Tag Archives: Rosemary Covey

The Washington Post ~ In the galleries: Rosemary Feit Covey

16 Oct
WP

Written by Mark Jenkins October 4, 2019

Rosemary Feit Covey

There’s a pleasing symmetry between what Rosemary Feit Covey depicts and how she depicts it. Most of the works in “The Dark Re-Imagined,” the Alexandria artist’s show at Morton Fine Art, begin with wood engraving. The white-on-black images are usually supplemented with painted colors and sometimes built up with thread or small found objects. But the incised lines are fundamental, and apt for conveying such hidden natural systems as a fish skeleton or a network of submerged fungi.

AmethystDeceivers_web

‘Amethyst Deceivers 11’ (2019) by Rosemary Feit Covey. Wood engraving, thread, painting on canvas, 36″x 48″ 

Feit Covey has worked with doctors and scientists — including at Georgetown University Medical School’s morgue — so her art is grounded in biological knowledge. Yet the works in this show are not mere illustrations. They attempt to convey the abundance of life, the inevitability of death and the link between the two. In such intricate compositions as the swirling “Fish,” the individual blurs into the collective, much as dead things are reabsorbed into living ones. Like a clump of black earth, Feit Covey’s pictures are dark but fecund.

 

Follow this link to view Available Artwork by Rosemary Feit Covey on MFA’s website.

 

Rosemary Feit Covey’s available work is stored on site at Morton Fine Art, stop by anytime during open hours or make an appointment to view these incredible creations up close in person.  Wednesday – Saturday : 12 – 5pm,  Sunday – Tuesday : by appointment Contact:  mortonfineart@gmail.com -or- (202) 628-2787.

 

 

ROSEMARY FEIT COVEY’s solo “The Dark Re Imagined” opens Saturday 9/14/19

5 Sep
Inspired by evolutionary biology, ROSEMARY FEIT COVEY pushes the boundaries of printmaking in her solo exhibition “The Dark Re Imagined”. In this series of artworks she has collaborated with scientists and integrates fungus, lichens, animals, decay and broken insects.
ROSEMARY FEIT COVEY
The Dark Re Imagined
September 14 – October 9, 2019
Opening Reception
Saturday, September 14th from 2-6pm
Artist Talk at 4pm
EXHIBITION LOCATION
Morton Fine Art
52 O St NW #302
Washington, DC 20001
HOURS
Wednesday – Saturday 12pm – 5pm
Sunday – Tuesday by appointment
ROSEMARY FEIT COVEY, Just One Day 2019, 36″x24″, painting, found objects and plastic on canvas
ROSEMARY FEIT COVEY, Amethyst Deceivers 11, 2019, 36″x48″, wood engraving, thread, painting on canvas
About The Dark Re Imagined
My current work on fungus and lichens, broken insects and evolutionary biology is not scientific in the sense of medical illustration but a continuation of a life time artistically reacting to mortality’s hold on our subconscious. My earlier work was more overtly psychological. Now I glory in exploring texture and new methods of printmaking. After decades working alone I embrace collaboration. Working with other artists and scientists who all share passion for their chosen subjects and understand mine, they are generous in answering my questions with care and enthusiasm. As the young entomologist, Rebecca Cathleen Wilson told me in one of our many conversations, “we study insects because we love them but to do so we have to kill them, working with you gives them another life”. – ROSEMARY FEIT COVEY, 2019
ROSEMARY FEIT COVEY in her studio
About ROSEMARY FEIT COVEY
Rosemary Feit Covey was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. Her work is housed in over forty major museum and library collections worldwide, including Yale University Art Gallery, the New York Public Library Print Collection, the National Museum of American History, Harvard University, and the Papyrus Institute in Cairo, Egypt. In 2012 over five-hundred of her prints were acquired for the permanent collection of Georgetown University Library, Special Collections. She is the recipient of a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship (Bellagio Italy), an Alpha Delta Kappa Foundation National Fine Art Award and a fellowship to Georgetown University Medical Center as the 2007-2008 Artist-in-Residence. Her solo museum exhibitions include the Butler Museum of American Art, the Delaware Center for Contemporary Arts and the International Museum of Surgical Science in Chicago. In 2014, a retrospective of her prints, paintings and installation work was held at Johns Hopkins University’s Evergreen Museum. Her larger public art has been installed world wide, including at Burning Man and at Culture Summit 2017 in Abu Dhabi. Articles on her work have been featured in magazines including Art in America, Juxtapoz, and American Artist Magazine. She has fully illustrated books for Simon & Schuster and William Morrow as well as for fine art presses.
While an artist in residence at Georgetown University Medical School, Feit Covey wrote one chapter and illustrated the text for the book, Maldynia: Multidisciplinary Perspectives on the Illness of Chronic Pain, published by CRC Press. Previously she worked with a brain tumor patient for three years chronicling his illness artistically. This work was featured on Studio 360, Public Radio International, and in articles for The Los Angeles Times and CR Magazine. Since 2017 she has collaborated with evolutionary biologist Paul Andrews working on a ground breaking book using evolutionary biology to understand depression and evaluate pharmacological and psychological treatments for depression. This work will be published by Oxford University Press in 2020 or 2021. An article on this work appeared in Sci-Art Magazine in 2018. Currently, she is working with two botanists and an entomologist who have greatly aided in inspiring and informing her most recent series of work.
She is represented by Morton Fine Art in Washington, DC.
About Morton Fine Art
Founded in 2010 in Washington, DC 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
Wed – Sat 12pm-5pm and Sun-Tues by appointment

