Tag Archives: washington dc

KATHERINE HATTAM | Interlocutor Interviews

3 Dec

INTERLOCUTOR

Dec 1

Exhibition Feature – STRANGE COUNTRY, STRANGE TIMES by Katherine Hattam at Morton Fine Art

Exhibition FeaturesVisual Artists

Photo by Jarrett Hendrix

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 with the gallery, Strange Country, Strange Times will be on view through December 20, 2022 at Morton Fine Art’s Washington, D.C. space.

The Pinch, 2022, 30 x 22 in. – Jigsaw woodblock print on paper – Edition 14/15
Strange Country, 2022, 30 x 22 in. – Jigsaw woodblock print on paper – Edition 4/5

Curatorial Statement by Amy Morton: 

Katherine Hattam is an internationally-renowned artist and recent finalist for Australia’s prestigious Archibald Prize. We have worked together for over a decade, so it is a great honor to be able to share so much of her incredible artwork in one exhibition, made even more special by the fact that Strange Country, Strange Times is Hattam’s first U.S. solo exhibit at Morton Fine Art and first ever solo exhibition in the U.S.

Hattam’s work is unmistakable. Brightly shaded walls and windows, collaged book spines and iconographic depictions of native Australian fauna and flora make up much of her painterly practice – a lifelong investigation with the domestic interior as its focus. She incorporates literary and art-historical elements, focusing on materialist explorations of ultimately psychic space. Acknowledging a centuries-long preoccupation with domestic space as both the imaginative location and societal bounds of female artistic production, Hattam conjures doubly imbued sites of domestic labor and imaginative longing, full of totemic kitchen tables and charged dining-room chairs. Although uniquely Australian, Hattam’s canon inspires and relates within a global feminist dialogue.

A Strange Country, 2022, 49 x 60.5 in. – Mixed media on linen
Perhaps, 2022, 21.5 x 25.5 in – Mixed media on linen

Artist Statement – by Katherine Hattam:

A painter and printmaker, my practice encompasses works on paper, collages and straightforward oil on linen. Since my mother—a great reader—died, I began to often incorporate books into my work, repurposing them to make a grid as the support in my paper or linen pieces.

The genesis of this exhibition, Strange Country, Strange Times, was the time of Covid and lockdowns. I created six new works during this period, stretching from 2020 to 2021. As an artist with my studio out the back of my house, I was fortunate in being able to work from my studio and—more than that—to revel in the time lockdowns opened up.

I found myself reflecting on the physical and geographic nature of my country, the islandness of Australia. Initially, this relative isolation protected us against the spread of the virus, but not for long. Nevertheless, it did make very clear what a strange island and what strange times that period was and is.

My Blue Pantheon, 2022, 30 x 23 in. – Oil on line
Love From, 2022, 11 x 13 in. – Mixed media on linen
Women’s Estate, 2022, 29 x 19 in. – Mixed media on linen
This Strange Island, 2022, 31 x 23 in. – Mixed media on linen

Strange Country, Strange Times will be on view through December 20, 2022 at Morton’s Washington, D.C. space.

Check out our coverage of other current and recent art exhibitions

All images courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist

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Available artwork by KATHERINE HATTAM

KATHERINE HATTAM | See Great Art

3 Dec

ART IN THE NORTHEAST FEMALE ARTISTS

Katherine Hattam first solo U.S. exhibition comes to D.C.

BY CHADD SCOTT POSTED ON 0 COMMENTS

Katherine Hattam, This Strange Island, 2022. 16.5 x 12 in. Mixed media on linen Courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist.
Katherine Hattam, This Strange Island, 2022. 16.5 x 12 in. Mixed media on linen Courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist.

Morton Fine Art is presents “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.

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.

In 2019, Hattam received a fellowship grant to study at the Australian Print Workshop undermaster 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 inserted 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?

About the Artist

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.

