Exhibits, Reviews and Articles
Opening Reception - i found god in myself: the 40th
anniversary of Ntozake Shanges for colored girls
Curated by Souleo
Join us for the opening of AAMP's latest special exhibition i found god in myself: the 40th anniversary of Ntozake Shanges for colored girls. This two-gallery art exhibit celebrates the 40th anniversary of the choreopoem, for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf, and is curated by Souleo.
Through 20 commissioned artworks by artists including Renee Cox (in collaboration with Rafia Santana), Kimberly Mayhorn, Dianne Smith, Margaret Rose Vendryes and Danny Simmons the exhibition is a tribute to the Broadway play. Each work honors the individual poems and underscores their enduring significance in highlighting issues impacting the lives of women of color.
Additional works by nationally acclaimed artists including Deborah Willis, Carrie Mae Weems and Saya Woolfalk further expand upon related themes of sexuality, race, sisterhood, violence and self-love depicted in and inspired by Ms. Shanges work. The exhibition will also include archival material that highlights the creation and evolution of the original text from its 1974 California debut to its Broadway run, courtesy of the Barnard Archives and Special Collections at Barnard College.
i found god in myself originally debuted in 2014 at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Long Gallery Harlem (formerly The Sol Studio) and La Maison dArt.
This event will include a wine and cheese reception and performance by
A Mosaic of Voices, Mediums and Black
When i found god in myself: the 40th anniversary for Ntozake Shanges for colored girls exhibit premiered, Shange herself attended to view the 20 original works curated by Peter Souleo Wright.
By then, she had suffered two strokes and was in a wheelchair. But when she saw the life-size portrait of herself by painter Margaret Rose Vendryes, Shange tried to get out of her wheelchair to show how the tattoos on her body perfectly matched the ones in the painting.
She was so excited to be there and see what we had done with her work and what we did to make her work visible and take it off the page, Vendryes said. Shes more beautiful than the painting.
Two years later the portrait, the other original works, four new commissions and some non-commissioned pieces will be on view at the African American Museum, opening Oct. 6. The exhibit includes sculptures, paintings, videos and bigger installations.
The show celebrates the play for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf, which premiered in California in 1974. The play explores themes like black womanhood, sexuality, violence and love in all its forms.
Souleo said the play was groundbreaking for him when he first saw it.
Women of color are a largely underrepresented segment of our community, he said. [The play] eloquently and creatively explores the nuances.
The process from curation to opening night was a long one,
but for Souleo, it ultimately paid off.
He began with the seed of inspirationin this case, the text of the playand then did research on other existing conversations around the topic. He reached out to artists and, based on examples of work theyd submitted, gave them each a poem from the play to guide their creations.
Souleo said he suggested one to three poem options that he felt the body of work would connect to.
It was very much a give and take, a conversation, a dialogue, he added. I wanted each artist to feel comfortable with the text so they could put their heart and soul into it.
Souleo constantly referred to the text throughout the entire process, carrying the book around in his bag everywhere he went.
Kimberly Mayhorn, a multi-disciplinary artist, also relied heavily on the text while she was creating her piece, which is a multi-medium, audio-visual experience. Mayhorns works often utilize installation, sculpture, sound and video. The poem she used, Dark Phrases, is also the prologue of the play.
When I was working on the work in the beginning, I knew I wanted to use sound, she said. I approached it by creating a music scale grid to play off the melody of what I was feeling what I was reading the words.
She added that Shanges writing seems very lyrical, and she wanted to enhance that musicality.
The piece is a mosaic of voices with recordings of five women reciting excerpts of the poem and a piano melody layered with the audio. A black satin nightdress is also part of the site-specific installment, to give a sense of essence of this body, Mayhorn said.
I wanted to create this conversation between different textures, the sound youre able to access and hear, Mayhorn said. Its abstract, so theres no physical image of a black woman, but what Im aiming to do is to respond to the melody of the complexities of how Dark Phrases was written and how I was responding to it.
Amber Robles-Gordon, a mixed-media visual artist, was drawn to the show because of the way she connected so personally with the play when she first saw a performance at about 11 years old.
I remember as a young girl, my mother took me to see this play, she said. I remember the energy the feeling of camaraderie and collective reaction to portions of the play. I remember coming out of that play and feeling older, maybe a little bit wiser and definitely feeling more connected to women like my mother and the women in my family.
The poem she was assigned, A Laying On of Hands, can be interpreted with themes like religion, being in love and healing, she said.
The sculpture is made of found objects, fabric and other materials attached to chicken wire and divided into the colors of the rainbow. Robles-Gordon used the spectrum of the rainbow and applied each color to each of the seven main characters and their roles in the play. Her works are often large-scale sculpture and installations using textiles and found objects.
The message I try to convey through my work is that we are all powerful and to think about how we use our resources, our message, our power and how we transform dust into gold, she said.
Vendryes portrait of Shange is part of her African Divas collection, a series of multi-medium paintings celebrating black women like Janelle Monae, Eartha Kitt and Whitney Houston.
The portrait is based off a photo of Shange at the premier of the movie adaptation of the play. The assigned poem No More Love Poems is directly incorporated into the piecethe words are written into wax and are arranged like rain down the canvas. To Vendryes, the poem is about continuity, self-enlightenment and loss.
As I started doing research, I realized [Shange] was
very much a diva even though she was not a performer like the other ones
[in the series], Vendryes said. She emerged as her diva even
though shes a writer.
I remember seeing for colored girls when it came out in 74 and she performed on stage and I was blown away by the willingness she had to bare the soul of troubled women, she added. [The themes were] unheard of and quite exciting for young black women like myself.