ROSEMARY FEIT COVEY and “In Print” in Daily Press

8 May

New prints reinvent old medium on giant scale in Portsmouth

If rare is the word when it comes to noteworthy exhibits of period prints, scarcer still are shows of contemporary printmaking.

Nearly two decades have passed since the last substantial example unfolded anywhere close to Hampton Roads — and for that you had to drive to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond.

But in a year made remarkable by not just one, but two impressive displays of 17th-century prints at the Peninsula Fine Art Center in Newport News — including three dozen etchings by Rembrandt — fans of this seldom-seen medium are getting a great bonus.

Curated by Gayle Paul of the Portsmouth Art and Cultural Center, “In Print” features scores of works you may not associate with the mostly small, deliberately intimate prints of the past — and that’s because the regional and nationally known artists who made them used new tools and hugely expanded scale to reinvent them.

“This exhibit is about artists who create the image as an original print, then see it through the entire printmaking process,” Paul said.

“And they’re using advanced and improved printmaking technology to create works you couldn’t make just a few years ago.”

A year in the making, “In Print” explores works by numerous Hampton Roads and Virginia artists, as well as talents from Ohio, Tennessee and the West Coast.

Unexpected scale is a defining characteristic of the collection here, where your eyes may pop and your breath be taken away by the sheer size and ambition of such pieces as a 14-foot-tall installation by Washington artist Nicole Pietrantoni.

Cascading down from the wall just a foot shy of the gallery’s high ceilings, five hand-bound accordion-style books unfurl into the air and fall to the floor, their synchronized pages forming a huge vertical view of ocean swells rumbling in from a distant horizon toward the viewer.

Dark clouds trace ominous patterns in the sky overhead, while barely submerged rocks lurk just below the frothy surface.

Passages of words pour down the pages in fragments, riding the currents with the menacing conclusions of a climate change and water report.

“The scale is just spectacular,” Paul says, describing a work so large it nudges you back on you heels if you get too close.

“And it creates this giant image that’s not just seen but felt.”

That impact is made all the more striking by the much smaller, even intimate scale of “Precipitous” before it was unpacked.

“It arrived in an Office Depot box maybe 16-by-20-by-16 inches in size,” Paul said, “yet it expanded into this huge piece measuring 6 feet wide and 14 feet high.”

Even bigger and more muscular is “Black Ice,” a 20-foot-wide Arctic landscape engraved, painted and assembled by Alexandria artist Rosemary Feit Covey.

Though her “Gingko” and “Fish” images are substantially smaller, the same curious combination of elvish craftsmanship and robust size makes you stop to look — and if you do it closely you will find hundreds if not thousands of small wood engravings that have been pulled through a press, cut out and then collaged into complex and arresting images.

“Wood engraving is a very old process,” Paul said, “but this is an entirely new way to do it.”

Old Dominion University artist Domenica Webb takes a similar tack with her oversize cyanotype prints, using an early photographic medium and direct printing to make otherworldly images of veils, dresses and blouses once worn by Webb or various family members.

Burned into the blue paper with sunlight, some images are then embellished with pins, stitching and buttons, too, adding the presence of the artist’s hand to these ethereal surrogates of her childhood and family.

“They’re beautiful,” Paul says, “and very personal.”

