Friday, October 30, 2015 The
Critique- Part III
It's been so much fun, we're doing it again!
Please join us as we host The Critique!
Were interested in elevating our conversations about art. We feel
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
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.
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.
The Critique Wednesday November 11th 6:00-9:30
Meet and Greet from 6:00-7:00 Critique starts at 7:00 Facebook
Graham Coreil-Allen, "NPS: The Ragged
Edge of Rockville," 2015; on view at
Kaplan Gallery. (Courtesy Graham Coreil-Allen and VisArts)
By Mark Jenkins September 19
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
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
another leaves the field altogether. Clark also constructed a chess set
whose pieces include skyscrapers and for-sale signs. On a related theme,
Stan Squirewell offers a cluster of dialogue with such remarks as You
sold it for how much? Pens are provided so visitors can add commentary.
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
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.
*How We Lost D.C.* On view through Oct. 31 at Honfleur Gallery,
1241 Good Hope Rd. SE. 202-365-8392. www.honfleurgallery.com.
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!
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
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
*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).
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
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.
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
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.
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
DC 2 MIA!
Washington DC, District of Columbia, United States
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.
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
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.
Major support for WPA comes from its members, Board of Directors, invaluable
volunteers, and by generous contributions from numerous individuals and
the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities, an agency supported in
part by the National Endowment for the Arts, The Morris & Gwendolyn
Cafritz Foundation, Abramson Family Foundation, Asmar, Schor & McKenna
PLLC, Peggy Cooper Cafritz, Capitol Skyline Hotel, The Annie E. Casey
Foundation, Center for Democracy and Technology, The Chesapeake Framing
Company, Clark Construction, DC Office of Planning, Design Cuisine, Raymond
Garcia, Carol Brown Goldberg and Henry Goldberg, Graham Holdings Company,
Gucci, Hickok Cole Architects, Giselle and Ben Huberman, Intel Corporation,
International Association of Privacy Professionals,The JBG Companies,
Kirkland & Ellis LLP, Yvette Kraft, Maphook, Marshfield Associates,
NoMa Business Improvement District, Bill & Alison Paley, William S.
Paley Foundation, Peacock Cafe, ripe, Robert Shapiro, Sheppard, Mullin,
Richter & Hampton LLP, Taproot Foundation, Andres Tremols and Michael
Reamy, Turner Construction, and Vornado/Charles E. Smith & Gould Property
Genius or Gobbledygook? Real Beauty at Carroll
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).
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
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.
Sculptors Draw - Julia Bloom and Amber
March 6, 2014 through March 29, 2014
Opening reception is Saturday, March 8, 6-9 pm with the artists in attendance.
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
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.
Amber Robles-Gordon, Prismatic,
acrylic marker on watercolor paper
Julia Bloom, Monolith I, charcoal
Media contacts: Gail Vollrath at 336-253-6224 or Zofie Lang
Gallery hours are Thursday thru Saturday, noon to 7 pm and
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. catalystartprojects.com Facebook - www.facebook.com/pages/Catalyst-Projects/145025502316089
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
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
(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, 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.
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
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
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.
The art of Amber Robles-Gordon is
the art of Anacostia, quite literally.
Robles-Gordon cobbles together sculptures and canvas
collages from scraps of paper and fabric she finds in the neighborhoods
trash cans and storefront windows. Shes shown her work at
the Honfleur Gallery. Right now, she has a striking wire and fabric
mesh artwork on view near the Deanwood Metro stop.
But as ARCH Development Corporation continues to expand
its constellation of arts destinations in Anacostiathe latest
is the Anacostia Arts Center on Good Hope Road SERobles-Gordon
wonders if her neighborhood will still have room for her.
Theres a tendency to see Anacostia, long on
talent and struggle but short on just about everything else, as
a blank canvas. With the right kinds of art and advertising, the
thinking goes, Anacostia can become a hub for the creative class.
But who gets left out?
The artists here need gallery space, they need
exposure, Robles-Gordon says. I dont want [Anacostia]
to become a shipping factory, where youre just shipping people
in, giving them something, and shipping them back out. Thats
not how you build a community.
Whetherand howa communitys art infrastructure
should aim to draw new people to the neighborhood or serve the people
who already live here (or do a little of both) has animated the
debate over Anacostias cultural scene for 50 years. As District
officials and neighborhood fixtures like ARCH try to use arts institutions
to spark economic growth, that same question is popping up again:
Whom should these organizations try to reach?
In the 1960s, the Smithsonian struggled to attract
Washingtons African American residents to the Mall. So it
decided to bring the arts to them instead <http://siarchives.si.edu/history/anacostia-community-museum>.
The Smithsonians outpost in Anacostia first opened in 1967,
and it was run out of a storefront (the abandoned Carver Theater,
on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE). A neighborhood-based advisory
committee selected which works would show.
The museum hired a photographer to document the neighborhoods
changes; the Carnegie Corporation funded a research center with
the express purpose of taking oral histories from residents. The
result was something of an anomaly in Washington, at the time and
even nowa museum dedicated to promoting east-of-the-river
artists and issues. (One 1969 exhibit documented the rodent problem
in the streets.) But over time the museums mission evolved
from chronicling the neighborhood to examining the African-American
The new ARCH projects, too, are designed to attract
cultural consumers more than a neighborhood-specific space might.
But to make that work, ARCH CEO*Duane Gautier* thinks he needs art
that looks beyond Anacostias borders. I want something
thats cutting-edge, he says. That means recruiting shows
on graffiti, tattoos, or whatever else from across the city, country,
or world. (Already, ARCH runs an international exchange program,
bringing artists-in-residence to stay in Anacostia for a year at
a time.) I dont only want to show only African-American
art, says Gautier, who believes all kinds of people want to
see all kinds of work. Why do you think African American people
only want to see African American art?
Near Fort Stanton Park,*Juanita Britton* also wields
art as a community-development weapon. But though she works directly
with ARCH (and supports their mission), her own gallery is focused
on creating a beautiful space within the neighborhood that will
appeal to Anacostia residents.
Brittons Anacostia Gallery is a colorful mish-mash
of African masks, full-bodied fertility-goddess statues, beaded
drums, and east-of-the-river history booksanything that falls
under the auspices of the African diaspora. In her backyard, there
is the Kwame Nkrumah Garden, named for the 1960s-era Ghanian president
who founded the Organization of African Unity. The gallery, nestled
on a quiet residential street, is Brittons former home.
