Tag Archives: washington dc

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.

ROSEMARY FEIT COVEY’S solo exhibition “DESCARTES DIED IN THE SNOW” at Morton Fine Art

3 Mar

ARTIST ROSEMARY FEIT COVEY VISUALIZES LOSS AND REBIRTH IN THE AGE OF THE ANTHROPOCENE

Responsive to the rise in global climate disasters, Rosemary Feit Covey’s speculative works solemnly imagine the landscapes of the future

Morton Fine Art (52 O St NW #302, Washington, DC) is pleased to present Descartes Died in the Snow, a solo exhibition showcasing work by Washington, D.C.-based artist Rosemary Feit Covey, on view from March 3–March 31, 2022. Marking both the debut of new work and the reactivation of older works, the exhibition uncovers new dimensions within the artist’s vast oeuvre. Taken as a whole, this collection of work illuminates the fragility of life on our embattled planet, recognizing the catastrophic ecological losses that mark our current era while turning a hopeful eye towards altogether new horizons.

Covey’s current focus on environmental concerns is informed by 20 years of collaborations with scientists, during which biology, ecology, and mortality have remained steady themes of the artist’s practice. The past three decades have seen the artist rise as an established wood engraver, followed in recent years by an expansion towards mediums including experimental printmaking and mixed media. From the replication of the printmaking process to the carving of the printing block, Covey’s works attend to personal analogies of physical and emotional fortitude; through the manipulation of absence and presence, lightness and darkness, the artist evokes a darker psychological sensibility within complex figural representations.

While maintaining the artist’s long-standing engagement with psychologically challenging—and oftentimes troubling—subject matter, the diversification of Covey’s mediums highlights the artist’s continued innovation in the arenas of both technique and narrative. In a titular nod to the life and work of 17th century philosopher René Descartes, Descartes Died in the Snow reflects Covey’s own artistic philosophy, that of art-as-exploration. In admiration of Descartes’ unfettered curiosity and his resulting great lengths of inquiry, Covey draws parallels with the experimental potential of artistic practice. “We artists can apply logic and intellectual research, then throw it all to the winds, allowing for alchemy and the unconscious to cross-pollinate with the natural sciences as we create,” Covey says.

Moved by recent climate disaster scenarios in South Africa—the country of her birth—Covey’s most recent work responds to the fleeting nature of news cycles and the failure of journalistic channels to manifest sustained public awareness of such crucial issues. Having witnessed this subject matter quickly fall from the front pages, Covey understands her work to serve as an enduring reminder of environmental crises within a global consciousness. Of this profound responsibility as an artist in the present moment, Covey affirms, “In this manner, I am committed to using my skills to portray this delicate balance as we reach a precipice.”

Through delicate lines that comprise masterful compositions, Covey’s work operates at the intersections of beauty and terror, depicting melancholy aesthetics of mourning. From a mass of opalescent strokes, Covey’s Broken Earth (2020) pictures a heap of carcesses, inspired by Covey’s horror of an imagined parched earth. Elsewhere, blooms of pigment suggest oil spills, and falling petals hint at impending decay. Through a push and pull, characterized by sensorial enticement segueing into gripping existential inquiry, the artist’s foreboding imagery unmasks that which is hidden in plain sight.

While often ominous, Covey’s practice nevertheless evades nihilism; through the elevation of phenomena such as fungal networks, the artist’s work also finds its purpose in illuminating the structures which sustain the planet. Resulting from Covey’s partnerships with mycologists, Amethyst Deceivers (2019) depicts the symbiotic relationships between plant and fungal life, relationships that exude restorative potential amidst times of destruction. Through the artist’s lens, Covey’s audience is issued solemn warnings of a speculative future, yet the possibilities for healing are never voided—viewers need only look closer to find them.