“In Print”

Where: Portsmouth Art and Cultural Center, 1846 Courthouse, 400 High St., Portsmouth.

When: Through May 28.

Cost: $3 adults, $2 children ages 2-17.

Info: 757-393-8543 or portsmouthartcenter.com.

Click here to view these featured and available pieces by ROSEMARY FEIT COVEY. Please contact Morton Fine Art for pricing and details. 

Rosemary Feit Covey’s 500 piece collection at Georgetown University Library

19 May
digital georgetown logo
fish-collectionhead
Rosemary Feit Covey’s 500 piece collection at Georgetown University Library. This collection encompasses the entire graphic oeuvre from 1967 to 2010 of the South African-born artist Rosemary Feit Covey. Including some 500 works, the collection was amassed over several decades by Eric Lansdowne Mackenzie and generously donated to Georgetown University Library in 2011.  Mackenzie had published the catalogue raisonné of Covey’s graphic work the previous year, and the descriptive information in these Digital Georgetown records is drawn from his catalog.

 

Encouraged as a high school student by the renowned wood engraver and illustrator Barry Moser, Covey began working in the challenging medium of wood engraving in 1975. The stark linearity and rich darkness of this expressive medium can heighten the psychological effect of the subject and proved the ideal medium for Covey’s imagery. She found that the act of carving into wood required a level of concentration and effort that “drew from a deeper reserve” than the act of painting. Through this intensely physical process she was enabled to bring more deeply felt imagery to the surface, drawn from memories of her youth or daily experience.

Rosemary Feit Covey is a prolific, award-winning artist who maintains a working studio at the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, Virginia. From 2007 to 2008, Covey served as Artist-in-Residence at Georgetown University Medical Center, and in 2014 she had a major retrospective at the Johns Hopkins University’s Evergreen Museum and Library. Her work is represented in the Smithsonian Institution and the New York Public Library, among other public collections.

 
Morton Fine Art
1781 Florida Ave NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 628-2787
mortonfineart.com

ROSEMARY FEIT COVEY’s “North Pole Series”

15 Mar
 
About ROSEMARY FEIT COVEY’s “North Pole Series”-
Visiting the North Pole is a life changing experience. Seeing vastness of the ice flow and lonely pursuit for food of the polar bear is very different from seeing the usual frolicking bears in picture postcards. It is a majestic and unforgiving environment.
The five large ice panels in the series, combine wood engravings, painting and plastics to create an abstracted version of the arctic landscape.  Several smaller pieces depict the bears themselves. The use of plastics to create this series of work was included as both a relevant, thematic and artistic decision.  Plastics are oil products and both literally (floating around in the water) and in terms of drilling raise issues of global consequence. Transparent sheets of plastic and store carry bags add texture and layering. Producing a  translucent  quality which adds surface interest and the effect of light on the ice and water. – ROSEMARY FEIT COVEY, 2016
 

 
Polar Bear
Wood engraving , acrylic paint, Japanese paper on canvas
30 x 20 inches
 

 
Sole Swimmer (3 panels)
Acrylic paint, Japanese paper, plastics on canvas
42 x 36 inches each panel

 
Black Ice (5 panels)
Wood engraving, acrylic paint, plastic on canvas
72 x 30 inches each panel
 
Please contact the gallery for higher resolution images as well as with any inquiries or requests.
Morton Fine Art
1781 Florida Ave NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 628-2787
mortonfineart@gmail.com

Scott Ponemone’s article “Rosemary Feit Covey : Printmaker’s Journey”

2 Jan

by SCOTT PONEMONE

http://www.scottponemone.com/rosemary-feit-covey-printmakers-journey/

  • Rosemary Feit Covey: Printmaker’s Journey

  • 1 December 2014
singleimage

This article first appeared in the Fall 2014 issue of the Newsletter of the Print Drawing & Photography Society of the Baltimore Museum of Art. This blog post enables me to offer color imagery as well as additional images.

Introduction

Thanks to an exhibition this spring at Evergreen Museum & Library, curated by James Archer Abbott, its Director and Curator, I finally got to meet artist Rosemary Feit Covey. You would think that with my longstanding interest in wood engraving, with my first seeing her work some 30 years ago, and with her studio just down the road at Alexandria’s Torpedo Factory, I would have made an effort to meet her long ago. But I didn’t. I offer no excuses. At least I didn’t let this opportunity slip by.