A Detroit native, Britton has lived in Washington
since the 1980s; she bought the space in 2003. For the next few
years, she painted the house a neon lemon with purple and blue swirls,
filled the front porch with paintings, covered the columns in rainbow
geometric patterns, and refused to put up curtains. Britton wanted
the neighborhood to feel welcome at her monthly dinner parties,
she says. It worked. Though D.C. police stats show there have been
38 violent crime incidents within 1,000 feet of her gallery in the
past year, no one has tried to steal her art or break in. People
left me alone because they thought I did voodoo magic, she
Instead, kids come by after school to twirl one of
the 30 hula hoops she keeps in the back yard. About 150 people stop
by each month, many to browse, some to buy a piece of art. Britton
moved to a nearby place in 2010 and converted her house into an
art space. Today, an Anacostia Gallery sign covers the second-floor
windows. Two signs flash OPEN in bright red. She sees
herself as the dean of the neighborhoods art sceneor
this part of it, at least.
In the two hours Im with her, several locals
drop in to chat, buy Mothers Day cards, or request help promoting
an event. (Britton runs a Facebook page and an email list, and has
been known to put out robocalls to solicit attendees to her events.)
I am of here and from here, she says. I love Anacostia,
I want to pull people up here.
* * *
Eighteen years ago, the Smithsonian Museum was renamed
the Anacostia Museum and Center for African American History and
Culture, reflecting its broader focus. As plans for the Malls
National Museum of African American History and Culture came together,
Anacostias museum again got a new name: the Anacostia Community
Museum. Now, an outpost that had once served only Anacostia would
be dedicated to urban life and what it means to be a community.
Today, alongside some D.C.-focused programming, there
is an exhibit called Reclaiming the Edge: Urban Waterways
and Civic Engagement. The website champions the event as the
inaugural exhibit of the museums reinvention,
celebrating its ability to examine the conservation efforts in Pittsburgh,
Louisville, Los Angeles, and Beijing.
Thats fine with *Bruce McNeil*, a photographer
whos shot in the communities around the Anacostia River for
two decades. He grew up in Anacostia and moved back a decade ago
to help his ailing mother. He describes his work as abstract
expressionism, often blending several images together, tweaking
colors, and hiding jokes among the trees and trash. McNeil has shown
his work at the Anacostia Community Museum; last year he had a pop-up
in ARCHs LUMEN8 festival. His photos have also been featured
at Parish Gallery in Georgetown. His work is about the way the neighborhood
and the river interact, but he likes finding an audience outside
of Anacostia: I appreciate the opportunity to have my work
The key, explains *Jason Anderson*, an actor and music
manager who goes by *Jay Sun*, is balance. When arts organizations
come into a neighborhood, he explains, theyre often pulled
by the creative culture thats already there. So arts companies
have to offer local people a place at the table, even if other seats
are filled by nonlocals.
As a model, he points to the soon-to-open Anacostia
Playhouse, where he, among others, will perform this summer: Theyre
getting our artistic voice in, while still bringing in other companies
and doing more traditional things.
The D.C. Commission on the Arts and
Humanities celebrates the completion of work by local Artist Amber
Robles-Gordon at the Deanwood Recreation Center Library
Beyond the Visual Rainbow
Please Join Us for An Artists Talk Saturday, June 1, 2013
from 1-2pm The Deanwood Recreation Center Library @1350 49th Street,
NE, Washington, D.C. With Opening Remarks by Wanda Aikens, Executive
Director of the Ward 7 Arts Collaborative, Inc.
Beyond the Visual Rainbow is
a large-scale, sculptural, wall hanging. The foundation of the sculpture
is made of chicken wire and consists of hundreds of yards of colored
and textured fabric and different shaped and sized objects. Residents
of the Deanwood Community donated most of the fabric incorporated
into the piece. Through the process of creating this sculpture,
everyday objects developed historical meaning. The design of the
artwork was created to reflect the vibrancy, resiliency, and diversity
of the Deanwood community, past and present. The multi-colored fabrics
honor Deanwoods rich history and its residents strong
engagement and love for their community. Questions? Please contact
the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities 202.724.5613; email@example.com
May 30 - July 14, 2013 Opening Reception,
Sunday, June 2, 4 - 6 pm (free) Hair-Centric Events, Sunday, June
16, noon - 4 pm (free)
Three works from Hair Apparent,
Athenaeum*No Me Without You* (left) Emilia Olsen and Sara
Winston, photography;* Composition 337*, (center) Dagmara Weinberg,
photography and image manipulation; * ** Sauvage*, (right) Kate
Kretz, human hair embroidery on hair
*Hair Apparent* is a multimedia exhibit including
sculpture, photography, assemblage, and performance. The show explores
artists' relationships with hairreferencing cultural perception,
myth, ritual, and memory - and reflections on a private asset as
a public statement.
Represented in *Hair Apparent* are Holly Bass - performance
Shelly Bell - spoken word poetry Emily Biondo - sculpture installation
Stephanie Booth - photography, video, hair embroidery Caryl Burtner
- assemblage Kate Kretz - human hair embroidery Emilia Olson - photography,
works on paper Betsy Packard - sculpture, assemblage Amber Robles
Gordon - sculpture installation Danielle Scruggs - photography Dagmara
Weinberg - photography, image manipulation Sara Winston - photography
The opening reception on Sunday,
June 2 from 4:00 to 6:00 (free) will feature an opportunity for
attendees to participate in Richmond artist Caryl Burtner's work
as an interactive installation.
On Sunday, June 16 from noon to 4:00 a variety of
Hair-Centric Events (free) will be staged in the gallery. Holly
Bass will perform Come Clean, a ritualized performance in which
strangers are invited to wash the artist's hair and engage in structured
dialogue. By allowing others to wash her hair, the artist evokes
the relationship between mother and child, as well as ideas of culture,
identity, privacy, pleasure, renewal and surrender. Shelly Bell
will perform her spoken word poetry and add a tactile component
to the events. And Amber Robles Gordon will invite attendees to
participate in her elaborate Hair Shrine.
Athenaeum 201 Prince Street, Alexandria, Va 22314
703.548.0035 / nvfaa.org
We invite you to join us Thursday, Friday and Sunday
from 12 to 4 pm, and Saturdays from 1 to 4 pm. The Athenaeum is
closed on holidays. Admission is free.