Morton Fine Art

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 KATHERINE HATTAM

KATHERINE HATTAM | Surface Magazine

1 Dec

WHEN

November 16, 2022 – December 20, 2022 Morton Fine Art: 52 O St NW #302, Washington, DC 20001

Brightly shaded walls and windows, collaged book spines, and iconographic depictions of Australian fauna and flora make up much of Hattam’s painterly practice, a lifelong investigation of the domestic interior. Here, she reflects on psychic space at the hands of the pandemic’s seeping isolation through vivid jigsaw woodcut printing, a technique of Classical Japanese art that was later adopted by Edvard Munch and Paul Gaugin. Inserted regularly throughout the works are motifs of Hokusai’s Great Wave Off Kanagawa, representing a mentality of time—waves of feminism, waves of coronavirus—that embraces natural rhythms based on a sense of tidal flow. 

KATHERINE HATTAM | Strange Country, Strange Times | Art Plugged

15 Nov

Katherine Hattam: Strange Country, Strange Times

Exhibitions

Katherine Hattam The Great American Novel, 2022

Katherine Hattam
November 16 – December 20, 2022
Morton Fine Art’s
52 O St NW #302
Washington, DC 20001

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
The Great American Novel, 2022
Katherine Hattam
The Great American Novel, 2022 12 x 17 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.

Katherine Hattam - My Blue Pantheon, 2022
Katherine Hattam My Blue Pantheon, 2022
30 x 23 in.  Oil on linen
Courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist

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
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.

Learn more about Katherine Hattam

©2022 Katherine Hattam

Art plugged

Art Plugged is a contemporary platform, inspired by our relationship with the broader arts communities, and our passion for showcasing great work.

NATALIE CHEUNG Interviewed | PetaPixel | Camera-Less Photography

26 Oct

Camera-Less Photographer Creates Beautifully Abstract Cyanotypes

 OCT 25, 2022

 SONYA HARRIS

Abstract ocean waves blue and white Cyanotype image
57 Hours, 2022 (detail). Cyanotype photogram on paper. Courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist

In a unique blending of mediums, the works of artist Natalie Cheung invite viewers into a myriad of captured ‘experiences through time and movement’ set onto the surface of photosensitive paper and microplastic sculptures.

With pictures reminiscent of Rorschach tests, Cheung’s captivating ‘camera-less’ photo series Made Of Light, leaves onlookers beguiled yet intrigued by the artist’s map-like aesthetics.

Cheung’s work is influenced by the natural world, as well as created by light, duration, and the chemistry of making a photographic print. Made of Light manages to adeptly pay homage while utilizing the cyanotype technique.

Cyanotype image blue and white (abstract)

“Cyanotype is the earliest form of photography;[…] it’s the same process from which early architectural blueprints were made.” Cheung continues, “One of the bodies of work featured in Made of Light […] is Intermediaries. In Intermediaries, evaporation is my subject. The mappings contemplate the incremental transformations our planet is facing as climate change progresses. It is predicted that warming temperatures around the world will cause coastal areas to become dramatically wetter and inland regions drier. The title of each work indicates the hours in which water took to evaporate completely, and what remains is a blueprint of evaporation. The titles in hours are an homage to the ticking clock (literal and figuratively) we have on our planet to reduce emissions and stave off the point of no return for climate change.” Cheung says, speaking to PetaPixel

Cyanotype sepia and dark beige and brown
Untitled 1, 2021. Silver gelatin chemigram on photo paper. (From the series Facsimile). Courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist

Cheung hails from a mixed-medium background. At 10 years old, she received an in-box 35mm Minolta film camera from her uncle and fell in love with the discipline then and there. She progressed as an avid film user, favoriting Hasselblad, and Rolleiflex and picking up inspiration from album art from bands such as the Pixies. Particularly, their Doolittle album art.

“The photographs in that album were so textural, rusty, and abandoned. So while other kids in my class were taking pictures of their friends and normal stuff teenagers would take pictures of, I was taking pictures of human teeth in crusty backdrops,” she says.

While studying film photography during the height of the “digital revolution,” and as traditional photography began to gravitate towards pixels, Cheung chose to dabble in the creation of new works in the darkroom without the aid of film images.

