lovely, 2008, Hand-signed and numbered Archival Pigment Print.

 

Photographs from (Re)calling & (Re)telling are
currently on view at The Smithsonian National
Museum of American History as a part of
Through the African American Lens.

The exhibition features some of the more than 33,000
artifacts that have been collected by the Smithsonian’s
National Museum of African American History and
Culture (NMAAHC) since its creation in 2003.

Through the African American Lens is the NMAAHC’s
8th exhibition and is on display at the Smithsonian’s
National Museum of American History until
NMAAHC opens to the public on September 24, 2016.

Covering topics such as education, military service,
popular culture, religion, sports, and visual arts, the
exhibition demonstrates how the African American
story is quintessentially an American one of
determination, faith, perseverance, pride, and resilience.

Through the African American Lens
Smithsonian National Museum of American History
Washington, D.C.

 

Contact Morton Fine Art for available artwork by KESHA BRUCE.

Morton Fine Art

1781 Florida Ave NW

Washington, DC 20009

(202) 628-2787

http://www.mortonfineart.com

mortonfineart@gmail.com

KESHA BRUCE’s “Magic Spells & Reminders” reviewed in the Washington Post

16 Mar
the washington post logo
March 4, 2016
Kesha Bruce

A pair of paintings from Kesha Bruce’s previous Morton Fine Art show hang alongside the current one, “Magical Spells and Reminders.” These renderings of mystical “guardians” are precursors of two newer pictures of silhouetted patchwork figures that wear crowns. But the recent work is in a different style, and most of it is not figurative. Instead, it emphasizes what the Arizona-based artist calls a “personal, magical alphabet” that developed from her drawings. Among the glyphs are a teardrop shape and a cross with arms of equal length.

The latter is featured in “The Crossroads,” a potent collage-painting that is mostly in bloodlike shades, with white and black marks and glittery areas. The mixed-media piece began, as did the others, with bolts of cloth from a defunct Seattle upholstery factory. The artist painted and cut the material, assembled the roughly rectangular scraps and then painted some more.

The process yields works that suggest both mid-20th-century abstraction and traditional hand-printed fabrics. Bruce’s symbols are new to her, but they tap into something ancient.

Kesha Bruce: Magical Spells and Reminders On view through March 17 at Morton Fine Art, 1781 Florida Ave. NW. 202-628-2787. mortonfineart.com.

keshabruce_2016_010 The Crossroads 60 x 48 web

Kesha Bruce, The Crossroads, 2016, 60″x48″, mixed media on canvas

Click HERE to view available artworks by KESHA BRUCE.

Contact Morton Fine Art for acquisition information.

Morton Fine Art, 1781 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC 20009

(202) 628-2787, mortonfineart@gmail.com, http://www.mortonfineart.com

 

Artwork in KESHA BRUCE’s “Magic Spells & Reminders”

1 Mar

Don’t miss KESHA BRUCE’s solo exhibition “Magic Spells & Reminders”. On view at Morton Fine Art through March 17, 2016.

 

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

 

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About Magic Spells & Reminders

Magical-Spiritual belief is at the root of every artwork I create.  “Magic Spells & Reminders” began as a series of reoccurring shapes which appeared within my daily drawings.  These shapes soon solidified and grew into a set of symbols that I began to think of as a personal, magical alphabet.
Influenced by the dry heat and jagged, volcanic peaks of the Superstition Mountains, over the last 6 months I have created a spiritual lexicon inspired by endless sunlight and expansive blue sky of my new home in the Sonoran desert. Unlike my past work, these new works aren’t necessarily narrative in nature, rather they are intended to act as catalysts and reminders to bring about change.
The symbols themselves do not have fixed meanings. In fact, individual symbols may have several meanings, determined primarily by their placement within the painting and their juxtaposition to adjacent symbols. Just as many spiritual paths regard “speaking in tongues” as being a private language between a believer and The Divine, I regard the symbols I’ve created as a subconscious, visual vocabulary that represents spiritual concepts and ideas that range from the concrete to the ethereal and intangible.
The paintings I’ve created for “Magic Spells & Reminders” are meant to act as visual reminders of both spiritual and creative intent, tools or reflection and healing, statements of personal power, and in some cases a call to arms.
-KESHA BRUCE, 2016
 
Magic Spells & Reminders marks KESHA BRUCE‘s 5th solo exhibition at Morton Fine Art.
Morton Fine Art
1781 Florida Ave NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 628-2787
mortonfineart@gmail.com

KESHA BRUCE’s “Magic Spells and Reminders” opens 2/26 at Morton Fine Art

18 Feb
Magic Spells & Reminders

A solo exhibition of new artwork by KESHA BRUCE

 

Friday, February 26th, 2016 – March 17th, 2016

OPENING DAY RECEPTION

 

Friday, February 26th from 6pm-8pm

The artist will be in attendance.

keshabruce_2016_003 Lexicon 48 x 36  web

Lexicon, 2016, 48″x36″, mixed media on canvas

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

 

keshabruce_2016_009 Made of Spirit and Royal Blood 1 48 x 36 web

Made of Spirit and Royal Blood 1, 2016, 48″x36″, mixed media on canvas


About
Magic Spells & Reminders

Magical-Spiritual belief is at the root of every artwork I create.  “Magic Spells & Reminders” began as a series of reoccurring shapes which appeared within my daily drawings.  These shapes soon solidified and grew into a set of symbols that I began to think of as a personal, magical alphabet. 

Influenced by the dry heat and jagged, volcanic peaks of the Superstition Mountains, over the last 6 months I have created a spiritual lexicon inspired by endless sunlight and expansive blue sky of my new home in the Sonoran desert. Unlike my past work, these new works aren’t necessarily narrative in nature, rather they are intended to act as catalysts and reminders to bring about change.  

The symbols themselves do not have fixed meanings. In fact, individual symbols may have several meanings, determined primarily by their placement within the painting and their juxtaposition to adjacent symbols. Just as many spiritual paths regard “speaking in tongues” as being a private language between a believer and The Divine, I regard the symbols I’ve created as a subconscious, visual vocabulary that represents spiritual concepts and ideas that range from the concrete to the ethereal and intangible. 

The paintings I’ve created for “Magic Spells & Reminders” are meant to act as visual reminders of both spiritual and creative intent, tools or reflection and healing, statements of personal power, and in some cases a call to arms. 

-KESHA BRUCE, 2016

 

Magic Spells & Reminders marks KESHA BRUCE’s 5th solo exhibition at Morton Fine Art.

 

About KESHA BRUCE

Kesha Bruce creates richly textured and visually complex artworks that explore the connections between memory, personal mythology, and magical-spiritual belief.

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 received a Puffin Foundation Grant for her work with Artist’s Books.

Her work is included in the permanent collections of The Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture,The Amistad Center for Art and Culture, The University of Iowa Women’s Center, The En Foco Photography Collection, and The Museum of Modern Art/Franklin Furnace Artist Book Collection.

 

She is represented by Morton Fine Art in Washington, DC.

Click here to view available artwork by KESHA BRUCE.

keshabruce_2016_008 Remember to Fight 2 36 x 36 web

Remember to Fight 2, 2016, 36″x36″, mixed media on canvas

 

About Morton Fine Art

 

Founded as an innovative solution to the changing contemporary art market in 2010, 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 innovative exhibitions and a new generation of art services.

 

Morton Fine Art, 1781 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC 20009

http://www.mortonfineart.com

mortonfineart@gmail.com

(202) 628-2787