The NVFAA is partially supported by funding from
the Virginia Commission for the Arts, the National Endowment for
the Arts, and the Alexandria Commission for the Arts.The NVFAA is
committed to compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
To request a reasonable accommodation or materials in an alternative
format contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 703.548.0035.
Subtle attention-seekers without strings By
Michael O'Sullivan Friday, January 4, 2013
Delusions of Grandeur seems about right for the name
of an artists collective showing in a hole in the wall in
Located on the second floor of the Gateway Arts Center,
the 39th Street Gallery is a 450-square-foot box that has been known
to put on pretty cool little shows, including a recent micro-retrospective
of the great D.C. painter Manon Cleary, who died last year. But
the National Gallery of Art it is not.
Still, who knows where the five artists who make up
Delusions of Grandeur will be showing 40 years from now? That is
sort of the point.
The exhibition, No Strings Attached, features
a mere two artworks by each of the five artists (with the exception
of Wesley Clark, whose contribution is a handsome installation of
50 plywood boxes, scored with a kind of crudely beautiful, graffiti-like
calligraphy). The small sampling is enough to get a sense of the
individual artists, whose diverse styles -- true to the shows
name -- have little to do with one another.
Among the most arresting pieces are two portraits
by Jamea Richmond-Edwards. Virtually unreproducible in photographs,
the drawings depict the faces of two black women. The manner in
which theyre made -- mostly dark ink, chalk pastel and colored
pencil on dark black boards -- render their subjects all but invisible,
unless one stands in just the right place, with the gallery lights
hitting the surface just so.
Its an apt metaphor for the theme of visibility
that Richmond-Edwardss works seem to traffic in. The larger
show takes on that theme, too. The young artists featured in No
Strings Attached are African American. The question of race,
in the context of the art establishment, seems to percolate just
below the shows surface.
Take Stanley Squirewells digital prints. In
each, a naked black man can be seen posing, almost hiding, behind
works of modernist geometric abstraction. The implication -- that
the African American artist has a fraught, and perhaps contentious,
engagement with the art canon -- is clear.
That theme is echoed in the work of Shaunte Gates,
whose surrealistic collage Bulls Eye features
a gun-toting black youth against a dreamlike landscape populated
by classical statuary.
Like Clarks scarified wooden cubes, the work
of Amber Robles-Gordon doesnt seem particularly concerned
with race. Her two assemblages of dangling ribbon and brightly colored
string suggest an interest in gender over skin color. Theyre
tied -- albeit loosely -- to the legacy of the Washington Color
School, though in a medium often associated with the so-called womens
work of sewing.
The story behind Delusions of GrandeurBy Michael OSullivan Friday, January 4,
You have to be delusional to want
to be an artist, says Amber Robles-Gordon, who,
with Shaunte Gates and Jamea Richmond-Edwards, debuted
as the art collective Delusions of Grandeur with two
back-to-back exhibitions in the summer of 2011. Originally
funded by a grant from the D.C. Commission on the Arts
and Humanities, the group has expanded to five members
with the addition of Wesley Clark and Stanley Squirewell.
As tough as it is for anyone to make it
as an artist, Robles-Gordon says it can be tougher for
artists of color. Its also tough, she believes,
for artists struggling to balance careers and parenthood.
(Several members of the group have young children.)
Amber Robles-Gordons show at Pleasant
Plains Workshop is called Wired, but fabric is
the principal ingredient. Working entirely with found objects,
the Caribbean-rooted local artist arrays ribbons and scraps
on (mostly) wire frameworks. The result is a riot of colors
and patterns, evoking the tropics while playing on the contrast
between the rigid frames and malleable fabric. In such pieces
as Dynasty, the tightly clumped tatters suggest
both thick vegetation and the rhythms and hues of island life.
Although Robles-Gordon does sometimes bend the
found frameworks to achieve the basic contour she wants, a
few of the pieces still seem a little haphazard. The most
appealing works are the ones built on recognizable shapes,
notably And So It Is. Here, the colorful remnants
hang on a gold-painted bicycle wheel, giving form to the patchwork.
The artist has compared this piece to a family crest, but
even without the personal connotations, the abundance of tones
and textures is pungent.
One link between the three young, local artists
featured in Delusions of Grandeur: Ascension is
African American identity. Another is fabric. Amber Robles-Gordon
(whose work was reviewed by The Post in July) makes abstract
hanging assemblages that feature ribbons and scraps. Jamea
Richmond-Edwards does idealized portraits that incorporate
textiles, sequins and bows. Shaunte Gates includes bits of
cloth and other found materials in allegorical paintings that
draw on the tradition of biblically themed medieval and Renaissance
canvases, but also sometimes suggest the heroic poses of sci-fi
and comic-book characters.
The artists chose the exhibitions title,
and in a statement explain that it refers to the delusions
of grandeur that each artist possesses in order to continue
progressing . . . in their artwork. The ascension
part comes from one of Gatess paintings, which depict
muscular men who are both divine and debased, as likely to
sprout wings as to wear to a crown of barbed wire. His figures
are rendered realistically, as are some of his settings, notably
the urban alley shown in January 6, 1956: Time Traveler.
But other backdrops are wilder, sometimes verging on abstract
expressionism. May 28, 2004: Lost One shows a
man plunging into a loosely rendered whirlpool, as if diving
into the picture plane itself.
Richmond-Edwardss work is more formal.
Faces, penciled in shades of gray, combine African American
features with the somber bearing of Greco-Roman sculpture.
Many of the countenances are identical, giving the work a
paper-doll quality. These visages are surrounded by bright
colors and patterns, and adorned with a rose-petal print in
various colors. If the result seems a little too fashion-schooled,
clothing is a part of cultural identity. Playing dress-up
is one way that people define, or redefine, themselves.
2011 combines minimal and conceptual art By Mark Jenkins,
Published: October 13, 2011
For its 30th annual survey exhibition, Options
2011, the Washington
Project for the Arts has temporarily claimed a floor of
an industrial building near the Convention Center. The space
gives the show curated by Arlington Arts Center Executive
Director Stefanie Fedor room for large, dramatic pieces,
as well as the expected painting, photography and video. The
work ranges from computer animation and fabric art
including Amber Robles-Gordons third gallery showcase
of the last six months to issues of Bittersweet, a
new magazine that covers social issues of non-federal D.C.