Rosemary Feit Covey, Blossoms Fall II, 2022, 54″x42″, wood engraving, painting and repurposed plastic on canvas
Rosemary Feit Covey, Black Umbrella, 2021, 36″x36″, mixed media, printmaking, painting and magnets on canvas
Rosemary Feit Covey, Black Ice (8 panels), 2017, 72″x240″, wood engraving, acrylic paint, and repurposed plastic on canvas
Rosemary Feit Covey, Panspermia III, 2022, 60″x48″, wood engraving, experimental printmaking and mixed media on canvas

ABOUT ROSEMARY FEIT COVEY

Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Rosemary Feit Covey received degrees from Cornell University and the Maryland Institute College of Art, eventually relocating to Washington, D.C., where she currently lives and works. Covey has been represented by Morton Fine Art since 2010.

Covey has exhibited widely throughout the United States and abroad, including group exhibitions at the National Collection of Fine Arts and the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Solo exhibitions of her work have been staged at The Butler Institute of American Art; The Delaware Contemporary; the International Museum of Surgical Science; and the Evergreen Museum at Johns Hopkins University. Works by the artist are held in more than forty major museum and library collections worldwide, including the Corcoran Gallery of Art; New York Public Library Print Collection; National Museum of American History; Harvard University; and the Papyrus Institute in Cairo, Egypt.

Across various mediums, Covey has been commissioned by General Electric Astro Space, the National Institute of Science, Georgetown University, the New York Times, and the Washington Post, among other institutions and organizations. Covey’s literary illustrations have been commissioned and published by Simon & Schuster and William Morrow. She is the recipient of a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship and Alpha Delta Kappa Foundation National Fine Art Award, and was the 2007–2008 Artist-in-Residence at Georgetown University Medical Center.

Available artwork by ROSEMARY FEIT COVEY

OSI AUDU’s solo exhibition “A Sense of Self”

13 Dec
Osi Audu’s latest exhibition investigates notions of the self beyond  the materiality that defines our existence
Visit our Website
Self Portrait after Dogon Bird Mask, 2017-2021, 54″x72″, pastel and graphite on paper mounted on canvas

A Sense of Self
A solo exhibition of new drawings, paintings and sculpture by OSI AUDU
December 8th, 2021 – January 5th, 2022


Contact the gallery for viewing by appointment, price list, additional information and acquisition. Complimentary catalogs available upon request.

(202) 628-2787 (call or text) info@mortonfineart.com

Available Artwork by OSI AUDU
Self-Portrait after Head of Pangwe Figure, 2018, 22″x31″, acrylic on canvas
About A Sense of Self
Morton Fine Art is proud to present A Sense of Self, a solo exhibition of new works by Nigerian multimedia artist Osi Audu; on view from December 8, 2021 – January 5, 2022.
Working across drawing, painting and sculpture, Audu considers notions of internal and external dualities, most distinctively, the Yoruba sense of “outer and inner head.” The works–geometric abstractions made alive with vibrant shades of blue, red, green, yellow and black, reflect Audu’s celebration of color as a manifestation of interior human essence. Each of the pieces in A Sense of Self are presented as self-portraits, which Audu articulates to be “the portraits of the intangible self.”
Self Portrait II, 2021, 22″x31″, pastel and graphite on paper mounted on canvas
In conversation with classical African aesthetics, Audu’s works examine the human head as an axis of material and subliminal consciousness. In this sense, the artist captures what exists prior to and beyond embodiment, the self outside of matter. Though many of his pieces are rich in color, at their core, each one is a rumination on blackness—that which is imperceivable by the human eye. In works reminiscent of scientific illustrations, Audu gives image to internal expressions of the self, investigating the mechanisms and shapes of the human spirit.
Self Portrait after Head of a Benin Queen Mother, 2021, 26″x14″x10.5″, painted steel
As studies of visceral perception, Audu’s portraits ask questions such as, what might the intangible self look like after donning a Dogon bird mask; or after wearing an Efik headdress? His answer to the former is: four sharp rectangular shapes, with a free-form waved appendage; to the latter: a gently coiled form, with two flat surfaces. To Audu, these questions are neither anomalous nor incidental. Instead, they are essential vehicles for investigating what is nestled between the layers of the mind, body and personal identity that we each understand ourselves to have.  A Sense of Self provides a deeply personal visual language for examining the complex structures of being. At once dynamic and uncomplicated, these works leave the audience with questions about themselves.
Self Portrait after an Efik Headdress, 2021, 22″x31″, pastel and graphite on paper mounted on canvas
Self Portrait with Yoruba Hairstyle, 2021, 22″x31″, pastel and graphite on paper mounted on canvas
Available artwork by OSI AUDU
About OSI AUDU
OSI AUDU received a B.A. in Fine Art with First Class Honors from the University of Ife, Ile-Ife, Nigeria, and an M.F.A. in Painting and Drawing from the University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, USA. He has been exhibited at, and collected by, public Institutions including the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C., The Newark Museum in Newark, New Jersey, USA, The British Museum and the Horniman Museum, both in London, and the Wellcome Trust Gallery in London. Audu’s work has also been exhibited at the Tobu Museum and Setagaya Museum, both in Japan, the Liverpool Museum in England, the Science Museum in London; and acquired for corporate collections including Microsoft Art Collection, Sony Classical New York and the Schmidt Bank in Germany.
Audu has been represented by Morton Fine Art in Washington, D.C. since 2012.
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. Mask required.