Teal and violet image, can see houses in the distance
Intersections of Light #060, 2022. Color pinhole photograph. Courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist

“When the digital revolution in the photo world took over a few years into my career, I started to think a lot about the essence of the medium: documenting a moment in time with light. I questioned why darkroom photographic processes were still relevant and how I could continue to use them in a contemporary context without my work looking like it was clinging to antiquated romanticism. This is the central idea behind all my work.” Cheung says.

She stuck with the basics, that being Crynotype, and fully committed to a cameraless approach to her images.

“The inspiration for my cameraless photography has shifted over the years. Everybody of work looks very different from the last; even what the artwork is about changes. But the artwork always remains connected by the importance of the process woven into the concept and by the random element of chance that is involved,” She says.

Abstract pink and white cyanotype image with red lines
Intersections of Light #033, 2022. Color pinhole photograph. Courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist

The conceptualization of her process is almost as abstract as the results of her works. In a controlled environment, Cheung uses slow-reacting cyanotype to yield inky-like images with intriguing shapes, textures, and patterns. While some images resemble a kind of cartography complete with river deltas and signs of erosion, others simply invoke the calm and contemplative, aggressive or panicked ‘mood’ of the artist.

“I think about my process like controlled experiments: there are control elements and there are factors I can play with to create a little chaos. I never know what’s going to happen exactly. Sometimes the artwork is a dud and sometimes it’s wonderful and that is very exciting,” Cheung says.

Sepia colored Abstract image, with lighter and dark blots and waves
Silver gelatin chemigram on photo paper. (From the series Facsimile). Courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist

The artist allows her mixtures to evaporate naturally, a process that mimics while subtly commenting on the steady passing of time and loss of water that defines humanity’s relationship with the climate crisis. The results are a brilliant merging of mediums, artistry, and social commentary.

“I’m always excited to see the outcome of an artwork. My work is not predictable: you can set everything up, but the image could be a dud…and there are a lot of duds. So when one turns out great, it’s magic. The process is so technical and labor-intensive that anything could go wrong during processing, so I feel super protective about the artwork until it’s dried and stored.”

Natalie Cheung , with long dark brown hair and glasses and polka-dot shirt
Courtesy Natalie Cheung

‘Cameraless photography’ has afforded Cheung an unconventional yet intriguing kind of set-up and work space,

“I don’t use much equipment at all! I use jumbo darkroom trays, chemicals, light, lots of nitrile gloves, and Ilford paper. I keep tagging Ilford in my Instagram posts but have never gotten a nod. I’m sure they are horrified at what I am doing with their product.”

cyanotype image with cloud and water like abstract imagery
57 Hours, 2022. Cyanotype photogram on paper. Courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist

Without the traditional nuances of digital, it’s tempting to view Cheung’s process and setup as a simplistic form of photography, however life in a darkroom consistently has proven challenging at times for the D.C based artist,

“Everything is a challenge! I like to make large artwork and I’m small, so from cutting giant heavy rolls of paper to backbreaking processing & archival washing to figuring out who is going to help me move a 7-foot framed artwork, it’s all challenging in different ways. I use these huge trays in the darkroom and even moving one of those around, I think I did something weird and tweaked my shoulder once. Another time the darkroom suddenly had no water pressure…that was fun, to say the least. At the end of the day, I personally need to make this artwork and it’s well worth all the hurdles…and I move my trays carefully now.”

Feedback for Cheung’s works has both challenged and amused the camera-less photographer,

blue and white abstract and looks like clouds over a big blue ocean
67 Hours, 2018. Cyanotype photogram on paper. (From the series Intermediaries). Courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist

“If you’re an artist then you know there’s wildly varying feedback. Of course, I love the complimentary stuff, but I value critical, well-thought-out comments the most. Sometimes the most valuable comments come from the most unlikely people. I also secretly enjoy the weird comments like: “This reminds me of the time I spilled laundry detergent” or “I am confused but interested in this”. It’s like reading internet comments. I know it’s wrong to be so entertained, but I am!