Many of the 13 artists combine the minimal and
the conceptual. John James Anderson combines sculpture made
from lumber, nails, screws and carpentry tools, with commentary
about hiring immigrant day laborers to work with him. Stewart
Watson impales pillows with steel rods to make site-specific,
anxiety-ridden events. Lisa Dillins photographs
and sculptures coolly parody corporate environments and mindsets.
Heather Boaz renders the commonplace eerie by photographing
toy furniture posed on or near body parts such as eyes and
knees, as well as less commonly displayed ones.
Among the shows most engaging work are
monumental pieces that mock artistic monumentality. Artemis
Herber is showing shell-like forms that look to be made of
rusted steel, evoking the sculptural colossuses of Richard
Serra and Anthony Caro, along with pillars whose shapes are
modeled on fallen trees (although theyre painted a shade
of green thats more redolent of celery than forests).
But Herbers work is made of cardboard; that rusty patina
Jasper Johns: Variations on a Theme at the Phillips
Collection through September 9, 2012. Discussion with Robert
Aubry Davis, Amber Robles-Gordon, and Bill Dunlap.
Join the circle of prominent art, theater and
film critics who make WETA Around Town your one source for
the latest Washington-area reviews and recommendations.
WETA Around Town video segments are broadcast
on TV 26 in between programs, nightly prior to the 7:00 pm
program, and weeknights prior to Charlie Rose.
You can also subscribe to the WETA Around Town
podcast and automatically receive the latest reviews each
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or visiting our video portal. www.weta.org/tv/local/aroundtown
Beyond the Big Chair New galleries and community
spaces pop up east of the river
Washingtons newest arts enclave isnt
tucked away in Georgetown, or even on burgeoning H Street.
Its east of the river, in Anacostia. The area
once known as Nacotchtank, after the first Native American
settlers of the region has a long history of creative
expression. Go-go music was born here; graffiti by street
artists such as BK Adams (the man behind all those I AM ART
wheatpasted posters around the city) dot the walls of buildings.
But unlike Shaw, with its recently reopened Howard Theatre,
or H Street, anchored by the refurbished Atlas Performing
Arts Center, Anacostia has lacked the arts infrastructure
to draw visitors.
That is changing. In the past five years or
so, a handful of small-but-vibrant galleries have sprung up,
complemented by a smattering of new public art pieces and
festivals celebrating a homegrown arts scene. LUMEN8Anacostia,
a wide-ranging fest that ran over three months this spring,
brought dozens of artists, performers and temporary arts spaces
together and received encouraging media coverage.
Anacostia is emerging as a cultural hub,
says Josef Palermo, who works with the Pink Line Project,
a group that organizes events promoting local arts across
D.C. Palermo moved to Anacostia in 2008. At the time,
there were not a lot of restaurants, really no nightlife to
speak of, he recalls. Now, a revitalization is
That energy comes, in part, from a flurry of
investment by groups such as the ARCH Development Corporation.
The organization, founded in 1991 to help the areas
homeless, has increasingly put resources into local arts to
infuse new life into the neighborhood. It sponsors three closely
clustered galleries Honfleur Gallery, Vivid Solutions
and Blank Space SE along with HIVE, a shared workspace
for freelancers. We want to draw on local and international
resources, says Phil Hutinet, chief operating officer
of ARCH. We want to showcase what will really become
the future arts district of the city.
That means highlighting works by artists such
as Amber Robles-Gordon, a sculptor and mixed-media artist.
Robles-Gordon has lived in Anacostia for 15 years. For
me, theres an energy that I get from the area,
she says. When she paints on her porch, children scurry up
and ask what shes doing. Every once in awhile, she scours
her neighborhood for old fliers and scrap paper, pieces she
recycles into her own work.
Not long ago, Robles-Gordon whos
shown at several international galleries had to travel
to Northwest or even into Maryland to show her work locally
and connect with other artists. With galleries such as Honfleur
as an anchor, thats shifting. Now, more of us
know about each other, she says. You have a working-class
group of people more like a creative class. Its about
us coming together and finding each other.
Behind the Scenes at the Anacostia Community
Museum Though the Anacostia Community Museum is undergoing
renovations until July 29, it is still offering public programs
such as a behind-the-scenes tour. Guides will focus
on the 45-year-old museums evolving role in the community.
Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum, 1901 Fort Place SE;
July 13, 10 a.m., free; 202-633-4820. (Anacostia)
Citified: Arts and Creativity East of the Anacostia
River The creative history of Anacostia gets spotlighted at
this years Smithsonian Folklife Festival with a full
schedule of events. African dancers and drummers, church choirs,
hip-hop artists and go-go bands will perform, and storytellers
will tell neighborhood tales. Tattoo artists will demonstrate
their craft, as will members of a multigenerational quilting
guild. National Mall; through July 8, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., free;
202-633-1000, Festival.si.edu. (Smithsonian)
Public Art East of the River Walking Tour Explore
the history of Anacostias public and street art with
Deidra Bell, as she leads a walking tour of neighborhood gems
includ-ing Martha Jackson-Jarvis river-themed mosaics
and Uzikee Nelsons quirky metal sculptures, left. Smithsonian
Anacostia Community Museum, 1901 Fort Place, SE; July 10,
10 a.m., free; 202-633-4820. (Anacostia)
Inside Outside The U.S. has the highest incarceration
rate in the world, with more than 5 million Americans in prison.
In Washington, the numbers are even more stark: Three out
of four young black men will serve time in prison. Artist
Gabriela Bulisova, whose work is pictured below, chronicles
the experience of the incarcerated through photography. The
Gallery at Vivid Solutions, 2208 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave.
SE; July 13-Sept. 28, free; 202-365-8392. (Anacostia)
East of the River Exhibit From July 13 through
Sept. 8, Honfleur Gallery will host its sixth annual local
juried show, a great primer to the neighborhoods hottest
artists with key pieces that explore the neighborhoods
social, environmental and historical challenges. Honfleur
Gallery, 1241 Good Hope Road SE; July 13-Sept. 8, free; 202-365-8392.
With Every Fiber of My Being Amber Robles-Gordon
Opening Reception: March 9, 2012 at 7pm Exhibition Dates:
March 9 to April 27, 2012
Honfleur Gallery is proud to present a solo
exhibit of mixed media artist, Amber Robles-Gordon, opening
on March 9th. With Every Fiber of My Being, Robles-Gordons
will showcase textile assemblages on canvas, found objects
and other sculpture forms.