In the diva series, each woman is wearing an African mask. In the beginning of the series, Vendryes painted on the masks, but she now uses real masks on top of the painting.
Vendryes had to saw a mask from Cote DIvoire in half to accommodate for the position of Shanges face in profile in the life-size portrait. The other half of the mask is held in Shanges hand.
Souleo said the artists he worked with each brought a new perspective to the text of the play, which expanded the universality of the message.
No matter where you are in the world, you can connect to this exhibition, he said. People are looking to see themselves reflected in media and in the creative arts.
At the Schomburg exhibition, Souleo said there was one woman who cried after seeing a piece.
She saw her own experiences in that art piece, he said. I think when you see that people are touched by it, getting that emotional, visceral response, its really the best thing for me and for the artist.
Souleo said he is excited to explore more about Philadelphias art scene. He added that the African American Museum is historic and its important to celebrate it.
Its good to support these institutions that support our communities, he said. Sometimes theres nothing like having your own and celebrate that.
Lian Parsons can be reached at email@example.com and
Lest We Forget
Opening Reception: Sunday, September 18,
2016, 3-6 pm
About the Exhibition
The exhibition presented at Galerie Myrtis, Lest We Forget examines pivotal moments and figures in U.S. history, as well as the everyday occurrences and unknown individuals that have impacted, to various degrees, the African American experience here, and by extension, throughout the world.
Too often individuals, movements and ideas are discounted, overlooked or smudged out in an attempt to lessen their societal and cultural agency and potency. What has come before is particularly poignant now, more than ever, and continues to reverberate in current issues, both progressive and problematic, such as Black Lives Matter and the examination of President Obamas legacy in the final months of his administration.
Larry Cook, Wesley Clark, Shaunte Gates, Delita Martin, Jamea Richmond-Edwards, Amber Robles-Gordon and Stan Squirewell
Curated by: Jarvis DuBois and Deirdre Darden
IT TAKES A NATION
American University Museum at the Katzen
Millennium Arts Salon, in partnership with The Philips Collection, presents
SATURDAY, JUNE 11, 2-4 PM
· Jessica Stafford Davis (moderator), Founder and President, The Agora Culture, an online contemporary art resource
· Vesela Sretenovic, Senior Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, The Phillips Collection
· Sheldon Scott, Performance artist
· Amber Robles-Gordon, Visual artist
· Henry Thaggert, Attorney, collector, and art patron
FREE; RSVP to Kelley Daley at firstname.lastname@example.org
Organized by the Millennium Arts Salon in partnership with
The Philips Collection
East City Artnotes: The Critiqued at Otis
Street Arts Project
Coinciding with the organizations one-year anniversary, Otis Street Arts Project recently unveiled its newest exhibition The Critiqued featuring works by thirteen area artists. Artists on display have all participated in the Projects Critique program, an ongoing series of critical dialogues open to the public and facilitated by area arts professionals. Several of the finished pieces on display in this current exhibition were shown and discussed in unfinished states during those earlier peer reviews, giving audience members a unique perspective into the artists thought processes as they work to determine when a work is indeed finished.
The exhibition is refreshingly full of visual experiences. While painting and photography are included, the show also includes sculptural and video work, as well as pieces that combine disparate media in intellectually challenging ways. One rewarding aspect of watching an artists process is examining how they relate their aesthetic to artists who have come before. While At the Alter: Jade by Amber Robles-Gordon lightly references the early works of Sam Gilliam, the artist creates something strikingly modern with updated materials including zippers, snaps and gold appliqués. The resulting work is perhaps more sculpture than painting as it extends rigidly from the wall, highlighting her grasp of precedent as she simultaneously strives for something unique.
The evolution of thought is also on display in Ceci Cole Mcintruffs included work. For her critique several months ago, Mcinturff presented a small series of sculptural forms directly referencing the female breast. For this exhibition, the artist has contributed a larger, more formal grouping of those fragile works entitled Feminine Organe. Gently nestled in a black, sandy substance within an elongated box, the piece could either be a womb-like offering of delicate flesh or a sculptural reliquary of organs. Seeing them now, in a variety of groupings and forms, adds layers of intrigue simply not available if viewed singly.
Two other works that play nicely off one another are Katie Pumphreys Strife and Haul and Christian Tribastones Charlotte and Wintrop, which hang on opposing gallery walls. The only common visual element is the works two-dimensionality, yet each piece creates a scene filled with a similar emotional resonance. In the case of Pumphrey, the roundness of the picture plane easily suggests an undersea realm with an influx of grey towards the top of the work underscoring the breaking of surface tension. Daubs of whites, blues and umber create the illusion of koi in an underwater ballet. The mood is serene, yet slightly ominous, as the quick brushstrokes lend a sense of frenetic movement. Tribastones work casts a similarly serene mood in an urban landscape devoid of occupants. His prowess with ink is clearly on display, but the lack of humanity eerily echoes the disquietude in Pumphreys work. It is just these sorts of juxtapositions that make this exhibition as edifying for the mind as it is for the eyes.
The Critiqued runs through April 30, 2016 at the Otis Street Arts Project in Mount Rainier, MD.
Prizm: A Basel Fair Featuring Artists
A Conversation with Mikhaile Solomon, Director and Founder of Prizm, Art Basel Miami Beachs only art fair dedicated to artists of color
After completing its third year at Art Basel Miami Beach, Prizm art fair has grown in size, in audience, and in programming. Founded by Mikhaile Solomon, a Miami native and curator with a background in architecture, the fair presents work by artists of color who reflect global trends in contemporary art. This years Prizm presented a curated exhibition of works by individual artists, and also performances, parties, and panel discussions that all drew bigger crowds than ever before.