 

I went to the exhibition opening expecting to see a sequence of individually framed wood engravings. Was I ever wrong. Yes, there were several pieces just how I expected. But Rosemary’s expressions as a printmaker were not limited to traditionally presented relief prints. There were painted-over collages of prints. There were strips of prints made to look to like hanging lengths of film housed in a light box. And there was an installation involving drawings multiplied by photocopying.

How did the wood engraver whose images I first saw decades ago become such a multidimensional artist? This is what I wanted to know when I sent her a sequence of questions. Here are her answers:

Interview

Could you give a brief account of your childhood and when you started thinking of yourself as a visually creative person?

I have no memory of a time before I made things. My grandmother on my father’s side, a transplant to South Africa from Vienna, was my soulmate from birth. She had big boxes of fabric scraps. She made my clothes, and I made my dolls’ clothes. She taught my sister and me to embroider and crotchet, and she never used a pattern. My nursery school teacher told my mother I was talented. My mother was surprised. The teacher then showed her what the other kids were doing. My first memory of working on my own on paper was a pastel I made of the abandoned gold mine dumps outside Johannesburg. I drew them teeming with miners.

I lived in a fantasy world of my own creation much of my childhood. The days home sick, which I coveted, were my real education. My room was my sanctuary. With parents warring endlessly outside the door, I drew and read and played complex games with dolls.

WEB covey portrait

< Photo by Rusty Kennedy

I first saw your work some 30 years ago. These were wood engravings. Did you think of yourself primarily as a wood engraver? Who influenced you to practice wood engraving?

I was taught wood engraving in three days by Barry Moser, my high school art teacher and now a famous wood engraver/illustrator. I had studied printmaking at Cornell and MICA. Afterwards [while living in D.C.] I went up to New England for a few days with Barry, and he gave me basic pointers. Those few days were not followed by any other formal engraving training. I figured it out on my own. I like the quote: “Wood engraving is the easiest to learn and the hardest to master of the printmaking techniques.” I’m not sure who said it, but I think it is true.

I liked the enforced concentration of engraving, pulling lightness from the dark on a block of beautiful but unmalleable wood. It was all a means to convey emotion. I never have felt any form of wood engraving fetishism, but I did feel an immediate knowledge from my first engraving that I had found my path artistically. My grounding in the prints of the past, Dürer, Hogarth, the WPA artists—studied from childhood—gave me a high bar to aim for. With the exception of one Doré image (done to teach myself technique), I never tried to copy or approximate any other artist. I also gravitated towards line work. The lack of color seemed more connected to dreams and internal landscapes. None of this was an intellectual decision. It all came out of just doing.

I had to make a living, not easy doing something so esoteric. So I did lots of commissions for years: Christmas cards, baby announcements, book illustrations. In most of these I had to curb my natural tendency towards the macabre. I remember the Musical Heritage Society chairman pleading that I not do a sad looking Christmas and Easter for their magazine cover. None the less, glimmers of my natural tendency to go in this direction would slip in even to these benign subjects.

What was it about wood engraving in either production process or as a finished product that made it the right medium for you?

The act of carving—the struggle to deal with the nature of wood—is very different from drawing. (Fig. 1) The concentration needed and the difficulty of showing facial expression or skin tone as one carves it all in reverse, somehow draws from a deeper reserve than painting can. Now that I am older I appreciate the freedom of a quickly drawn line and endless chances to get it right. But when I was younger, my soul resonated only while I engraved. It pulled something deeply felt to the surface. The need to get this out forced me to develop some skills in doing so. It was a hunger and need to find expression.

WEB Covey at work

Fig. 1 Rosemary Feit Covey in her Topedo Factory (Alexandria VA) studio demonstrates how she cuts a block. (Photo by Scott Ponemone) >

What subject matter attracted you initially? And how did you represent that in your images? Can you offer particular prints as examples?

I have always tried to convey an internal life and not shy away from difficult emotions. I’ve tried to create pictures that could be real but actually are about something else. For example, I did the print based on my childhood in South Africa. I was at a swimming pool one day. A black man walked passed, doing nothing more than walking in front of me to the water, but I protectively placed my kick board in front of my body. It was a knee-jerk reaction. I was horrified and confused that I had done this. So I explored the emotion and found the link back to my childhood in Apartheid South Africa where fear and sexual tension were conveyed even to an innocent child. The remnants of this training sadly still remained in my unconscious—not a pleasant thing to face. So I created the image about that—a difficult subject. At the same time the print can be viewed as a slice of life genre piece, if the viewer wishes it.