In recent years Amber has shown at Pleasant
Plains Workshop, Parish Gallery and Options 2011 Biennial
Showcase with Washington Project on the Arts. Ive
watched Ambers career grow these last few years and
realized in the fall, it was time for a solo exhibit of her
work here in Anacostia. We worked together a few years ago
on a pop up space and since than have kept her projects on
my radar, said Beth Ferraro, Honfleurs Creative
Director. This summer will be our Sixth Annual East
of the River Exhibit, but Ambers solo exhibit is a step
in the right direction for local talents and Honfleur Gallery.
Robles-Gordon was also selected for a DC Creates Public Art
grant for the Deanwood Recreation Center, from DC Commission
on the Arts and Humanities in 2010-2011.
The new works included in With Every Fiber of
My Being will highlight the intrinsically personal themes
Robles-Gordon explores in her art through its incorporation
of re-purposed second-hand materials such as clothing and
accessories. The artist draws connections between her use
of personal found items; the idea that varied elements come
together to make one individual in work that is marked by
her bold use of color and rhythmic melding of disparate objects.
Robles-Gordon earned a MFA from Howard University
in May 2011, and has lived and made art in Southeast DC for
the past 13 years.
Honfleur Gallery is a contemporary art space
located in Historic Anacostia that focuses on exhibitions
from the USA and abroad. It is a project of the ARCH Development
Corporation, whose mission is to act as a catalyst for local
cultural and economic revitalization. Honfleur Gallery opened
in 2007 and is located at 1241 Good Hope Road SE, Washington
DC 20020. More details: www.honfleurgallery.com
Fibers, Filaments, and Fragments:
Amber Robles-Gordon and the Deconstruction of Self By Jessica
The power of a fiber rests within the nature
of its unitary value. The interconnectivity of fibers creates
a whole, an object that comes into existence because of the
unification of its parts. Memory, personhood, and identity
are conflated with the materiality of our things- our fashions,
our gadgets, the products we buy, the things we keep and the
detritus we discard. Our sense of being can be
discovered with a thorough examination of what we leave behind.
What we value, things we remember, in the modern world, material
culture is the conduit to the self. In the meticulously rendered
textile and mixed media sculptures of the exhibition With
Every Fiber of My Being, artist Amber Robles-Gordon
destabilizes the power of the fiber in its familiar context
of object-hood, by restructuring the parameters with which
the viewers come to understand it; fibers and filaments transform
into representations of a deeper sense of ones personal
memory and self-constituted identity.
The intentional fragmentation of an object conveys
an act of disjuncture- a ripping apart, a shredding of, a
tearing up- of familiarity, of stability, of normality. So,
what happens when this disjuncture becomes a repetitive act
of labor in self-rendering? Binaries explode. Polarizations
collide. Linear understandings of histories become a painterly,
disjointed pointillism. Robles-Gordon destabilizes the specificity
of our stuff- lace adorned dresses, rackets, worn
t-shirts, beaded bracelets, badminton balls, etc.- and threads
together a reformed sense of self through abstracted amalgamations
of material culture. In Air, Water, and Earth. Layers of Self,
Robles-Gordons mixed media sculpture reshapes disparate
parts and fragments into lines of color that coalesce in a
circular form. Principles of abstraction are still at play
in this sculptural entanglement. Excised from objects disjoined
from their past modalities, filaments function as undulating
lines of color across the picture plane. Grid-like wires attempt
to contain the rotund mass, creating a vivid, precarious sense
of tension and fragility. It is in this moment of contained
visual clutter and chaos, in which power is reassigned and
the accepted meaning or constitution of object-hood is simultaneously
bifurcated into its past and re-situated at the limen- a space
of betweenness where agency flourishes and categories collapse.
The condition of the postmodern and millennial
artist is also situated at the liminal space of particularity,
where sampling and fragmentation meet at the axis of hybridity.
Furthermore, contemporary practitioners like Egypt-born, New
York-based Ghada Amer, as well as South African artists Nicholas
Hlobo and Nandipha Mntambo, have taken to the act of immolating
textiles and objects to reconstruct notions of gender, sexuality,
and personal identity. Through tedious and laborious acts
of puncture, stitching, and re-binding fragments, the artist
could possibly regain control of representation and the deconstruction
of self vis-à-vis the destruction of object-hood. In
short, the artist can reconstitute the self through reassigning
the meaning and function of parts of things ripped apart and
ruptured. This new modality and materiality relies upon
the vocabulary of fibers and filaments strung and threaded
along to chart new spaces of visual memory and selfhood.Jessica
With Every Fiber of My Being Amber Robles-Gordon
MARCH 9 APRIL 27 2012 Honfleur Gallery 1241
Good Hope Road SE · Washington DC 20020 · 202-365-8392
Hours: Tuesday-Friday 12-5 · Saturdays 11-5 ·
And by appointment http://www.honfleurgallery.com/
With Every Fiber of My Being
By Amber Robles-Gordon
The phrase With Every Fiber of My Being
captures the energy I bring to my creative process, my artwork,
and how I relate to life. Fibers, are everywhere in
the body, they work in intricately bounded bundles to funnel
and connect the life force with information and nutrients
that sustain a fully functioning organism1.
I create with every fiber of my being,
because I have to and because it brings me joy. Starting
at the bundles of axons within my brain, to every hair fiber
and through the nerves of my muscles, a network of fibers
precisely distributed throughout wants to see, smell, hear,
taste, and create, art.
In this series, I am interested in creating
a visual representation of the pieces that make up the mental,
physical, spiritual and emotional aspects that make one human.
I use personal items: parts of old purses, jeans, jackets,
and jewelry. As well as stamps, post cards, and old cd cover
artwork. Most of these things will be recognizable at first
glance. Although, I hope that some items wont be, at
least at first. My intent is show the process of creating
and exploring the layers of ones self, one fiber at
time. Then to notice a bundle, and then to see, and identify
the life source that flow within each piece of art. Ultimately
to the view the whole body artwork as living, breathing organisms.
