Tag Archives: Mark Jenkins

JASON SHO GREEN and VICTORIA SHAHEEN reviewed in the Washington Post

13 Mar

Sunday, March 9, 2014 p.E3

by Mark Jenkins

Jason Sho Green and Victoria Shaheen

Entire, if tiny, worlds are conjured from found objects in Morton Fine Art’s “Reveries,” installations and more by Jason Sho Green & Victoria Shaheen. Green brings everyday stuff to life with small motors or simply the drafts that cause dangling objects to dance in midair. Mounted on the wall or on six scaffolds, the Japan-born Brooklynite’s pieces make elementary yet slightly ominous gestures. Two knives flick through space, a fishhook dangles and a wooden block, a face carved on the side, repeatedly traverses a prone body, each time almost hitting it. There’s a hint of slapstick to Green’s everyday-
surrealist vignettes.

Shaheen, too, works with commonplace things, but she employs them as molds for multiple porcelain pieces. She casts versions of Smurfs figurines, Darth Vader cups and miniature TV sets, all in ivory, pale pink and light green, and then stacks them into latter-day totems. The Corcoran-educated Detroiter also makes single-item sculptures, such as an ice cream cone topped by a scoop of ceramic green, combined with sheets of translucent acrylic that cast colored shadows. These add a few watery shades to Shaheen’s array of pop-culture pastels.

Reveries: Jason Sho Green and Victoria Shaheen

On view through March 18 at Morton Fine Art, 1781 Florida Ave. NW;
202-628-2787; mortonfineart.com

KESHA BRUCE “The Guardians” featured in the Washington Post

3 Jan

Galleries Section, The Washington Post, January 3rd, 2014

by Mark Jenkins

Kesha Bruce

Spurred by a vision of a figure she saw standing at the foot of her bed, Kesha Bruce has executed nearly 200 mixed-media paintings of creatures she calls “The Guardians.” The Iowa-bred artist, who lives in France, draws on African iconography for these pictures, some of which are at Morton Fine Art. Most of the figures are ghostly, often faceless, like things seen in a half-awake state. Such guardians as “Thanos,” its blue head atop an elongated neck, evoke Africa’s traditional sculpture and decorative motifs. “Kiska,” its head apparently on fire, seems an outright hallucination.

Thanos, 24"x24", mixed media on canvas

Thanos, 24″x24″, mixed media on canvas

Yet the specters become palpable because of their hot, earthy colors and forceful brushwork. Indeed, the vigor suggests another tradition altogether: abstract expressionism. While the pictures are clearly representational, they’re also exercises in sheer painting. Areas of clean, bold color abut mottled regions; scraps of collaged fabric and textile-like circular patterns contrast the figures’ streamlined forms. Brown’s guardians may be dream-time wisps, but her painting makes them solid and potent.

Kesha Bruce: The Guardians

On view through Jan. 8 at Morton Fine Art, 1781 Florida Ave. NW; 202-628-2787;mortonfineart.com


LAUREL HAUSLER’s “Ghost Stories” in the Washington Post

23 Nov



Ghost Stories wash postghost stories2

VICTOR EKPUK in Washington Post – Arts Section

8 Oct

Sunday, October 6th, 2013

by Mark Jenkins

Three Wise Men, Courtesy of the Artist

Three Wise Men (triptych), 1996, acrylic on panel, 48″x20″ each panel, photo credit: John Woo


Victor Ekpuk

The writing that fills Victor Ekpuk’s drawings, paintings and mixed-media works has literal meaning, but most visitors to Morton Fine Art’s “Reminiscences & Current Musings” will be able to read only two words: the Nigerian-born D.C. artist’s name. He works it into the other text — which is in Nsibidi, an ancient West African system of ideographs — much the way he adds glimmers or blocks of color to his mostly black and white work.

Ekpuk doesn’t mind that the glyphs are obscure. The narratives in his works, he writes, can be “better perceived when they are felt rather than read literally.” Sometimes the text frames circles, usually rendered in bold blues or red-oranges, that suggest such elemental presences as the moon and the sun. This show features mostly recent works, but includes a few pieces that date as far back as 1996; some of them draw more directly on African folk art. Yet if such robust recent pieces as “Composition 11” seem more universal, they’re still framed by symbols that are rooted in a specific place and tradition.

Victor Ekpuk: Reminiscences &
Current Musings

On view through Oct. 8 at
Morton Fine Art, 1781 Florida Ave. NW; 202-628-2787; www.mortonfineart.com



Jenkins is a freelance writer.

The Washington Post: Critical Review of ROSEMARY FEIT COVEY’s “Red Handed”

3 Jul

The Washington Post, Sunday June, 30, 2013, p. E2

Humanity’s collective guilt: A hellish experience

by Mark Jenkins

'Red Handed' : Rosemary Feit Covey's pictures, looser and messier than her usual woodblock prints, are reminiscent of Hieronymus Bosch's work or Goya's Black Paintings.

‘Red Handed’ : Rosemary Feit Covey’s pictures, looser and messier than her usual woodblock prints, are reminiscent of Hieronymus Bosch’s work or Goya’s Black Paintings.

In Celtic heraldry, the red hand represents a bloody, hard-won heritage. For Rosemary Feit Covey, whose “Red Handed” is on display at Morton Fine Art, the image has a different meaning: guilt. Her “installation experience” of mixed-media paintings and drawings catches the world red-handed, and the outcome looks like Hell.

That is, Covey’s suite recalls Hieronymus Bosch’s images of teeming, tormented humanity, as well as Francisco Goya’s despairing Black Paintings. Hundreds of red-handed, black-on-white androgynous figures line the walls, and even writhe underfoot. The South Africa-born, Washington-based artist has transferred some of her paintings to vinyl mats and arrayed them, overlapping variously, on the floor. She stopped short of the ceiling, but the experience of entering the gallery is immersive nonetheless.

Covey is known for her detailed wood block prints, a few of which are on display around the edges of this show. Her “Red Handed” pictures are looser, messier and more impulsive; precisely etched lines yield to expressionist strokes and spatters, sometimes atop collaged layers. Although gray, blue and brown tint some of the images, the emphasis on black and red suggests the artist’s background in simple, graphically direct printmaking. Long horizontal murals claim the room’s three walls, and on two of them the compositions are interrupted by other paintings, most of them miniatures. If Covey doesn’t document all nine circles of Dante’s Hell, she does offer multiple levels.

As a theme, guilt is wide-ranging, but these thronging pictures don’t suggest individual responsibility and solitary regret. The fault is clearly collective, widely known and unconcealable. Perhaps that’s why Covey was inspired to present these paintings as an installation. Everyone has done wrong at some point, so all those singular faults add up to mass culpability. To enter “Red Handed” is to be implicated.

Rosemary Feit Covey: Red Handed

On view through July 5 at Morton Fine Art, 1781 Florida Ave. NW; 202-628-2787; http://www.mortonfineart.com