In a later work called Porcupine Girl (Standing) (Fig. 2), the message is about the strange nature of pleasure and pain often connecting.  Just having gone through life-threatening emergency surgery, I flew to Italy for a Rockefeller Fellowship on Lake Como—one of the scariest and happiest times of my life butting up on each other and making for a strange intensity. Hopefully if the work is honest, it will resonate with others, but I do not worry about others. For me it’s just about getting it all down. David, a guy who hired me to chronicle artistically his brain tumor experiences over three years, certainly believed this to be true. He wanted to use himself as a model of a specific case that could move beyond his death.

Web Covey Porcupine

< Fig. 2

Porcupine Girl (Standing)

1999

wood engraving

14″ x 10″

Ed. 60

photo by Eric L. Mackenzie
How did your imagery evolve (as a formal printmaker)? What topics became important to you and why? Can you also offer me particular examples?

As one gets older the neurosis of childhood recedes and larger issues become artistically interesting. But usually ideas still start with the personal. I have now done large installations which have no genre elements. The most recent is on non-culpable guilt called Red Handed(Fig. 3), a subject that consumes me. By non-culpable I mean guilt at a remove. For example, in the case, as documented, of the children and grandchildren of Nazis commandants, they feel guilt but bear no personal responsibility. Or true stories of car accidents where passengers or pedestrians are killed but it was not the driver’s fault, how does one live with these things? In my artist’s statement I tried hard to link this to societal responsibility, but really it is about personal situations. If the personal is removed, nothing is felt. I have my own reasons why this subject resonates. Art has to come from something real, or why do it? Anyway, why one does it is a whole other issue with possibly no answer.

As with most artists my themes reappear through my work in different forms over time. For example, the light boxes in the Evergreen show are again on how pleasure and pain can mesh. (Fig. 4) This time the story is based on an actual couple’s relationship. Starting as a commission it grew into a large project that stretched my ideas about wood engraving, marriage and storytelling. I wanted the hand-pulled prints to look like film noir strips of photographs hanging to dry. I used wax and light boxes to convey the feeling. I was helped by Director Andrea Harris of Grand Central Art Center in Santa Ana, CA. She gave me a residency and encouraged me to try something really different. When I mentioned light boxes, she ran down to the art center’s basement and produced a couple of them.

Eventually they were custom designed, and it took two years of work to create the final project.

WEB Covey floor painting

Fig 3 Rosemary painting Red Handed. (Photo by Graham Scott)

WEB covey films

Fig 4 Light Box is composed of wood engravings printed on vertical lengths of paper and makes reference to rolls of film hanging to dry. To enhance this effect Rosemary backlit this piece. BELOW A closeup of one of her Light Box pieces. (Photos by Graham Scott)

WEB covey film closeup

At Evergreen, formal, individually framed wood engravings are in the minority. Can you talk about your other means of presentation: when and how they came about, technical hurdles needed for each?

Small wood engravings began to look dated to me as the world changed. I was stretching for more ways to convey ideas as a printmaker. This happened organically, not in a bolt.

I had rubbed my prints and was throwing on the floor large sheets with multiple images as I corrected my prints. They had some faces printed over and over, and soft and hard printings all put together. These I usually threw away, but my husband loved them and kept some. From his interest began to emerge a new way of working. I used my blocks as a library of images and combined parts of them into new complex works printed on one sheet. The Dark Backward is the best example of how this looked. In Santa Ana I had created a large image on Tyvek. The Arlington (VA) Art Center awarded me a chance to print this to wrap around a huge building—total dimensions: 15 feet x 300 feet. (Fig. 5) It was again a new way of thinking about printmaking. I used large commercial printers and found this just as challenging and requiring just as much trial and error as hand rubbing. Now I use a mixture of commercial printers and my Vandercook proofing press to create images that combine prints from both sources. I continue to create additions to my library of images and often work in parts, carving multiple blocks for each one-of-a-kind piece. I am still very much a printmaker but also a painter. I hate the word “collage,” maybe associating it to decoupage, but I guess I will have to live with it.

WEB covey wrap

Fig. 5 The O Project, 2007, Arlington (VA) Arts Center, Dupont ™ Tyrek ® banner, 15′ x 300′. (Photo by Rosemary Feit Covey) BELOW Closeup of the banner. (Photo by Doug Sanford)

WEB covey heads

The columns (Fig. 6) are again a new means of using printed images to create a forest of forms—sculpture from prints. These were created for the Evergreen exhibition as an installation. There are nine of them and they range in height from seven to ten feet.