With Every Fiber of my Being refers to
my overall beliefs that creating art is a means of promoting
healing. Creating textile work is a very precise and time-consuming
task: Every tile, piece of paper, cloth, or stitch of thread
must be properly placed in order to craft the intended compacted
mosaic of information. Hence, there are very few visual resting
points with in a portion of these works. This is intentional,
because when do the fibers of our being ever rest.
I will present a body of mixed media on canvas
and sculptural textile works. The majority of the artwork
will be a combination of found objects and other fiber products
sewn or adhered to canvas. Additional works will be sculptural
mixed media on canvas forms and mixed media on other found
ARTSLANT'S SPECIAL EDITION
New York Armory Week #2
ARTSLANT INSIDER* - Amber Robles-Gordon
"Lace", 2010, Mixed Media on canvas, 36 x 36.
Amber Robles-Gordon - Amber Robles-Gordons
preferred medium is collage and assemblage. She focuses on
fusing found objects to convey personal memories, inspired
by nature, womanhood, and her belief in recycling energy and
materials. Robles-Gordon completed her MFA from Howard University
in Dec., 2010. Since then, several of her exhibitions have
been reviewed in the Washington Post. She has recently been
selected to present for the Under the Influence competition
as part of the 30 Americans exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery
Amber has been commissioned by
the Smithsonian Anacostia Museum, WETA Television and AlJazeera
to teach workshops, give commentary and present about her
artwork. She was commissioned by the DC Commission on the
Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) to create a mural and granted
an apprenticeship to create a public art installation.
Americans: Under the Influence Thursday,
November 17, 2011, 6-9 p.m. Frances and Armand Hammer Auditorium,
Corcoran Gallery of Art
Featuring 30 Americans artist
John Bankston and presentations by Mazin Abdelhameid, Cedric
Baker, Holly Bass, Tom Block, Wesley Clark, Michele Coburn,
Lori Crawford, Gary Lockwood/ Freehand Profit, Carrie Nobles,
Jamea Richmond-Edward, and Amber Robles-Gordon
Presented by the Corcoran Contemporaries
and Washington Project for the Arts
Join us for an evening celebrating local artists
and the artists of 30 Americans! Under the Influence will
feature eleven artists giving five-minute presentations about
their work and the influence one of the artists in 30 Americans
has had on their artistic practice. 30 Americans artist John
Bankston selected the eleven artists from an open call and
will begin the evening with a short presentation about his
own work and influences.
Under the Influence highlights the influence
of the artists of 30 Americans on the work of up-and-coming
artists and invites the audience to engage with artists and
their work in an exciting, innovative way. The presentations
will be followed by a reception and viewing of 30 Americans.
above images, clockwise from left: Jamea
Richmond-Edwards, I am Here (detail), 2009, Ink, acrylic,
graphite and collaged paper on canvas; Kerry James Marshall,
Untitled (detail), 2009, Acrylic on PVC; Holly Bass,
African Futures: DC, 2010, Photo documentation of live
performance, photo by Rosina Photography; Kara Walker, Slavery!
Slavery! Presenting a GRAND and LIFELIKE Panoramic...
(detail), 1997, Cut paper and adhesive on wall
WPA is supported by its members,
Board of Directors, invaluable volunteers, and by generous
contributions from numerous individuals and the William C.
Paley Foundation, The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation,
Susan & Dixon Butler, Giselle & Benjamin Huberman,
Abramson Family Foundation, Carolyn Alper, Akridge, Arent
Fox LLP, The Athena Foundation, Bernstein Family Foundation,
Liz & Tim Cullen, Caroline Fawcett & Tom O'Donnell,
Sandra & James Fitzpatrick, Carol Brown Goldberg &
Henry H. Goldberg, Corri Goldman & Michael Spivey, Haleh
Design, Hickok Cole Architects, Betsy Karel, Yvette Kraft,
Aimee & Robert Lehrman, Stephanie & Keith Lemer/WellNet
Healthcare, Marshfield Associates, Carol & David Pensky,
Susan Pillsbury, Heather & Tony Podesta, Richard Seaton
& Dr. John Berger, Sidley Austin Foundation, Robert Shields
Interiors, TTR Sotheby's International Realty, Vivo Design,
Alexia & Roderick von Lipsey, The Washington Post Company,
and William Wooby.
Washington Project for the
Arts is pleased to announce OPTIONS 2011, Amber Robles-Gordon
Exhibition Dates: September
15 - October 29, 2011 Exhibition Location: 629 New York
Avenue, NW, 2nd Floor, Washington, DC Opening Reception:
Thursday, September 15, 6-8pm Curators Talk: Saturday, October
Washington Project for the Arts
is pleased to announce OPTIONS 2011, the fourteenth installment
of WPA's biennial exhibition of emerging and unrepresented
artists from DC, Maryland, and Virginia. OPTIONS 2011 will
take place from September 15 through October 29, 2011 at
629 New York Avenue, NW, 2nd floor, Washington, DC. Highlighting
the breadth and diversity of contemporary art practice in
the area, OPTIONS 2011 will include work by fourteen artists
selected by curator Stefanie Fedor.
Participating artists include:
John James Anderson (Washington, DC), Bittersweet Zine (Washington,
DC), Heather Boaz (Baltimore, MD), Amy Chan (Baltimore,
MD), Mahwish Chishty (Hyattsville, MD), Lisa Dillin (Baltimore,
MD), Adam Dwight (Takoma Park, MD), Twig Harper (Baltimore,
MD), Artemis Herber (Owings Mills, MD), Katherine Mann (Washington,
DC), Jimmy Miracle (Washington, DC), Amber Robles-Gordon
(Washington, DC), Oscar Santillan (Richmond, VA), and Stewart
Watson (Baltimore, MD).
Young black professionals:
The new face of gentrification
Anacostia, a neighborhood once synonymous with
crime and violence, now offers yoga studios and chai lattes.
Young black professionals are spurring development and gentrification
of Ward 8.
Amber Robles-Gordon works in the living room
of her Anacostia home. Gordon earned an Master of Fine Arts
degree from Howard University.
In addition to making art, Gordon teaches yoga
at Anacostias Spirit Anacostia Health and Wellness Center.
Her commute to work is 10 minutes.