A month after Basel ended, I caught up with Solomon to find out more about the fair this year.
Can you talk about the mission behind Prizm?
Prizm and its mission is defined by its very definition a prism is a transparent solid body used for dispersing light into a spectrum or for reflecting rays of light. Thats essentially the goal: to strongly represent artists from all over the world, especially the African diaspora. Our long term goal is to create a multi-cultural fair.
I appreciate the culture that I am a part of. I want all people to have a deeper appreciation for it in a broader sense.
That being said, the things people of color are expressing are valid and unique and three years ago I felt they werent being represented enough at the art fairs I attended. Artists of color explore ideas and issues that all people, no matter what race or ethnicity, are affected by not just people of color. We all benefit from presence of PoC (People of Color) and the inclusion of their dialogue in the artistic landscape. Art (various disciplines within the arts) is one of the few forums within which one can have very honest and open discourse without filter.
How would this change the current structure of Prizm?
In the future, I would like to invite artists & galleries from Africa, Middle East, India, and a number other places I want to create a space where creative voices can come together and coalesce and speak in the broader arts market. Theyre not doing that yet.
Also I would love to actually have people from these ethnicities be the stewards of their own voices its one thing to have gallerists and collectors representing artists of color, but its different when people of color represent themselves become the stewards of their cultural capital. Theres not a whole lot of minority-run art galleries in this country, which is unfortunate. Creating spaces where diversity really exists not just a buzzword is what I want Prizm to be.
I am thrilled that Prizm continues to offer a solid range of options that are quite unique and different than every other fair I visited. Did you do anything differently this year than in the past two years?
We definitely had more community engagement this year. I think people were much more verbal about the the programming we had this year and about the impact of the work at the fair. We sold more work, which is great and we had a larger turnout too.
Maybe this is natural progress since this is our third year. I think the press we received the year before helped get people interested in attending this year. As far as audience, we had people who returned from past years and a lot of new faces New collectors showed up and people who were interested in supporting this fair came. Weve just gotten a lot of positive feedback and also just received additional grant funding since the third fair ended from the Knight Foundation and Green Family Foundation, which has been supporting Prizm since 2014.
Is Prizm a fair in progress? What changes will you continue to make?
This year I am planning to focus on Prizm 110% to ensure that it be what it needs to be for 2016. Last year, I juggled many balls and wore many hats. This year, I will streamline by processes and exclusively focus of Prizms seasonal programming and Prizm 2016.
In terms of the fairs structure, its unique and dynamic. I am still figuring out best structure for it and I am happy to test and see what works best. I co-curated Prizm 2013 with another colleague in the arts, Marie Vickles, in 2014, I was the sole curator and 2015 co-curated the fair with Rosie Gordon Wallace and A.M. Weaver. I like to share the platform with other voices in the arts community. Im looking forward to shaping the 2016 program. Its already shaping up. Stay tuned.
How did you come to found and direct an art fair? How do you make business decisions?
Although we havent worked with galleries (who typically pay steep funds to present work at a fair), our artists do not pay for their spaces or for their shipping which is pretty expensive. These are the people with the talent; the reason why we can actually have the fair is their talent. In the future, we plan to work with individual artists and also with galleries.
What is the effect of the building on the fair?
My goal is to place Prizm in a larger, more beautiful space next year. My formal educational background is in architecture, so having a really great space so that I can design a beautiful exhibition is my ultimate goal. To enjoy the process of putting a great fair together, that is the process that I love. Last year I only had about four months to put everything together I was so thankful when it came together but it was still so mentally and physically draining.
What was the impact of programming on the fair?
Curating the panel series was really great. I loved all of the panel talks! They were great and I honestly think, ours was one of the most robust and content-heavy during Basel. I am a huge proponent of education so I was really excited to have the guests that were had. The films that we showed were great too Papa Machete, a Sundance & Toronto film festival winner and Serendipity shown at MOMAs summer film series in 2015 are two examples.
Can you talk about Jefferson Pinders performance at Prizm?
Jefferson and I were talking every single day to make sure his performance was a success. Basel week in 2015 was unpredictably rainy every day, so we had to make many logistic adjustments, including bringing the performance in doors as it was originally planned for the outdoors. Working with him and Lionz of Zion (Bboy crew) was a joy. To have them do such a timely and poignant piece was great at Prizm in the wake of several atrocities against young black males by law enforcement in the United States was an unfortunate narrative that needed be expounded upon and Jefferson choreographed piece, Dark Matter(s) did just that.
How many of the artists participated in Prizm from the Baltimore-Washington area? It seems like a high percentage.
A good 55% of participating artists are from Baltimore-Washington area. Its a part of the country that produces really strong work and I have a past history in the region. I was working on a different project a few years ago as assistant producer, and worked with Amber Robles-Gordon and a number of other artists.
At that time, I was selecting a lot of talented artists for that particular project. Many of the artists I selected then were just emerging, but now their careers are really growing in the art world. I decided to start my own project and most of the artists I continue to work with do extremely well.
As a Miami Native, what is your response to the giant crazy thing that Art Basel Miami Beach has turned into?
Its funny. I went to Basel Switzerland last year for their fairs and its much more serious. Its like the Wall Street of art fairs. People are there specifically on a mission to buy or sell. Celebrities arent there, or if they are its in secret. The Basel Fair emphasizes the culture of the city. There was a lot of programming at important museums in and around town and receptions at foundations. While Basel was the main focus there was still a clear mindfulness paid to its context and local culture, too and this is a cue I hope Basel | Miami Beach will draw from.