WEB covey columns 2

Fig. 6 Rosemary’s columns standing in the main hall of Evergreen Museum & Library. (Photo courtesy of Evergreen Museum & Library)

How did this expansion of your presentations change you as an artist? What new artistic concerns/topics are you able to tackle (or old topics better to present) now that you’re no longer solely a formal printmaker?

Mainly I can work much larger, and this frees me to do work that feels much more right to me now.

I saw giclee reproductions of your collages in your Alexandria studio. Why are you OK with offering them?

A few years ago I had a show at Morton Fine Arts (Washington, DC) called Death of the Fine Art Print.

It was meant to raise the question: What is fine art printmaking now? I had degraded images on the floor to walk on and hand-pulled prints of the same thing. I made cardboard rats out of xeroxed prints and painted each one so they were all different. So it was all a question of what was original, what was hand made. Was it the rats or the editioned prints, and why were we walking on images of those prints? I love gray areas in everything.

When I studied printmaking, we had to make an edition that was consistent: No. 1 had to look the same as No. X. Over the years this has broken down. Now everything in the print world is multimedia. Things change. Pigment prints have become archival and much higher quality. Most museums display them. I love the way they look, and I cut them up and use them in new work. So the original is a combination of old images, hand printed, some parts painted. But to me this is much more interesting than a plain wood engraving.

Also I will not deny there is a commercial component. I am a working artist, and this is a way I can sell prints to people who cannot afford my print/painting one-of-a-kinds and make a living myself. Is this not what prints were created for in the Middle Ages? It is only recently that print collecting has become an elitist pursuit. I still have handpulled wood engravings in my studio, and the Georgetown University library has my complete works of 512 or so prints in their permanent collection. But I am always interested in the thing I am doing right now. So I am still experimenting.

Do you see formal printmaking in your future?

I do not think there is such a thing anymore.

 

WEB covey Ndonke sub copy

In 1996, 1997 and 1998 Rosemary created a series of five large wood engravings on the Vanitas theme. This print Nkonde, based on the traditional African image of a terrifying being covered in nails, was the first in the series. A copy of this print was included in Rosemary’s Evergreen exhibition. (Photo by Scott Ponemone)

Nkonde

1996

14″ x 10″

#45 in an edition of 60

 

Please contact Morton Fine Art for available artwork by ROSEMARY FEIT COVEY.

http://www.mortonfineart.com

mortonfineart@gmail.com

(202) 628-2787

African Origins Exhibition featuring OSI AUDU, ROSEMARY FEIT COVEY, VICTOR EKPUK and NNENNA OKORE

17 Apr

AFRICAN ORIGINS

4 Contemporary Artists Born in Africa and Living in the US featuring OSI AUDU, ROSEMARY FEIT COVEY, VICTOR EKPUK and NNENNA OKORE

April 25- May 20, 2014

 

OPENING RECEPTION 

Friday, April 25th, 6pm-8pm

 Local artists will be in attendance.

MFA’s exhibition African Origins explores artwork by four African-born, culturally hybrid artists currently living in the United States – three from Nigeria and one from South Africa.
The viewer is invited to explore African Origins by contemplating a range of original voices, overlaps and differences in aesthetic, medium, and subject. These artists successfully integrate diverse experiences and cultural inspirations from their respective African roots, and from their life in the United States.
 OSI AUDU, I Have a Landscape in my Head IV (diptych), 2014, 24"x24" each, wool & graphite on canvas


OSI AUDU, I Have a Landscape in my Head IV (diptych), 2014, 24″x24″ each, wool & graphite on canvas

About OSI AUDU (New York, b. Nigeria): 

OSI AUDU works in series, and is inspired by the discourse on the nature of consciousness, the dualism of something and nothing, light and dark, form and void.  Inspired by the Yoruba people of Western Nigeria’s belief that consciousness, referred to as the “head”, has both a physical dimension called the “outer head” and a spiritual one, “the inner head”, he fuses together cultural, scientific, and artistic ideas. His drawings on paper, titled – Self-Portrait are more about the portrait of the intangible essence of self, rather than a literal portrait of the artist. His drawings can also be made directly on the wall as a large scale wall drawing.
His new series –  I Have a Landscape in my Head, is about the way neurons light up in the brain, like fireflies, during a conscious experience. It explores the idea that perception takes place inside the head, as an interpretation of electromagnetic neural impulses that light up in the brain, and thus question the boundary between “outer” and “inner”.  AUDU has integrated a visual Interactive element – if the viewer stares fixedly at any of the abstract shapes on the left (color) canvas for about 20 seconds and transfers gaze to the same spot on the drawn (monochromatic) canvas  on the right, the viewer will see the shapes light up in the complementary colors of the color canvas.
 