Amber Robles-Gordon displays her work at the
Pleasant Plains Workshop, a shared studio space on Georgia
Shaunté Gates, Amber Robles-Gordon
and Jamea Richmond-Edwards
Shaunté Gates. In my
dreams II. 2011 Amber Robles-Gordon Peacock. 2011 Jamea Richmond-Edwards
Parish Gallery Exhibition:
August 19- September12, 2011
Reception: August 19, 2011
WASHINGTON, DC- Parish Gallery, in conjunction
with the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities is pleased
to present an exhibition by three artists Shaunté
Gates, Jamea Richmond-Edwards and Amber Robles-Gordon, Delusions
of Grandeur: Ascension. This show will open with a reception
from 6:00-8:00 pm on Friday, August 19th, and will run through
September 16th, 2011.
This exhibition is the result of an artistic
dialog about the delusions of grandeur they each
possess in order to continue progressing in their careers
and most importantly in their artwork. Ascension, the act
of rising to an important position or a higher level, is the
theme adapted for this current body of work. Each artist presents
their individual interpretation of the act of ascending.
Artists Shaunté Gates work combines multiple
processes and genres, by taking appropriations and gestures
from pop culture and print media which are combined to create
elusive narratives. Gates works seduce us into an imaginary
world of juxtaposition and fantasy, a place when the contradictions
of culture and the human psyche are collided. His mixed media
paintings capture the beauty in subjects that may appear bleak
to the average eye at first glance. Gates ideas are derived
from the pain, joy, and the beautiful way everything universally
Jamea Richmond-Edwards work explores the contradictions
of female and cultural identity and with reference to Greek
Mythology, African folklore and international fashion. Richmond-
Edwards examine how mythologies from ancient times translate
into todays culture and time allegorically. Her figures
are empowered by their survivalist adaptation to circumstance.
Their sharp features are inspired by both high fashion models
and the everyday women in her community.
Amber Robles-Gordon mixed media artworks draw
upon her journey through motherhood, genealogy, healing, and
being alive today. They represent her technical and scholarly
growth as an artist, and are supported by her professional
development in the Washington, DC area. Her two- and three-dimensional
pieces it within an expansive notion of painting and sculptural
form. She uses stretched canvas to support an accumulation
of media in low- or sharp-relief. These assemblages require
a close look to interpret their individual parts. Collectively,
these parts form a visual energy comprised of the previous
lives of the objects, their former owners, and
the artists hand.
Parish Gallery primarily, but not exclusively,
represents contemporary visual artists of significance from
Africa and the African Diaspora. In selecting art and artists,
Parish Gallery exercises high ethical, curatorial and market
selection standards, catering to the spirit of social preservation
and regeneration in collecting the art. Parish Gallery is
open Tuesday thru Saturday from noon to 6:00 PM or by appointment.
Parish Gallery 1054 31 Street NW Washington,
Wild Fabric: Washington Post
Review of Wired exhibition
Amber Robles-Gordons show at Pleasant
Plains Workshop is called Wired, but fabric is
the principal ingredient. Working entirely with found objects,
the Caribbean-rooted local artist arrays ribbons and scraps
on (mostly) wire frameworks. The result is a riot of colors
and patterns, evoking the tropics while playing on the contrast
between the rigid frames and malleable fabric. In such pieces
as Dynasty, the tightly clumped tatters suggest
both thick vegetation and the rhythms and hues of island life.
Although Robles-Gordon does sometimes bend the
found frameworks to achieve the basic contour she wants, a
few of the pieces still seem a little haphazard. The most
appealing works are the ones built on recognizable shapes,
notably And So It Is. Here, the colorful remnants
hang on a gold-painted bicycle wheel, giving form to the patchwork.
The artist has compared this piece to a family crest, but
even without the personal connotations, the abundance of tones
and textures is pungent.
In Fall 2010, film and anthropology students
from American Universitys School of Communication and
College of Arts and Sciences, working with the Smithsonian
Anacostia Community Museum, assisted community artists in
Southeast Washington to create their own original digital
In this class, COMMUNITY DOCUMENTARY: Stories
of Transformation, storytellers use photographs, family documents,
community archives, and their own voice to create first-person
Amber Robles-Gordon received some blunt criticism
during her graduate studies when she was told she couldnt
seem to separate herself from her artwork. Robles-Gordon became
introspective, and identified why shes so entrenched
in her art.
"I really enjoyed the experience.
Lena was wonderful, we really clicked. We became friends,
exchanging stories and music." - Amber Robles-Gordon
EXHIBITION: Amber Robles-Gordon, WIRED curated
by Kristina Bilonick June 18 - July 16, 2011 Opening Reception:
Sat. June 18, 6-9pm
Pleasant Plains Workshop is pleased to present
a solo project, Wired, by artist, Amber Robles-Gordon. Robles-Gordon
recently received her MFA from Howard University and works
in mixed media, textile, photography, and painting.
For this exhibition, Robles-Gordon has transformed
found objects with ribbons, gimp, fabric, wire and other materials
to create exciting wall works that explore patterns, color
and material. The works also speak to her cultural identity
which is influenced by Caribbean, Latin-American, and African-American
Please join us for the opening on June 18th,
from 6-9 PM.
Amber Robles-Gordon: The Sweet
Glitter Juju of Life
Amber Robles-Gordons work is deeply personal.
Her mixed media paintings and sculptures draw upon her journey
through motherhood, genealogy, healing, and being alive today.
They represent her technical and scholarly growth as an artist,
and are inspired by her professional development in the Washington,
DC area. A recent graduate of the Howard University MFA Program
(2010), Robles-Gordon is a board member of Black Artists of
DC (BADC), and takes part in a diverse and multigenerational
arts community. She is also an arts advocate who participates
in several cross-cultural and cross-town initiatives that
characterize Washington, DCs history of individual and
grassroots organizational support for artists. Robles-Gordon
has expressed that this rigorous and nurturing technical and
conceptual dialogue has enriched her artistic process and
her life; it has affected her approach to materials, techniques,
and her vision as an artist. She notes the influence of many
artists who have inspired her to see art-making as a profound
engagement with oneself and the world.
Her two- and three-dimensional pieces fit within
an expansive notion of painting and sculptural form. She uses
wood or painted, stretched canvas, or chicken wire to support
an accumulation of media in low- or sharp-relief. These assemblages
require a close look to interpret their individual parts.
Collectively, each object contributes to the palpable energy
of the overall piecehinting at their previous functions
and the ?lives? of their former ownersconfigured by
the artists hands.
