Tag Archives: Martin Cid Magazine

KATHERINE HATTAM | Martin Cid Magazine

17 Nov

Paintings and Prints by Katherine Hattam Showcase Places of the Mind in the Wake of Isolation

The Australian artist’s new work reflects on the comforts of solitude and the peculiarities of her enclosed island state

Art Martin Cid MagazineBy Art Martin Cid Magazine

Updated: November 14, 2022

Katherine Hattam A Strange Country, 2022 49 x 60.5 in. Mixed media on linen Courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist

Washington, D.C. – Morton Fine Art is pleased to present Strange Country, Strange Times, a solo exhibition of paintings and prints by the artist Katherine Hattam. Incorporating literary and art-historical elements into her work, Hattam’s interiors offer materialist explorations of ultimately psychic space. The artist’s first solo exhibition in the U.S., Strange Country, Strange Times will be on view from November 16 – December 20, 2022 at Morton Fine Art’s Washington, D.C. space.

Katherine Hattam Perhaps, 2022 21.5 x 25.5 in Mixed media on linen Courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist

Brightly shaded walls and windows, collaged book spines and iconographic depictions of native Australian fauna and flora make up much of Hattam’s painterly practice, a lifelong investigation with the domestic interior as its focus. Acknowledging a centuries-long preoccupation with domestic space as both the imaginative site and societal bounds of female artistic production, Hattam’s totemic kitchen tables and charged dining-room chairs recur as motifs throughout her artistic practice, doubly imbued as locations of domestic labor and sites of imaginative longing. Often, windows look out onto fantastic landscapes – a rueful rumination on experiences proffered but withheld.

In Strange Country, Strange Times, the vibrancy of Hattam’s window-views infiltrates into the domestic interior, reflecting the seeping isolation of the recent pandemic years, when means of travel and discovery were often confined to the mind. Hattam was well-equipped for such conditions: her domestic spaces have always been inveterately imaginative, expanded by (and often literally constructed from) the pages and covers of the books she’s been reading. Her frank pastiche of passing literary and artistic influences onto these interior landscapes discloses the extent to which Hattam views the perception of space as an inherently psychological construction, with internal influences and personal histories governing the way we make sense of even the most familiar room.

Katherine Hattam The Pinch, 2022 30 x 22 in. Jigsaw woodblock print on paper Edition 14/15 Courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist

In 2019, Hattam received a fellowship grant to study at the Australian Print Workshop under master printer Martin King, where she began learning the method of jigsaw woodcut printing, a technique of classical Japanese art that was later adopted by Edvard Munch and Paul Gauguin. Several works in this exhibition were first made at that workshop in the months immediately preceding the pandemic. One of this show’s title works, Strange Country, sets Australian animal life in a landscape originally taken from Giotto. Reflecting on these portentous prints, Hattam notes that the pandemic allowed her to recognize the isolation implicit to living in Australia, a condition of being which she has often imposed into her art. Hokusai’s Great Wave off Kanagawa (1831), another woodblock print, is insterted regularly throughout Hattam’s work here, alternately as window views or paintings-within-paintings, and represents for the artists a mentality of time – waves of feminism, waves of coronavirus – that embraces natural rhythms based on a sense of tidal flow.

A longstanding image for Hattam is that of a wood-backed dining room chair, which the artist has drawn and even reconstructed as sculpture since the 1990s. The persistence of chairs, tables and books stand in for family members and personal influences, like portraits in absentia. Despite the inveterate cerebrality of her interior compositions, Hattam insists that her works are always “about actually being there: they exist because someone has been there to see it.” Her furniture, despite its symbolically potency and personal resonance, is also steadfastly literal, and represents a window into the broader material world. Through her compositions, Hattam asks: How much of one’s daily life is a mixture of what’s going on in your head and what’s going on outside?

Katherine Hattam headshot Courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist. Photo credit: Clare Rae

Katherine Hattam (b. 1950) is a Melbourne-based Australian artist. Literature was a passion for Hattam’s mother, who first read Freud in adolescence, later passing her appreciation down to her daughter. Hattam graduated from Melbourne University in 1974 with a BA in Literature and Politics and a focus on psychoanalytic theory. Literary references abound in her work; some of the books used in her compositions derive from her mother’s extensive collection, while others are scoured from second-hand stores. Works on paper – drawing, printmaking and collage – are a continuing thread in her practice. Hattam’s work is in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Victoria, Queensland Art Gallery, University of Queensland, Queensland University of Technology, Artbank, Heide, Art Gallery of South Australia, Deakin and La Trobe Universities, Warrnambool Art Gallery and Bendigo Art Gallery. In 1992 she was awarded an MFA by the Victorian College of the Arts, and in 2004 she was awarded a PhD by Deakin University. She has been represented by Morton Fine Art since 2011.

Katherine Hattam This Strange Island, 2022 31 x 23 in. Mixed media on linen Courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist

Morton Fine Art

Founded in 2010 in Washington D.C. 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

52 O St NW #302, Washington, DC 20001

KESHA BRUCE | Take Me to the Water | Martin Cid Magazine

25 Sep
Kesha Bruce
Kesha Bruce Gifts for Mami Wata, 2022 40 x 30 in. Mixed-media Textile Collage on canvas Courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist

ART

New Mixed-media Paintings by Kesha Bruce at Morton Fine Art Represent a Crossroads Between Poetry and Praxis

THE FRUITION OF A LONG AND INTUITIVE PROCESS, BRUCE’S WORKS SUGGEST A CONSTELLATION OF SIGNSGREATER THAN THE SUM OF THEIR PARTS.

BY ART MARTIN CID MAGAZINE

SEPTEMBER 9, 2022

Washington, D.C. – Morton Fine Art is pleased to announce Take Me to the Water, a solo exhibition of mixed-media paintings by the 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, D.C. space (52 O St NW #302).

Kesha Bruce
Kesha Bruce Waves Singing for the Moon, 2022 40 x 30 in. Mixed-media Textile Collage on canvas Courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist

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.

Kesha Bruce
Kesha Bruce She was Born to Water, 2022 60 x 48 in. Mixed-media Textile Collage on canvas Courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist

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.

Kesha Bruce
Kesha Bruce Memory of Matala, 2022 60 x 48 in. Mixed-media Textile Collage on canvas Courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist

Kesha Bruce (b. 1975, Iowa). Born and raised in Iowa, Bruce completed a BFA from the University of Iowa before earning an MFA in painting from Hunter College in New York City. 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.

In addition to her studio practice, Bruce has been the Artist Programs Manager at the Arizona Commission on the Arts since 2019. She also serves as the Board Chair of Tessera Art Collective, a non-profit organization that supports and elevates the work and practices of BIPOC women artists working in abstraction. Bruce is also co-founder of Blac k Girl Basel – the only event during Miami Art Week intentionally created for Black women artists, creatives, entrepreneurs, activists and cultural change-makers.

Kesha Bruce
Kesha Bruce Gorée Kept Her Secrets, 2022 60 x 48 in. Mixed-media Textile Collage on canvas Courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist

Morton Fine Art

Founded in 2010 in Washington D.C. 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.

52 O St NW #302, Washington, DC 20001, United States