Morton Fine Art
52 O St NW #302
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 628-2787
info@mortonfineart.com
www.mortonfineart.com

MICHAEL ANDREW BOOKER’s solo exhibition “Veil” at Morton Fine Art

15 Nov

Video credit: Jarrett Hendrix

Morton Fine Art (52 O Street NW #302, Washington, DC) is pleased to present Veil, a solo presentation of new works on paper by artist Michael Booker, on view from November 6 – December 4, 2021.

Rendered on paper and Yupo, Booker’s latest body of work depicts surreal scenes evocative of the artist’s psychological journey through tumult and towards inner peace. In Booker’s compositions, portraits are partially shielded by swaths of color, and views are intercepted by lush organic forms. Joining geometric designs with figuration, Booker’s large-scale drawings are rich in dynamism and detail, the artist acting as a conductor of a broad symphony of colors and tones. Owing to the drawing practice itself as a healing mechanism, Veil documents the emotional terrains crossed by the artist amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and concurrent instances of social injustice. The exhibition’s title gestures towards the strategies of emotional self-protection harnessed by the artist during periods of vulnerability and contemplation, barriers made visible in the layered effects captured by the drawings themselves.

Despite the complexity of Booker’s compositions, each line and brushstroke remains visible, the artist using a wide range of materials and instruments, including fine liner pen, colored pencil, watercolor, and alcohol ink. Booker’s mastery of his tools is evidenced by his ability to create dense fields of light, shadow, and texture through the careful application of fine lines, resulting in superimposed tableaus reminiscent of collage or digital manipulation. Reverberating with the work’s themes, the meticulous process by which such depth and emotion is rendered echoes the strained experiences of self-reflection, growth, and reconciliation experienced by the artist during the course of these drawings’ creations.

“This exhibition chronicles a personal and emotional journey caused by the effects of a prolonged pandemic and moments of social injustice,” said artist Michael Booker. “Volatile social interactions became commonplace in both media and amongst friends. Over time, a realization of resiliency set in, as these drawings became a form of cathartic therapy to search for a nuanced visual reflection of the turmoil that lingered within.”

Though invested with fraught emotions, the cohesion and harmony of the resulting works ultimately foreground hope and optimism. Capturing individuals immersed in solitary contemplation as well as in embrace, Booker’s drawings suggest resilience and reconciliation amidst societal and interpersonal volatility, demonstrating a multiplicity of pathways toward new light.