Currently, Cheung is focusing on the Made of Light exhibition at Morton Fine Art, and is busy dreaming of future collaborations with artist Marimekko, or at least “a scientist with a powerful microscope.” In the future, she is staying committed to trying different mediums and assessing the fruits of her labors.

“I recently got into large-scale artworks and I’m kind of in love, so I am going to continue exploring scale. I also started making my reclaim (model islands) sculptures, so I want to see where I can go with those. It baffles even me, how after decades of strictly being a photographer, I just sat down and started carving out a sculpture.”

Abstract Cyanotype teal and orange and yellow image
Intersections of Light #008, 2022. Color pinhole photograph. Courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist

For more from Cheung, make sure to visit her Website and Instagram


Image credits: All photographs courtesy Natalie Cheung

Available Artwork by NATALIE CHEUNG

AMY MORTON | Morton Fine Art | Voyage Baltimore

20 Oct

LOCAL STORIES

Community Highlights: Meet Amy Morton of Morton Fine Art

Avatar photo

LOCAL STORIES

Today we’d like to introduce you to Amy Morton.

Hi Amy, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I come from a line of (underrecognized) women artists on both sides of my family and felt strongly rooted in a creative life from an early age. I majored in art history at Occidental College in Los Angeles and also studied anthropology and studio art. Although I loved having a studio practice, I felt my greater calling was toward advocacy for original voices and exceptional creations by other artists. I founded Morton Fine Art in 2010 and launched *a pop-up project, Morton Fine Art’s trade name, which was a mobile gallery model. After my debut exhibition in DC, I quickly understood I needed to establish a permanent gallery space, also in 2010, and have been exhibiting national and international artists here ever since.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
I don’t think many creative professions have a lasting smooth road, in fact a career in the arts typically ebbs and flows and has patches of uncertainty. As a gallerist, I have had to innovate continuously to ensure my business is thriving and surviving. I have a flexible mindset so when something isn’t working optimally, I am not fearful of switching things up in hopes of opening new paths for success. Many of the struggles include activating a collector base during times of collective uncertainty and fear, whether it be financial market troubles or a global pandemic.

As you know, we’re big fans of Morton Fine Art. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
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 founded the trademark *a pop-up project in 2010. *a pop-up project is MFA’s mobile gallery component which hosts temporary curated exhibitions nationally.

How can people work with you, collaborate with you or support you?
I currently work with 28 global artist-partners from the U.S., Puerto Rico, Mozambique, Nigeria, Ethiopia, South African, Kenya, Japan, China, Australia, Germany and Trinidad and Tobago. Many of us have worked together for a decade or more with some new partnerships which were formed during the early days of the pandemic. Feeling connected with so many tremendous artists globally makes for inspiring collaboration, growth and continuous learning. We are grateful to have the support of other artists, collectors and art enthusiasts who value the programming and vision we are putting forward at Morton Fine Art.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Photo credit: Jarrett Hendrix and Morton Fine Art

NATALIE CHEUNG | MADE OF LIGHT | Alternative Process Photography

5 Oct
Natalie Cheung, Intermediaries : 57 Hours, 2022, 42″x80″, cyanotype on paper

Morton Fine Art is pleased to announce Made of Light, a solo exhibition of alternative process photography and sculpture by the artist Natalie Cheung. Utilizing time, gesture and much technical expertise, the artist captures lived experience directly onto the surface of her photosensitive paper and microplastic sculptures. Cheung’s second solo exhibition with the gallery, Made of Light will be on view from October 15 to November 12, 2022.

A formally-trained photographer, D.C.-based artist Natalie Cheung no longer owns a camera. Having studied film photography during the advent of the medium’s “digital revolution,” Cheung’s education was heavily centered on the influences of light, duration and the chemistry of making a photographic print. As traditional photography began to increasingly rely on the pixel, Cheung continued to explore these elements in the darkroom without the aid of film images. What resulted was a microhistory of artistic development, her dive into abstraction mirroring the revolt against mimesis undertaken by painters in the late 19th century – ironically, in response to photography’s initial ascent at that time.