Thanks so much for all that you do for artists and having this conversation! We wish you the best in your next year of planning for Prizm!
Friday, October 30, 2015
Were interested in elevating our conversations about art. We feel that group studios and areas of artist density provide fertile ground for interaction, conversation, growth and development. While this is an important part of our daily interaction as artists, we also feel that Curators, Critics, Gallarists, Collectors, Art Writers, and other Arts Professionals bring an amazing amount of insight for an Artist. With the our first two sessions of The Critique having received a great amount of interest and positive feedback, were going to keep it up!
Please join us for the 3rd session of The Critique
We will show the work of 3 artists and have an invited arts professional guide us through talking about the work. Our aim is to intelligently discuss the work, pointing out strengths and flaws in the pieces, and providing a suggested guidance for the future.
Each session will be led by a different professional and will accordingly be slightly different.
Our 3rd session will be led by gallarist Adah Rose Bitterbaum
We would like to invite everyone that is interested in hearing this conversation about specific works of art to sit in on The Critique The conversation is meant to be critical, and constructive. We aim to discuss what works, what doesnt work, and to lead the artist toward possible resolutions or developments.
Please join us between 6:00 and 7:00 for a meet and greet with refreshments, and to see the Otis Street Arts Project space.
The Critique will begin at 7:00. Some works we will discuss
will be jpgs, Some will be actual pieces.
Graham Coreil-Allen, "NPS: The Ragged
Edge of Rockville," 2015; on view at
F. Scott Fitzgerald, group portraits and that R.E.M song. Lottery tickets, gentrification and a fast-food sign. These are among the artifacts and phenomena that define Rockville and D.C., respectively, in exhibitions that seek to reveal something of those places characters. The titles are telling. VisArtss (Come Back to) Rockville! is a pep-squad cheer; Honfleur Gallerys How We Lost D.C. is a blues lament.
The different tones are partly a matter of definition. VisArts show is about the area of Rockville that could be called its downtown, home to the neo-urban Town Center and the Great Gatsby authors grave. Honfleurs is about the majority African American Chocolate City that lasted by U.S. Census tallies from 1960 to 2010. Both Rockville (as a tag for the entire agglomeration between Bethesda and Gaithersburg) and the District of Columbia are bigger than the territory covered in these shows.
It would be correct but misleading to say that just two artists produced the work about Rockville. Naoko Wowsugi combined video of activity at Town Center, shot from above, with audio interviews of 10 people who live or work there. (One announces her imminent wedding at VisArts.) Wowsugi also built a network of group photographs, beginning with an image of VisArts staffers, interns and board members. She then photographed other groups that included people in the first picture until she had a wall-size suite of alumni-club, dance-troupe and sports-team portraits. Rockvillians dont bowl alone, apparently.
Graham Coreil-Allens The Ragged Edge of Rockville is about place, not people, but he encourages visitors to become part of the project. They can follow his map of the neighborhood and use the provided paper and crayons to make rubbings to add to the ones already in the gallery. Possible sites to visit include the grave of Fitzgerald (from whom Coreil-Allen borrowed the ragged edge line and a 1913 monument whose Confederate sympathies recently became newsworthy. More interesting, though, are the service roads around the Town Center, which reveal the places stage-set architecture and fundamentally suburban character. Maybe R.E.M. was right to warn, (Dont Go Back to) Rockville.
(Coreil-Allen will lead two-hour walking tours of the ragged edge, leaving from VisArts on Sept. 27 at 3 p.m. and Oct. 17 at 4 p.m.) McCain McMurray. "Metropolis," acrylic on canvas, 48 x 68 in; on view at Touchstone Gallery. (Courtesy McCain McMurray and Touchstone Gallery)
How We Lost D.C. was organized by a Delusions
of Grandeur, a collective of six local African American artists. Its centerpiece
is Wesley Clarks The Playing Field, a large wooden map
of the city overlaid with a diagram of football-style strategy. One team
seems to be moving west to east, while
Larry Cook contributed a neon sign that hangs in the window, advertising subs, chicken and Chinese food. It may draw hungry passersby in the gallerys eatery-deprived neighborhood. He also assembled a pile of lottery tickets and tiny pencils, flanked by a broom. Its a sort of impromptu memorial to the get-rich-quick dreams among the underpaid and underemployed.
Other pieces are less pointed, and sometimes less D.C.-centered. Shaunté Gatess black-and-white collage-paintings, each accented by a touch of red, include one in which a man navigates a maze-city that has multiple Washington Monuments. Amber Robles-Gordons large wall hangings feature circular motifs, notably the snake that encircles one of them, perhaps representing the cycle of existence. Rather than winning and losing, the ringed figure suggests, there is only waxing and waning.
*(Come Back to) Rockville!* On view through Oct. 18 at Kaplan Gallery, VisArts at Rockville, 155 Gibbs St., Rockville. 301-315-8200. www.visartscenter.org.
*How We Lost D.C.* On view through Oct. 31 at Honfleur Gallery, 1241 Good Hope Rd. SE. 202-365-8392. www.honfleurgallery.com.