Available Artwork by MICHAEL ANDREW BOOKER

MICHAEL ANDREW BOOKER speaks to his drawings in his solo exhibition “Veil” at Morton Fine Art

13 Nov

Video credit: Jarrett Hendrix

Morton Fine Art (52 O Street NW #302, Washington, DC) is pleased to present “Veil”, a solo presentation of new works on paper by artist Michael Booker, on view from November 6 – December 4, 2021.

Rendered on paper and Yupo, Booker’s latest body of work depicts surreal scenes evocative of the artist’s psychological journey through tumult and towards inner peace. In Booker’s compositions, portraits are partially shielded by swaths of color, and views are intercepted by lush organic forms. Joining geometric designs with figuration, Booker’s large-scale drawings are rich in dynamism and detail, the artist acting as a conductor of a broad symphony of colors and tones. Owing to the drawing practice itself as a healing mechanism, Veil documents the emotional terrains crossed by the artist amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and concurrent instances of social injustice. The exhibition’s title gestures towards the strategies of emotional self-protection harnessed by the artist during periods of vulnerability and contemplation, barriers made visible in the layered effects captured by the drawings themselves.

Available Artwork by MICHAEL ANDREW BOOKER

MICHAEL BOOKER in Create! Magazine

8 Nov

Create! Mag is pleased to share the announcement of Veil, a solo presentation of new works on paper by artist Michael Booker, on view from November 6 – December 4, 2021, at Morton Fine Art. Rendered on paper and Yupo, Booker’s latest body of work depicts surreal scenes evocative of the artist’s psychological journey through tumult and towards inner peace.

In Booker’s compositions, portraits are partially shielded by swaths of color, and views are intercepted by lush organic forms. Joining geometric designs with figuration, Booker’s large-scale drawings are rich in dynamism and detail, the artist acting as a conductor of a broad symphony of colors and tones. Owing to the drawing practice itself as a healing mechanism, Veil documents the emotional terrains crossed by the artist amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and concurrent instances of social injustice. The exhibition’s title gestures towards the strategies of emotional self-protection harnessed by the artist during periods of vulnerability and contemplation, barriers made visible in the layered effects captured by the drawings themselves.

Michael Booker, I Need a Forest Fire, 2021, 35.5″x35.5″, Fineliner pen, color pencil, watercolor and alcohol ink on paper and Yupo, Courtesy of the artist and Morton Fine Art
Michael Booker, Unwritten, 2020, 34″x25″, Fineliner pen, watercolor and doily on paper and Yupo, Courtesy the artist and Morton Fine Art

Michael Booker is a mixed media artist originally from Jackson, Mississippi who currently resides in Maryland. He received his BFA in Studio Art – Painting from Mississippi State University in 2008, and received his MFA in Studio Art from University of Maryland in 2012. He has exhibited in various galleries across Mississippi, Alabama, North Carolina, Maine, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC. His work has been acquired by the David C. Driskell Center in College Park, MD. He is an Assistant Professor of Art at Montgomery College Takoma Park/Silver Spring. Booker has been represented by Morton Fine Art in Washington, DC since 2019.

Headshot of the artist, Courtesy the artist and Morton Fine Art

Alicia Puig

Available Artwork by Michael Booker.

VONN CUMMINGS SUMNER featured in East City Art

5 Oct

MORTON FINE ART PRESENTS VONN CUMMINGS SUMNER KRAZY TIMES

By Editorial Team on October 4, 2021

Vonn Cummings Sumner, Krazy Times, 2021, 24″x24″, oil paint on panel.
On View: October 9 – November 3

Vonn Cummings Sumner’s contemporary depictions of Krazy Kat’s titular character build upon the comic strip’s longstanding influence on the art world at large.