Select collections include Newark Museum, The British Museum, The Horniman Museum, The Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, and National Gallery, Lagos.
ROSEMARY FEIT COVEY, Little Madam and the Girl, 2014, 27.5"x15", mixed media on panel

ROSEMARY FEIT COVEY, Little Madam and the Girl, 2014, 27.5″x15″, mixed media on panel

 

About ROSEMARY FEIT COVEY (Washington, DC b. South Africa): 

Rosemary Feit Covey was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. In a career spanning three decades she has exhibited internationally and received countless awards.  Ms. Covey’s work is in many major museum and library collections, including the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the New York Public Library Print Collection, the National Museum of American History, Harvard University, the Papyrus Institute in Cairo and 512 works in the permanent collection of Georgetown University Library. There is currently a retrospective of Ms. Covey’s wood engravings and installation work on display at the Evergreen Museum in Baltimore.

“In my art work on South Africa I have tried to deal with issues, not admitted, to face the taboos of the culture I came from. I have tried to understand what I knew as a child and where it meshes with history. Guilt is a subject that colors my work.  Communal guilt but especially non-participatory guilt. In the documentary Hitler’s Children, a man describes playing in a garden, while on the other side was the concentration camp his father commanded. My experience was not so literal or extreme but the metaphor applies. I did live on the other side of the fence. ” -ROSEMARY FEIT COVEY

 VICTOR EKPUK,  Composition 7, 50"x50", pastel and graphite on paper


VICTOR EKPUK,
Composition 7, 50″x50″, pastel and graphite on paper

 

About VICTOR EKPUK (Washington, DC b. Nigeria):

VICTOR EKPUK’s art began as an exploration of nsibidi “traditional” graphics and writing systems in Nigeria, and has since evolved to embrace a wider spectrum of meaning that is rooted in African and global contemporary art discourses.  His artwork is in the permanent collection of Smithsonian Institution National Museum of African Art, Newark Museum, The World Bank, and University of Maryland University College Art.

The central theme of Ekpuk’s work is the exploration of relationships, challenges, and responses to changes that characterize the contemporary human condition.  Of particular interest to his oeuvreis nsibidi, an indigenous African system of writing that employs graphic signs and codes to convey concepts. Inspired by these ancient writings, the forms in his works are reduced to a basic essence resulting in new symbols or codes in script-like drawings.

 

NNENNA OKORE,  Bodily Beings, 2011, dimensions variable, burlap, handmade paper and dye

NNENNA OKORE,
Bodily Beings, 2011, dimensions variable, burlap, handmade paper and dye

 

About NNENNA OKORE (Illinois b. Nigeria): 

With a BA in Painting from the University of Nigeria and both an MA and MFA in Sculpture from University of Iowa, NNENNA OKORE’s work broadly focuses on the concepts of recycling, transformation and regeneration of forms based on observations from ecological and man-made milieus. She is drawn to uniquely diverse and tactile characteristics of the collective physical world, astounded by natural phenomena that cause things to become weathered, dilapidated and lifeless – those events slowly triggered by aging, death and decay – and subtly captured in the fluid and delicate nature of life.

Her materials are biodegradable and comprise largely of old newspapers, found paper, ropes, thread, yarn, fibers, burlap, dye, coffee, starch, clay, etc. Through manually repetitive techniques as mirrored in both natural and mechanical reproductions, her processes of fraying, tearing, teasing, twisting, weaving, dyeing, waxing, accumulating and sewing allow her to interweave and synthesize the distinct properties of materials.  OKORE systematically deconstructs and reconstructs her media to yield subtle transformations of visual complexities. And much like impermanent earthy attributes, her organic and twisted forms mimic the dazzling intricacies of trees, barks, topography and architecture.

“I desire to heighten through my works, the perception of textures, undulating contours and movements that exist within our ephemeral world; and to evoke some reflection about how we can better preserve and care for our earthbound surroundings. ” NNENNA OKORE