Few cities are undergoing a period of gentrification as lengthy as D.C.s, and perhaps none are gentrifying as quickly. The individual stories of displacement, as well as the larger narrative arc that shows how class and racial lines overlap to push out poorer minority communities, have particular poignancy in D.C., one of the first cities in the U.S. with a black majority. Against this backdrop, the local African-American artist collective Delusions of Grandeur created How We Lost DC, an exhibition the group calls a visual discourse on gentrification. The work of Wesley Clark, Larry Cook, Shaunté Gates, Jamea Richmond-Edwards, Amber Robles-Gorden, and Stan Squirewell encompasses photography, textile, paintings, mixed media, and sculpture in a show that moves between portraiture and would-be artifacts to tapestry and art made from maps of the District itself. The group uses these works to provide commentary on a world where, in their words, the rise to wealth is ever present, yet elusive. The exhibit takes place at Honfleur Gallery, itself a project of ARCH Development Corporation, a nonprofit dedicated to sparking economic and residential revitalization in Anacostia, one of D.C.s poorest neighborhood and one that could gentrify soon.
The exhibition is on view Tuesdays through Fridays noon to 5 p.m. and Saturdays 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., to Oct. 31, at Honfleur Gallery, 1241 Good Hope Road SE. Free. (202) 365-8392. honfleurgallery.com
Published in the Miami Herald!
Sheroes and Womanists: An exhibition inspired by Howard Universitys 26th Annual James A. Porter Colloquium
Exhibition dates: April 11-25, 2015* *Opening reception: Friday, April 10, 6-8pm
Flashpoint Gallery is pleased to announce a special two-week exhibition highlighting the 2015 James A. Porter Colloquiums theme, Sheroes and Womanists: An Examination of Feminist(s) Subjectivity in Modern and Contemporary African American Art. Curated by students Breeonna Hill (Howard University) and Kourtney Riley (George Mason University) under mentor Tim Davis (International Visions Gallery & Consultants), the exhibition features artists whose work explores subjects and perspectives around feminist identity.
Featured artists are Ronald Beverly, Anne Bouie, Adrienne Gaither, Aziza Claudia Gibson-Hunter, Kelly Lorraine Hendrickson, Jessica Maria Hopkins, Gloria Kirk, Tamara Natalie Madden, Betty Murchison, Amber Robles-Gordon, Stan Squirewell, Lynn Sylvester, Joyce Wellman, Deborah Willis, and Helen Zughaib.
The James A. Porter Colloquium is the leading forum for scholars, artists, curators, and individuals in the field of African American Art and Visual Culture. Held annually at Howard University, it is free to attend although registration is required. More information: http://www.art.howard.edu/portercolloquium/program/
WOMENS HISTORY MONTH: AMBER ROBLES-GORDON
MARCH 31, 2015 | 3:00PM
March is Womens History Month. Throughout the month we be profiled D.C. based women you should know. Amy Morse, the founder of Ideas Club, headed the project. Today she profiles Amber Robles-Gordon.
Amber is a D.C.-based changemaker who turns big ideas into visual art. Her work, which ranges from 50-foot banners draped on D.C. buildings, to installation art and mixed media assemblages, addresses global consumerism, gender imbalance and other major social cultural themes. Through the symbolic use of materials and their interactions, she exploratory meditations on her work read like spiritual healing practice. Her vantage point is unique, academically grounded (MFA in painting from Howard University), and incredibly beautiful. For those who enjoy interacting with creative nonfiction cultural critiques, she is a gem in D.C. of social commentary, drawing from an intuitive connection to herself and her spiritual practice.
Her work is representational of her experiences and the paradoxes found in the female experience. She focuses on fusing found objects to convey memories, inspired by nature, womanhood, and her belief in recycling energy and materials. Ambers intention is to create artwork that visually parallels the social and gender inequalities that are manifested in the world due to the imbalance of feminine and masculine energies. The foundation of most of her artwork is composed of fences, grids, ropes or representations of a matrix. These symbolically masculine items, when composed of metal, are traditionally used to provide structure, delineate boundaries and to control or dominate. She chooses materials that seem to exemplify femininity as well as question perception of self, other women, and our consumer behaviors and materialistic values. She juxtaposes and weaves colorful objects and materials, symbolic of the feminine energy, through the masculine forms in attempt to balance the implied social boundaries the original structure represents. Through her artwork she explores her love and connection to color, to nature and to her experiences of being a woman in a patriarchal society. Through the act of creating with color, she is connected to a natural source of energy and thus to hope, life and vitality.
Recycling is very important aspect of her artwork. She uses found objects and recyclable materials to bring forth a dialogue about societal consumption and global consumerism. She intentionally combines found or used objects and various colored materials for their intrinsic value and energy as well as to encourage recycling within our communities and world.
*Women Who Inspire Her*
There is no one woman she admires. She is inspired by the collective energy of womenthe femininethat has allowed women, and specifically women of color, to move metaphysical mountains within their own lives, their communities and throughout the world. She is also encouraged by the women who see themselves and other people of color as more than the imposed boundaries of society. Examples of women who had this perspective were: Harriet Tubman (who kicked serious ass in every way until she was 93), Ida B. Wells (Civil Rights activist and journalist), Alma Thomas (DC-based expressionist painter), Lous Mailou Jones (Harlem Renaissance painter), Bell Hooks (feminist writer) and Octavia Butler (sci-fi writer and MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant recipient).
Black Artists of DC <http://badconline.info/> (BADC)
Divinity Revealed Amadlozi Gallery Exhibition, March 530, 2015: Curated by Mikhaile Solomon, Divinity Revealed premieres work by national artists, LaToya Hobbs, Sheena Rose, Martin Nyarko, and Amber Robles-Gordon.