Available Artwork by VONN CUMMINGS SUMNER

About Krazy Times
Morton Fine Art is pleased to present Krazy Times, a solo exhibition of new paintings and watercolors by artist Vonn Cummings Sumner, on view from October 9–November 3, 2021. Reflecting the artist’s longstanding interest in the career of famed American cartoonist George Herriman, Sumner’s recent works render the eponymous protagonist of Herriman’s Krazy Kat comic strip in settings and circumstances evocative of contemporary life.

Sumner was first introduced to Krazy Kat while under the tutelage of painter Wayne Thiebaud, whose love of Krazy Kat was shared by peers such as Philip Guston and Willem de Kooning. Appearing in newsprint from 1913 to 1944, Krazy Kat remains a keystone in the history of American cartooning, memorialized in part by the works of those it influenced. In the present decade, Krazy Kat has long since ceased publication; yet, the reinvigoration of its visual vocabulary by Sumner highlights its utility as a vehicle for investigating 21st-century themes.

Drawing from the original comic strip’s mediations on humanity—previously executed through tragic humor in a series of panels—Sumner depicts the titular character of Krazy Kat being followed by ghosts, peering at balloons floating just out of reach, and gazing at his reflection in a cerulean blue oasis, among other narratives collapsed into a singular image. Rendered in oil on panel as well as ink, gouache and pencil on paper, Sumner removes Krazy Kat from the landscapes of the comic strip, instead presenting such encounters in fields of seemingly endless white. In this sort of alternative dreamscape devoid of horizons, Sumner enables Krazy Kat to act as a projection of the artist or the viewer, embodying allegorical scenarios akin to lived experiences.

Partly created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sumner describes Krazy Kat as an “empathetic effigy” for processing a moment of great global change and loss. Sumner asks, “What do you paint when reality seems to be an absurd satire of itself?” Naturally, the answer is Krazy Kat, upon whom Sumner bestows new life. Bringing forth Krazy Kat’s curiosity and innocence, Sumner intertwines existential feelings with an earnest playfulness, producing accessible avenues into thoughtful contemplation. While the contemporary moment warrants heaviness, Sumner’s Krazy Kat paintings offer welcome reminders of optimism, inspiring joy in the face of Herculean challenges.

About VONN CUMMINGS SUMNER
Vonn Cummings Sumner grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, and attended the University of California, Davis, where he studied closely with the celebrated painter and teacher, Wayne Thiebaud, among others. Vonn has exhibited nationally and internationally since 1998, and his work has been featured or reviewed in many publications, including: New American Paintings, Elle Décor, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, L.A. Weekly, Art Ltd., Riviera magazine, Hi Fructose, Juxtapoz, Cartwheel Art, The Painter’s Table, Boom magazine, and Quick Fiction. Vonn’s work has been the subject of two solo museum shows: The Other Side of Here, at the Riverside Art Museum in 2008, and Stages, in 2011 at the Phillips Museum of Art in Pennsylvania. In 2021, his work was featured in the first museum survey tracing the influence of Wayne Thiebaud on contemporary art at the Manetti Shrem Museum of Art at UC Davis.

Vonn currently lives and works in Santa Ana, CA, and is a Professor of Painting at Fullerton College.

He has been represented by Morton Fine Art since 2010.

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.

Mask required.

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

Available Artwork by VONN CUMMINGS SUMNER

create! Magazine features KATHERINE TZU-LAN MANN

29 Aug

Water Ribbon, A Solo Exhibition By Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann At Morton Fine Art In Washington D.C.

Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann, Water Ribbon, 2021, Acrylic and sumi ink on paper, 90 x 60 in, Image courtesy of Morton Fine Art
Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann, Water Ribbon, 2021, Acrylic and sumi ink on paper, 90 x 60 in, Image courtesy of Morton Fine Art.

