Tag Archives: See Great Art

KESHA BRUCE | Take Me to the Water in See Great Art

20 Sep

ART IN THE NORTHEAST

Kesha Bruce paintings at Morton Fine Art in Washington, D.C.

BY CHADD SCOTT POSTED ON 0 COMMENTS

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.
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.

Morton Fine Art presents “Take Me to the Water,” a solo exhibition of mixed-media paintings by Kesha Bruce. An intuitive combination of painting, collage and textile art, Kesha Bruce paintings represent 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).

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.

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. Kesha 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.

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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, Kesha 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.

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About 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.

Kesha Bruce is also co-founder of Black Girl Basel – the only event during Miami Art Week intentionally created for Black women artists, creatives, entrepreneurs, activists and cultural change-makers.

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

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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.

Available Artwork by KESHA BRUCE.

MALIZA KIASUWA featured in See Great Art

9 Jun

ART IN THE NORTHEASTBLACK ARTISTSFEMALE ARTISTS

Maliza Kiasuwa at Morton Fine Art

BY CHADD SCOTT

POSTED ON 

Maliza Kiasuwa, A Little Red, 2021 Collage, thread and Washi paper 18 x 14 in Courtesy of the artist and Morton Fine Art

Morton Fine Art (52 O Street NW #302, Washington, D.C.) presents a solo exhibition of new mixed-media works by Kenya-based visual artist Maliza Kiasuwa. Featuring twenty-one works by the artist, “Pride of Origins” recreates the precarious and ever-evolving equilibrium between the handmade and the manufactured through the juxtaposition of material.

Underscoring the cultural and commercial exchange between continents, Kiasuwa’s technically masterful works explore the ironies of post-colonial politics and invent new futures through imbrication, embroidery, and the combination of heterogenous objects. “Pride of Origins” will be on view through June 30, 2021.

Kiasuwa’s constructions are deeply rooted in the cultural, social, and political context of Kenya, but more generally, of Africa and the world. Combining handmade materials from Japan with found objects from around her farm on Lake Naivasha, in the heart of Kenya’s Great Rift Valley, Kiasuwa embraces her chosen material’s earlier character and vocabulary, but transfigures their context by sewing, stitching and mending to produce unexpected narratives and representations of society, events, and global issues.

As a visual artist of European and African descent, Kiasuwa brings a panoptic perspective to her border-crossing work, which regards the coexistence of two worlds as an endless source of inspiration, and a potential space for reconciliation.

“My sculptures and collages are made of bits and pieces that I collect during my daily expeditions: cotton threads, handmade ropes made of straw or rubber, plastic bags stranded on the lakeshore,” Kiasuwa said. “These materials are representative of culture and history in the context of the global flow of goods, especially in terms of how their utility values shift over time. Sometimes I combine local materials with handmade fabrics such as Japanese Washi paper. I like to blend materials which don’t belong together.”

Presenting all new work from 2021, “Pride of Origins” unveils recent developments in Kiasuwa’s practice, which is an ongoing examination of her identity as a woman of both African and European descent, scrutinizing the meaning of duality and otherness. The very distinct, but sometimes rival, traditions of local culture and the Church similarly ungird the artist’s exploration of a “double belonging.”

“Pride of Origin” honors the raw, natural beauty of the artist’s environment, while also challenging assumptions of value in material culture to highlight the interconnectedness of the post-colonial landscape and its inheritance of consumer society.

ABOUT MALIZA KIASUWA

Maliza Kiasuwa, born in 1975, lives and works in Kenya. She creates works with stimulating and eclectic elements celebrating Africa’s mystic power of nature by using raw materials and traditional symbols of energy that flow through the veins of the continent. She transforms everyday articles by combining reductive methods of shredding and twisting with constructive processes of tying, weaving, stitching and dyeing. The process is fluid, focused and becomes a meditation.

Maliza Kiasuwa has exhibited in Kenya, Switzerland, Italy, England and the United States. She has been represented by Morton Fine Art since 2021.

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.

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