In honor of Womens History Month, the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center presented the Amadlozi Gallery Exhibition
Divinity Revealed will premier works by national artists, LaToya Hobbs, Sheena Rose, Martin Nyarko, and Amber Robles -Gordon. This exhibition explores femininity from the artists perspective within the context of their community and the world. The gallerys opening reception is March 5th at 6pm with curatorial presentations at 6:30pm at the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center, 6161 NW 22nd Avenue, Miami, FL 33142. It is free to attend, rsvp required. The Divinity Revealed exhibition is part of Sankofa: Looking Back, Going Forward, a year-long series of events and performances that bring alumni back to the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center to inspire the next generation of talent, in celebration of the Centers fortieth anniversary with funding support from The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, as part of its Knight Arts Challenge.
Photo credit: Carla Jamieson
Stay up-to-date as we continue to celebrate 40 years of service and artistic excellence to the S. Florida community. All of our programming for the 40th anniversary has been made possible in part by funding support through the Knights Arts Challenge.
Examiner.com: DC artists bring local flavor to Prizm
Art Fair in Miami
A talented group of creatives from the DC area are showing their work in the Prizm Art Fair at Art Basel Miami. Prizm is a curated exhibition founded in 2013 by Mikhaile Solomon, a Miami-based designer, arts advocate and producer. According to Solomon, the mission of Prizm is to promote artists of color and expand the spectrum of international artists from the African Diaspora and emerging markets at one of the most prestigious art festivals in the world.
The Prizm Art Fair, located at the Miami Center For Architecture And Design (100 NE 1st Avenue), is one of many events held during Art Basel week - an international showcase for contemporary art featuring over 300 distinguished galleries and attracting an estimated 80,000 visitors.
The participating artists from the DMV are: Wesley Clark , Jamea Richmond-Edwards, Shaunte Gates, Amber Robles-Gordon, Adrienne Gaither, Stan Squirewell and Holly Bass. Amber Robles-Gordon, an accomplished mixed media artist, also exhibited several pieces in last years inaugural Prizm show.
To celebrate the opening of Prizm, MoCADA and Rush Philanthropic co-hosted a VIP Preview on Thursday evening featuring music by King Britt. Many exhibiting artists attended the VIP soiree, including Adrienne Gaither, a painter and graphic designer who resides in the Trinidad section of Northeast.
I am very excited and honored to exhibit with all of the talented and dynamic artists in the Prizm Art Fair, Gaither said. This opportunity has allowed me to foster successful working relationships with other DC artists.
Also in attendance at the preview was Holly Bass, the brilliant multidisciplinary performance and visual artist. Bass expressed gratitude for the Prizm opportunity.
"It's really wonderful that Mikhaile Solomon opted to do a month-long exhibition and not just a week-long fair. The residents of Miami will have a chance to see our work and engage with it on a deeper level. The show connects artists from across the diaspora. It's beautiful to see the connections, not only with black artists from various regions of the United States, but also Africa and the Caribbean. This year, DC is repping really solid with seven artists, so there's a really beautiful sense of community happening."
Prizm will be open to the public from December 5th through the 22nd. For a complete listing of artists, and a schedule of special activities that will take place during the month, please visit www.prizmartfair.com.
Hybrid Mastery Artists Corner: Amber Robles-Gordon
Photography courtesy of the artist
Two years ago, Virgin Islands Property and Yacht magazine interviewed famous local artist Joseph Hodge, unveiling his artistic finesse and wealth of experience to our readers. It is of little surprise that his bloodline has conceived more talented individuals in cousin Amber Robles-Gordon, a mixed media sculptor and installation artist, who has recently discovered several of her relatives, including Joseph Hodge via our technological accessibility to the globe.
Born in Puerto Rico, raised in Arlington, Virginia and having lived in Washington DC for the last 17 years, the majority of her family reside in St Thomas, Tortola, St John, and Antigua; a few months ago, she contacted VIPY, enquiring about her cousin Joseph and has since established a relationship with her family here in the BVI.
With the apple not falling far from the tree, the young artist revealed that she has led a successful career to date as an artist. Formally educated with a Masters of Fine Arts in painting from Howard University, Washington, she has won numerous awards and grants during her time studying, including a Special Projects Grant from the DC Commission in the Arts and Humanities.
Amber explained, My artwork is a visual representation of my hybridism: a fusion of my gender, ethnicity, cultural and social experiences.
DC 2 MIA!
Bum Rush Art Basel!
Seven artists from DC have been invited to participate in the Prizm Art Fair and we need your help to get there!
In recent years, DC artists, collectors and gallerists have been making the pilgrimage to Art Basel Miami Beach in ever-growing numbers. With 260 leading galleries participating and over 50,000 people in attendance, Art Basel Miami is one of the most highly exposed art fairs in North America. This year a group of 7 Black artists will be showing work together at the Prizm Art Fair, along with other jury-selected American and international artists. This is an incredible opportunity, not only as artists but as ambassadors of DCs contemporary art scene.
Participation in Prizm will allow us to exhibit our work to a much wider audience on a scale we could not achieve individually. Each artist will show up to five works, more than is typical for an art fair. As well, the exhibition will be on view from December 4-22. We are asking for your help to offset the expenses associated with participating in a traveling exhibition.
The Selected Artists:
November 5, 2014 - January 31, 2015
South Capitol Skyscape: Amber Robles-Gordon
South Capitol Street Facade
Capitol Skyline Hotel
10 I (Eye) Street SW
Washington, DC 20024
AMBER ROBLES-GORDON CREATES NEW PUBLIC ART COMMISSION FOR WPA'S SOUTH CAPITOL SKYSCAPE SERIES.
WPA presents a new work by DC-based artist Amber Robles-Gordon for the second installation in its South Capitol Skyscape series. For the 50-foot banner on the South Capitol Street façade of the hotel, WPA has excerpted a portion of Robles-Gordon's new work entitled At the Altar: Dance of the Serpents. Created through her signature assemblage process combining textiles and found objects, the work takes new form using a recycled hammock as its support and foundation, representing the structural constructs of the past and the restrictive patterns of repetitive thinking.