 

Natalie Cheung, Facsimile : Untitled 4, 2021, 42″x84″, silver gelatin chemigram on photo paper

Appropriately, then, Cheung’s experimental photography takes on a playful relationship with art history itself. In the artist’s “Facsimile” series, Cheung intuitively plays with light, chemical emulsion and photographic paper to create colors and shapes that pay homage to art history’s previous regimes. From the nautical wash of a Turner landscape to the relaxed staining of Helen Frankenthaler’s abstractions, Cheung’s free-associative style inclusively riffs on prior forms, indebted to her realization that no shape or configuration can ever be truly original. The humility of homage in Cheung’s work is balanced in turn by her technical mastery; her developmental ingenuity is so acute that she is able to translate impulse, memory and reference onto photosensitive paper with the subtlest of gestures. 


With this process itself having become second nature, Cheung’s predilections as an artist and preoccupations as a citizen are able to make their way transparently into her work. In the artist’s “Intermediaries” series, Cheung uses slow-reacting cyanotype to create abstract works that seem to map islands, river deltas or erosion itself. In a process that can take up to several days, the artist allows her chemistry to evaporate naturally, in a manner indicative of the slow creep of time and loss of water that defines humanity’s relationship with climate catastrophe. Taking up the same process as was historically used to make blueprints, Cheung’s Intermediary works are like designs for a future of ceded control, capturing the chaos of durations we are not accustomed to monitoring. Concern for the climate also comes out in the artist’s “Reclaim” sculptures – topographic models of islands constructed from nylon flocking, a non-recyclable form of compressed microplastic. Inspired by man-made landmasses such as Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah or even the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, Cheung’s works hang in lucite display cases like real estate offerings: a scathing reminder that no man is an island. 

Natalie Cheung, Reclaim : Model Islands (series of 6), 2021, 16″x16″/each, micro nylon fiber, paper, paint & plaster


Born in Virginia to a first-generation Chinese family, a formative artistic influence for Cheung was her mother’s practice of intricate chuāng huā papercuts, made on sheets of printer paper in honor of the Lunar New Year. Incorporating another form of alternative process photography, Cheung’s “Rock. Paper. Scissors.” series places these designs against a darkroom projector, blowing them up to monumental reliefs captured on photographic sheets. The resulting works carry the grandiosity and simplicity of Barnett Newman’s abstractions, though they are weighted with the significance of Cheung’s history and heritage. Open to the element of chance as she lets light slip in between the slivers of these shapes, such works are a synthesis of the artist’s great themes: balancing inevitability and accident in a delicate dance. 

Artist Natalie Cheung with her Rock Paper Scissors Series


Natalie Cheung (b. Falls Church, Virginia) received her MFA in Photography from Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia and her BFA in Photography from the Corcoran College of Art + Design in Washington, DC. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally; she has been profiled in Washington Spaces Magazine and has had work represented in numerous collections including the Museum of Fine Art, Houston and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. Cheung currently teaches at the George Washington University and has previously taught at the Corcoran College of Art + Design and Temple University, Tyler School of Art. She has been represented by Morton Fine Art since 2014.

Available Artwork by NATALIE CHEUNG

On view by appointment at Morton Fine Art, 52 O St NW #302, Washington, DC 20001

info@mortonfineart.com, http://www.mortonfineart.com, (202) 628-2787 (call or text)

KESHA BRUCE | Take Me to the Water in East City Art

18 Sep
Kesha Bruce, Memory of Matala, 2022, 60″x48″, mixed media textile collage on canvas

About Take Me to the Water

Morton Fine Art is pleased to announce Take Me to the Water, a solo exhibition of mixed-media paintings by 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, DC space.

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. 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.

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

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 founded the trademark *a pop-up project in 2010. *a pop-up project is MFA’s mobile gallery component which hosts temporary curated exhibitions nationally.

Gallery hours: By appointment only.

Morton Fine Art is located at 52 O St NW #302.