We’re excited to share the announcement of Water Ribbon, a solo exhibition of new works on paper by Washington, D.C.-based artist Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann, on view from September 8th – October 6th, 2021 at Morton Fine Art. Featuring a collection of recent pieces by the artist, the exhibition offers an evocative perspective on contemporary ecologies during a time at which environmental destruction and the consequences of climate change loom ever larger. Utilizing acrylic, sumi ink, and collage, Mann draws from traditions of Chinese landscape painting to create mesmerizing, vibrant depictions of organic matter.

Mann begins her process by pouring liquid pigments onto paper, allowing them to dry and yielding a stain of color from which the work is then based. Through an embrace of the indeterminate qualities of her materials—the ink or paint takes its own course, without the artist dictating its shapes or forms—Mann demonstrates a symbiotic relationship to her materials that serves as an apt metaphor for coexistence with the natural world. What results from Mann’s subsequent additions to the paper are rich, layered tableaus imbued with an affective interplay of ideas.

Of the challenges posed by her recent work, Mann describes her rumination upon “the resuscitation of landscape painting in a world where ‘landscape’ is represented and defined through an ever-widening field of digital, graphic, and visual forms.” At times almost dizzying, the pieces shown in Water Ribbon eschew Western conventions of spatial perspective and inert figuration, instead embracing qualities of movement and monumentality central to Chinese landscape painting traditions.

Bright hues and a multiplicity of patterns are nestled among Mann’s illustrations of flora and fauna, with streams of ink evoking vines and riverbeds. Lying in the tension between the artificial and the organic, Mann’s renderings suggest and intertwining of systems rather than a constant grappling for control or domination. Splashes of ink seep across each image, traversing various shapes and forms. Elsewhere, translucent swathes of paint filter views of plant life, appearing like stained-glass window through which to gaze. “In my most recent work, I hope to live in the tradition of landscape painting, experiencing it for what it has always been: an occasion for radical experimentation and confrontation with the world, in the broadest sense of the term that sustains us,” said Mann. Amongst all the chaos and beauty, Water Ribbon proposes a mode of coexistence attuned to change, reciprocity, and an honoring of diverse forms of life.

Arch 3, 2020, Acrylic and sumi ink on paper, 56 x 56 in, Image courtesy of Morton Fine Art
Arch 3, 2020, Acrylic and sumi ink on paper, 56 x 56 in, Image courtesy of Morton Fine Art.

Artist Statement:

My work’s abstractions arise from the subjects I portray: ecological and geological cycles, processes of chemical corrosion and natural efflorescence. With roots in traditions of Chinese landscape painting, my monumentally sized paintings and installations evolve a fantastic, abstract vision of the natural world. My latest work confronts the challenge: the resuscitation of landscape painting in a world where “landscape” is represented and defined through an ever-widening field of digital, graphic, and visual forms. How can a painting capture flux, abundance, waste, fertility, and the collision and collusion of diverse forms? How can it respond to the pressure we place on our era’s fragile ecosystem? My paintings explore both questions by sustaining tension between what is artificial and what is natural, between what is chemical and what is biological, between organic and inorganic. The paper on which I paint is not only a recognition of a tradition of Chinese painting; it is also a medium of vulnerability and expansiveness, susceptible to crease and tear as well as to collage and collation. My own role in the creation of the paintings strikes a balance between the purposive and the protective. I trust to process, chance, and change, but I encourage, direct, and facilitate all of these. In my most recent work, I hope to live in the tradition of landscape painting, experiencing it for what it has always been: an occasion for radical experimentation and confrontation with the world, in the broadest sense of the term that sustains us.

Crust, Mantle, Core, 2021, Acrylic and collage on paper, 60 x 60 in, Image courtesy of Morton Fine Art.

Crust, Mantle, Core
, 2021, Acrylic and collage on paper, 60 x 60 in, Image courtesy of Morton Fine Art.

Alicia Puig

Available artwork by KATHERINE TZU-LAN MANN

Contact Morton Fine Art to view by appointment. (202) 628-2787 (call or text), info@mortonfineart.com. Mask required.