The original sculpture featured in the banner will be on view in the lounge of the Capitol Skyline Hotel from October 29 through November 28, 2014.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Amber Robles-Gordon (Howard University, M.F.A.) is a Washington, DC-based mixed media artist whose preferred medium is collage and assemblage. Her work is representational of her experiences and the paradoxes within the female experience. Robles-Gordon focuses on fusing found objects to convey her own personal memories inspired by nature, womanhood, and her belief in recycling energy and materials.
ABOUT SOUTH CAPITOL SKYSCAPE
Utilizing the unique and historic façade of the Capitol Skyline Hotel, South Capitol Skyscape will present a rotating series of oversize contemporary art installations, featuring the work of both local and national artists. These commissioned works are intended to spark public discussion on art and culture and enrich the daily lives of the residents, workers, and car passengers who inhabit the world of the South Capitol Street Gateway corridor. Each of the South Capitol Skyscape artists will lead free community art making workshops at the Randall Recreation Center in conjunction with their project.
Genius or Gobbledygook? Real Beauty at Carroll
Art theory is often inscrutable, and its doubly so for abstract painting. Thats why the framing of the Real Beauty at Carroll Square Gallery needs to be taken with a grain of salt.
Abstraction is arguably the truest representation of how the world feels, though by definition it obscures how the world actually appears, reads the exhibits wall-posted introduction.
Is this genius or gobbledygook? Its hard to tell. And most of the worksall of them abstractions, by four different artistsdon't offer much help in sorting it out.
Ashlynn Brownings paintings reference architecture, though with a crumpled, skewed perspective that doesnt look the least bit structurally sound. Unlike Browning, whose paintings use a muted palette, Deborah Zlotsky uses buoyant shades of fluorescent orange, peach and lemon (above). Her paintings are flat, two-dimensional agglomerations of box shapes (and the occasional form that suggests either a woven basket or a hand grenade).
Amber Robles-Gordon, by contrast, takes three-dimensionality to its extreme, with imposing wall-mounted sculptures made from chicken wire, ribbons, discarded water Beauty 3bottles, and other gewgaws (left). Intentional or not, the works suggest those impromptu memorials that spring up after tragedies.
The clear standout, thoughwith, alas, only one work in the showis Mariella Bisson. She contributed the 34 x 74 Falls Creek Panorama, a landscape with a somewhat rubbery surface. The impressive thing about Falls Creek Panorama is that, from a distance, it genuinely suggests a landscape (a notch less representational than, say, Paul Cezanne used in his late Aix-en-Provence works), yet viewed close up, its as abstract as any Ab-Ex canvas.
If youre looking to reconcile representation and abstraction, as the exhibit appears to want to do, then Bissons bravura canvas is about as appropriate a bridge as can be imagined.
Through Aug. 29 at Carroll Square Gallery, 975 F Street, NW, Washington, D.C. (202) 347-7978. Mon-Fri 8-6.
WAMU 88.5 : Art Beat
Art Beat With Lauren Landau
For Immediate Release:
Catalyst Projects is pleased to announce ~
Sculptors Draw - Julia Bloom and Amber
The creative process for a sculptor can more often than not include drawing. Whether it be the technical planning of a three dimensional work, documenting the creative process or a wish to expand their vision to include other mediums, a sculptors approach to drawing is widely varied and unique.
Julia Bloom (DC) presents large scale charcoal drawings on paper for this exhibition. Bloom's three dimensional works are in a large way drawings themselves. Constructed from sticks and wire, and sometimes covered in paint or rust, her sculptural pieces take on a tenuous, airy quality. In contrast, the drawings, which are meant as portraits of the sculptures, are bold, dense images of the structures they represent.
Amber Robles-Gordon (DC) Known mainly for sculptural wall hung work consisting of densely layered colorful textiles, Robles-Gordon shifts her modus operandi to drawings of floating forms built with dark lines and colorful, playful shapes. Robles-Gordon's drawings for this exhibition were partly inspired by her long fascination with abstract artist Alma Thomas' paintings of vibrant color and geometric shapes. What transpires is an investigation into spatial relationships, positive/negative space, and color distribution.
Media contacts: Gail Vollrath at 336-253-6224 or Zofie Lang 443-310-3076.
Gallery hours are Thursday thru Saturday, noon to 7 pm and by appointment.
Catalyst Projects is located at the Brookland-CUA metro stop on the red line and on the 80 bus route. Street parking is available.
Catalyst Project's mission is to present the DC arts community
to the world beyond the DMV. By presenting arts programming with a focus
on exchange, we hope to cross-pollinate with arts communities outside
of the DC metro area. It is our goal to make contemporary art accessible
through educational programs such as panel discussions, artist workshops,
and contemporary art exhibitions.
No, not every deserving artist gets their first taste of attention through one of the art world's largest platforms such as the legendary Art Basel show, or the Frieze Art Fair. In particular, African-American artists and other artists of color are still working towards greater visibility in the highest spheres of the rarified art community. Thus, there can never be too many lists bringing attention to the abundance of talented creators on the cusp of discovery who are ready to emerge.
Here are the fresh faces and more established visionaries still gaining ground that you need to know in 2014. The African diasporan artists compiled in the photo gallery above carry forth the traditions set in motion by visual artists from significant eras such as the Harlem Renaissance and Black Arts Movement, yet speak with new images and forms that lead us into the future.