Available Artwork by KESHA BRUCE

LIZETTE CHIRRIME reviewed in The Washington Post

6 May

Lizette Chirrime

Review by Mark Jenkins

Today at 6:00 a.m. EDT

“Somewhere on Earth” by Lizette Chirrime. (Lizette Chirrime and Morton Fine Art)

Mozambican artist Lizette Chirrime makes art by stitching together scraps of secondhand fabric and other found materials. Although this sort of patchwork is usually considered humble, Chirrime’s themes are heroic and even cosmic. Among the pieces in her Morton Fine Art show, “Rituals for Souls Search,” is “Somewhere on Earth,” in which textile strips coalesce into a sort of globe. Most of the narrow ribbons flow from one side of the tapestry to the other, but the ones that approach the circle bend into an orbit as if warped by a black hole’s pull.

More typical of Chirrime’s compositions are those that center on human figures, in two cases identified as single mothers. One of the solitary matriarchs is positioned above a photo of a woman’s face and outlined in multiple series of roughly parallel red stitches. Equally expressive is “The Boy Who Stopped the Snake,” in which the child who clutches a brown serpent is a silhouette of hot-colored tatters against a backdrop of blues and greens.

The poses in these tableaux are meant to be celebratory, and reflect the artist’s overcoming her traumatic childhood. “I literally ‘restitched’ myself together,” explains her statement. The use of castoff materials is an ecological statement and the imagery is often spiritual, but the essence of Chirrime’s art is autobiographical.

Lizette Chirrime: Rituals for Souls Search Through May 17 at Morton Fine Art, 52 O St. NW, No. 302. Open by appointment.

Available Artwork by LIZETTE CHIRRIME

New Arrivals | Sculpted Paintings by JENNY WU

16 Apr

Jenny Wu transforms liquid paint into sculpture built from layers of latex paint poured on glass, color over color, to form a thick cake-like aggregate. Once dried, the material is cut into small brick-like forms and assembled in vibrant patterns on a flat surface, revealing in cross-section the varied strata of paint from the pouring and layering process. Like geological formations, Wu’s method of building up paint is dependent on time, repetition and chance with her resulting objects uniting chaos and order into a systematic imagery that blurs the boundaries between painting and sculpture.

Jenny Wu
2+ Year Long Middle School Dodgeball Game, 2022
latex paint and resin on wood panel
20 x 10 x 2.50 in
Jenny Wu
Adults Were Not Okay, 2021
latex paint and resin on wood panel
20 x 16 x 2.50 in

Jenny Wu
Meaningful Access, 2020
latex paint and resin on wood panel
20 x 16 x 2.50 in

Jenny Wu
Carefully Editing An Email Response, 2021
latex paint and resin on wood panel
24 x 18 x 2.50 in

Jenny Wu
Hardly A Mandate, 2021
latex paint and resin on wood panel
20 x 16 x 2.50 in

Jenny Wu
Have Always Existed and Will Always Exist, 2022
latex paint and resin on wood panel
36 x 24 x 2.50 in

Jenny Wu
Letting Referees Openly Bet On Games, 2021
latex paint and resin on wood panel
36 x 24 x 2.50 in

Jenny Wu
Live In #DontLookUp, 2022
latex paint and resin on wood panel
18 x 18 x 2.50 in

Jenny Wu
Too Heavy to Carry to the British Museum, 2022
latex paint and resin on wood panel
20 x 16 x 2.50 in

Jenny Wu
Got Scared & Bought It, 2021
latex paint and resin on wood panel
20 x 20 x 2.50 in

About the Artist:

Jenny Wu was born in Nanjing, China. She holds a B.A. from William Smith College in Studio Art as well as in Architectural Studies, and an M.F.A. in Studio Art from American University. Her work has been exhibited in galleries and museums including Denise Bibro Fine Art, Katzen Museum, Huntington Museum of Art, Reece Museum, Vilnius Academy of Arts in Lithuania, and CICA Museum in South Korea. Wu has participated in numerous Artist-In-Residence programs across the country; and has been awarded fellowships from Vermont Studio Center and the Pollock Krasner Foundation. She has been represented by Morton Fine Art since 2021.

Available artwork by JENNY WU.