Tag Archives: MFA Morton Fine Art

Artwork by Victor Ekpuk- Live painting in Amsterdam

15 May

Artwork by Victor Ekpuk, made during the presentation of ZAM Africa Magazine in 2009.

Nathaniel Donnett’s ZZZ’s reviewed

10 Jan
Photo credit: Nathaniel Donnett

Photo credit: Nathaniel Donnett

December 17th, 2012 – Carrie Marie Schneider

ZZzzzzzz by Nathaniel Donnett was the result of his one-week residency at Art League Houston as part of the group show/mini residency STACKS, curated by Robert Pruitt. On opening night for STACKS, the five participating artists—Phillip Pyle II, Nathaniel Donnett, Jamal Cyrus, M’kina Tapscott and Autumn Knight—were clad in gray hazmat suits while they inventoried, announced, axed and fed collected objects that their offerers felt represented “blackness” into a wood chipper. Each subsequent week one of these artists is invited to use the remnants in their own exhibition.

In a panel discussion for ZZzzzzzz, Pruitt framed STACKS as a way to make public and tangible the conversations he’d been having with his peers, as well as a way to defy the lack of expectation and exhibition of rigorous conceptual work and theory-based investigations by black artists, “to show that we talk about what they do not think we are thinking about.” When asked whether continuing to rehash and redefine “Black Art” only continues black artists’ confinement to an expected loop, Pruitt said it is the conversation that matters.

On that note, I’d like to point out that the talk for ZZzzzzzz was rare in two ways: 1. It was a participatory performance work that asked to hear about the participants’ experiences. 2. It was a panel discussion that actually included discussion.

Nathaniel Donnett was the second STACKS artist to have his go. His first choice of medium was time travel, but barring that, dreams were the next best thing.

Inspired by Carl Jung’s writing and his St. Elizabeth experiment (to determine if African Americans had a different consciousness than white Americans), Donnett led a week chock full of investigations around the idea of “Black Imagination.” It started with inviting four people, two artists and two collectors, to spend the night in the gallery space. They slept, attempted to sleep, or cursed Donnett for sleep deprivation to a soundtrack he created from lectures, found sounds and music. “Donnie Darko” also played.

Continue reading the article here

zz n6 donnett photo credit

zz n9 donnett photo credit

WRESTLING WITH ANGELS, New Work by Kesha Bruce

28 Dec

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For nearly a decade, Kesha Bruce has addressed issues surrounding African-American identity and spirituality in her work. The paintings on paper in her Wrestling with Angels series hint at an even deeper and more direct vein of inquiry into the nature of spiritual struggle in immediate confrontation with the contemporary world.
Inspired by the biblical story of Jacob wrestling with the angel, the 14 artworks depict two figures, of indistinguishable gender, who seem to be engaged in either an intimate dance or a violent struggle. In one work, a nearly transparent and elegantly rendered figure draws the second into a passionate embrace; while in another image, an ominous, imposing figure seems on the verge of striking a fatal blow.
With Bruce’s attention shifting more towards the exploration of contemporary spirituality, not surprisingly, the imagery in Wrestling with Angels has become more abstract. Each work is more an evocation of a psychological state than an illustration of a biblical narrative.
In stark contrast to Bruce’s past work, which combined photography, collage and text elements, these new works show real evidence of both the artist’s hand and personal impulses- intricate patterning and ornamentation collide with zones of chaotic brushwork; fluid washes of color overlap areas of stark linear mark-making, and even the paper itself literally buckles under the weight of the frenzied movement. The end result is a compelling synthesis of color and gesture, deeply informed by narrative, allegory and spirituality.
Wrestling With Angels will be up at Morton Fine Art through January 2nd, 2012

LAUREL HAUSLER featured in DC Luxury Magazine’s ARTS & POWER’ issue

1 Dec

DC Luxury Magazine’s Arts & Power issue (December 2012)

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“It’s not an exaggeration to say that in certain circumstances, art saves you,” says collector Karen Conwell Smith. While in the midst of a heart-breaking divorce, the Federation of American Hospitals lobbyist attended an opening at Morton Fine Art and was captivated by a painting of an injured WWII-era nurse. “She’s a woman of texture on canvas: a caregiver in her depleted feminine state, gorgeous in her emptiness- I saw her and I wasn’t alone,” says Smith. When she confided in the artist, Laurel Hausler, the two discovered a shared understanding of the emotions captured in the aptly titled piece, “First Aid,” which now hangs in Smith’s bedroom. Every piece Smith owns evokes a memory from her past, a theme echoed by Charlottesville-based Hausler’s work.

Filled with ghostly characters rendered more sad than scary, her paintings are permeated by everyday emotions in a conscious effort to better understand things broken and unknown. “I try to see the beauty in torment,” says 34-year-old Hausler, a Virginia native who began pursuing art after a stint in New Orleans, where she cultivated a love of folk art. “It was liberating to realize I didn’t have to have a fine-art degree to make beautiful things,” she explains. The layers of paint on her canvases feature lines, scratches and rips- a symbol of the intense process that goes into each piece. Hausler credits Smith’s patronage with validating her work. “It’s a blessing to feel like your work is appreciated, loved and getting a good home.” (pp 98-99)

Read the article here: http://digital.modernluxury.com/publication/?i=135819&p=100

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Deception in American Contemporary Art Magazine!

30 May

Deception in American Contemporary Art Magazine!

Stop by and see the show, the work will be up until June 12th.

Spring Blossom, oil on canvas, 72″x54″

New Work from Julia Fernandez Pol’s show DECEPTION

23 May

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Artist Profile: Vonn Sumner

19 Aug

A little known tidbit about Vonn Sumner’s work is that the hats worn by many of the figures in his compositions are first hand constructed by the artist.

Vonn Sumner, Study after Mutiny, oil on panel, 20 x 16″

These hats are referenced directly from art history, such as the Italian Reniassance work  The Journey of the Magi (1495).