With their various approaches to creativity, visual communication, and craft, these artists each examine critical issues of the past, present and future that reflect our shared experiences across the intersecting lines of race, class, gender, sexuality and politics. Through their works, the experiences of those of the African diaspora -- and beyond -- are critiqued, celebrated and preserved.
Visibility is essential to supporting the continued success of these artists, and ensuring that black artists -- who are increasingly gaining recognition -- continue to render our images in refined and thoughtful forms from the art world's center stage. Regardless of whether these artists ever appear at Art Basel, or already have, please keep your eyes to the wall (and in some cases the floor, ceiling, and sidewalks), because you will want to follow these folks, who are the latest provocateurs, innovators and dreamers.
These selections are not ranked in any order to acknowledge equally the importance of each artist's style -- with the awareness that there are likely more great visual "voices" out there who deserve recognition. Let us know who else should be included in the comments section below.
*Follow Souleo on Twitter @Souleo <https://twitter.com/Souleo>*
(Editor's note: Living editor of theGrio.com, Alexis Garrett Stodghill, owns a painting by one of the artists featured, Tamara Natalie Madden. This list was independently curated by the article author.)
Amber Robles-Gordon impresses at Art Basel December 7, 2013 www.examiner.com/article/amber-robles-gordon-prizm
Amber Robles-Gordon, an accomplished mixed media artist, is a featured participant in this year's Prizm Art Fair (Marquis Miami, 1100 Biscayne Blvd.). Prizm is one of many exhibitions held during Miami Art Basel, one of the most prestigious art festivals in the world. The Prizm Art Fair is a collaborative effort between Mikhaile Solomon, a designer and arts advocate, and Marie Vickles, an independent curator and arts educator. Solomon created Prizm to expand the spectrum of international artists from the African Diaspora and promote the work of artists of color.
Amber Robles-Gordon's work in Prizm is from a project entitled "Heal Thyself", and was motivated by a painful back injury she incurred while in graduate school. While recovering from her injury, she often reflected upon the spiritual, emotional and physical layers that make up every human being. Both pieces represent those layers by using a variety of recyclable materials (glass, fabric, tiles, etc.).
Robles-Gordon is a Howard University alumnus with over fifteen years of exhibiting and art educational experience. She has been commissioned by the Smithsonian Anacostia Museum and WETA Television to teach, give commentary and present about her artwork. She has also served as President, Vice President and exhibitions coordinator of the Black Artists of DC organization.
Closer to home, Robles-Gordon's artwork is currently on display as part of the Against The Bias exhibition at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery (1632 U Street, NW) until December 21, 2013.
Inaugural Edition of Prizm Art Fair Launches Featuring Artists Representing the African Diaspora and Emerging Markets at Marquis Miami on December 5-8, 2013
Miami, Fl- A talented collective of established and emerging artists from locales as varied as the Democratic Republic of Congo to Washington D.C. will showcase contemporary art at the inaugural blockbuster Prizm Art Fair to be held December 5-8, 2013 at the Marquis Miami (1100 Biscayne Blvd, downtown Miami). The opening night reception will take place on December 5th from 11pm-2am and is open to the public. Admission is free. Prizm Art Fair is a collaborative effort between, Mikhaile Solomon, designer and arts advocate who is the founder of Prizm Art Fair and Marie Vickles, an independent curator, arts educator, and artist based in South Florida. Salient works presented will highlight the diversity evident in contemporary visual art practices including painting, sculpture and mixed media installations. The goal of Prizm Art Fair during Art Basel week is to showcase a diverse group of artists who reflect the depth of talent in emerging markets adding to the caliber of artists represented in South Florida. Ms. Solomon and Ms. Vickles are two women committed to creating a platform to ensure that Prizm Art Fair provides opportunities for artists of the African Diaspora, emerging markets and those inspired by the Diaspora within one of the biggest art destination events in the country.
Curator and Creative Director of the Fair, Marie Vickles, states that Prizm Art Fair is presenting a new aesthetic inspired by varied forms of traditional art-making paired with contemporary techniques and technology, which is the essence of creativity meeting spirituality in the purest sense of holistic creation. Artists will present work that will inspire and challenge the notions of what the African Diaspora and emerging art markets are creating in a stream-of-consciousness beyond the mainstream. Both the serious collector and new-comer should expect a refreshing experience.
Prizm Art Fair will feature the works of some of the most talented local and international artists of color and galleries including: Lerone Wilon, Amber Robles-Gordon, Addonis Parker, T. Eliott Mansa, Bayunga Kialeuka, Asser Saint-Val, Jerome Soimaud, Gallery Guichard: National Curator for the Bombay Sapphire Series and Yeelen Gallery. The select artists are actively engaged in perpetuating Miamis growth as a cultural hub or are truly redefining their world by bringing into focus socio-political and cultural issues pertinent to the people of African descent in our global community.
"We're really excited about the submissions we've received from local, national and international artists. We're looking forward showcasing an exceptional group of exhibiting artists and galleries from the African Diaspora. We are deeply thankful for the support of Marquis Miami, Frank Frazier, Ms. Deborah Shelton Tynes, Minna Dunn and all of our sponsors for their unwavering support and belief in our project, states Mikhaile Solomon, Founder and Director of Prizm.
PRIZM is the producer of a cutting-edge art fair that is multidisciplinary in scope. Our goal is to expand the spectrum of international artists from the African Diaspora and emerging markets at one of the most prestigious art festivals in the world. PRIZM is the producer of a cutting-edge art fair that is multidisciplinary in scope. As a Miami based art fair workshops and special events will be organized throughout the year to advance the careers of local and regional artists.