Robles-Gordon gathers and reshapes the sweet
glitter juju of life into her work. Individual moments, personal
vignettes, and more universal themes are equally woven into
it. She examines spirituality, the phenomena of childbirth
and motherhood, and the assignment of value to every little
thing. She considers the blessings and burdens of femininity,
and what it means to be a woman. She recycles fragments of
garments, handbags, and accessories to engage the ways that
these vanity objectsoften used to define beautyare
also traps. She explores various metaphysical systems as a
source of inspiration after an accident gave her the opportunity
to test her faith and healing ability. Glitter-coated streams
of paint add sparkle and shine to a range of discarded or
thrifted objects. She breaks them down and reassembles them
into collaged arrangements that are influenced by artists
such as Romare Bearden, James Brown, Francine Haskins, Frida
Kahlo, Georges Seurat, Frank Smith, and Alma Thomas. Robles-Gordon
fuses varied influences into compositions that balance blank
space, color, and hyper-materiality. She creates a subtle
tension, and the possibility of opposing readings in her placement
of assemblaged elements amidst dripping paintwhich may
represent the lyrical expression of painful experiences. These
works belong to the series Milked, and simulate the outstretched
wings of birds-in-flight against blue or yellow skies, butterflies,
or the seductive curves of womens undergarments. Her
affinity for lacy details, gloves, doilies, slips, and purses
consist of a range of past and present accessories and small
objects of home décor. She chooses from thingsher
own and othersto pull apart and reform; to give
new life, and to scatter between various works like a sprinkling
of fairy dust.
She plays with notions of masculine and feminine
energy (as objectified) to address distinctions between the
admiration of beauty, and its ethereal source or essence.
Found dragonflies, dolls, deconstructed fan parts, remote
controls, billiard balls, trophies, curling irons, hood ornaments,
handles, and sparkly red childrens maryjanes refer to
male/female dynamics, and popular culture references, like
fairy princesses, Oz, and what it may mean to be ?behind
the eight ball.
Robles-Gordons collage sensibilities were
influenced by artist-activist Romare Bearden (1901 1988).
Beardens prolific work in collage shaped a visual narrative
style that conveyed a palpable sense of 20th-century black
life in America. Robles-Gordon states: I identify with Beardens
collages because I employ similar techniques and processes
of cutting, pasting, reconstructing forms, faces, and concepts
from photographs, magazines, and other paper sources to convey
a message. I interpret his method and collages as a form of
visual journaling. Through making collages, I have established
a relationship between texture, symmetry, harmony, and compositional
Inspired by Mexican surrealist, Frida Kahlo
(1907-1954), Robles-Gordon considers Kahlos ability
to overcome tragedy, illness, and grief as an expression of
her strength, and its role as a source for her paintings.
As one of the best-known women artists of the early 20th-century,
Kahlo used lifes obstacles as a way to hone and articulate
her artistic voice:
Kahlo was a master at rendering her dreams,
pain, and innermost thoughts and feelings. I am inspired
by her personal connection to her art and its role within
her life. Further, her artistic treatment of women and the
depiction of her traumatic life have influenced my desire
to create works reflective of my experiences as a woman.
In Bearden and Kahlo, Robles-Gordon discovered
the arts to be a meaningful ways to convey personal narratives
and relevant sociopolitical issues. She admires each artists
work as an embodiment of cultural pride, and as a means to
stake a position on identity, subjugation, and giving voice
to the voiceless. By combining personal elements with timeless
and universal themes, Robles-Gordon uses collage, and non-traditional
painterly devices to examine contemporary social issues: accumulation
and waste, beauty and femininity, motherhood, spirituality,
and the nonsensical or unexplainable juxtapositions that characterize
In the work of pioneering abstract painter Alma
Thomas (1891-1978), Robles-Gordon reflects upon Thomass
interpretation of primary color schemes, geometry, and composition.
From French artist Georges Seurats (1859-1891), she
learned about the process of optical color mixing. Robles-Gordon
Thomas left small spaces of white canvas
in between her brush strokes, creating the appearance of
mosaics or stained glasswork.... [By studying this,] I began
to evaluate the value, purpose, and aesthetic aspects of
my art.... [Seurat] used white space to enhance the perception
of color. He created a technique called pointillism,
in which an image is rendered using tiny dots of primary
and secondary colors. When the image is viewed from afar,
the eye fuses the colors and creates intermediate colors.
She applied these concepts of color and technique
to a body of untitled works in the series, Identification
of the Matrix Grid. Begun in 2004, these pieces evolved from
an artistic inquiry that used grid structures to create multi-colored
layered matrices based on squares or rectangles. She cites
Thomas and Seurat as sources for her grids: In my early works,
I used torn, colored paper to create figurative paper mosaic
compositions. Ripping the paper revealed its white fiber pulp,
and provided areas of white space between each portion of
color. Many of my paper mosaics appear from afar to look like
Thomass paintings until you come closer and see the
texture of overlapping paper. The manner in which Thomas and
Seurat used color and white space has influenced the way I
visually perceive color and has informed my placement of color
in the majority of these works.
As a member of BADC, Robles-Gordon has positioned
her art as a part of an artist community that values African-inspired
techniques and philosophies as a tool for exploring personal
and artistic awareness. Her series, Cosmic Black, was created
for the 2009 BADC exhibition, The Black Exhibit. Like the
20th-century exhibitions devoted to the color black as an
expression of the sociopolitical issues associated with blackness,
the focus of this show was to reinforce principles such as
?black is beautiful? and the positive attributes of the color.
Within BADC, fiber and textile artist James
Brown, and mixed-media artist Francine Haskins have inspired
Robles-Gordons professional development. In Brown and
Haskins, Robles- Gordon appreciates how each artist has contributed
to an expansive understanding of the possibilities of textiles,
fiber arts, and found objects in her own work. She also sees
the work of artist, professor, and AfriCOBRA member, Frank
Smith as an inspiration for developing mixed- media canvases
and sculptures that combine sewing and painting. The physicality
of Smiths work comes from layers of painted, cross-hatched
squares, stamps, or other materials featured in kinetic arrangements.
The wall-mounted draped textiles in her series, Heal Thyself
Series, pay homage to Smiths quilted paintings, his
use of space and brilliant palettes. Robles-Gordon says of
these three artists:
In their own individual styles and techniques,
Brown, Haskins, and Smith create two- dimensional figurative
and abstracted compositions that appear to have varying
planes of visual movement and rhythm that document, explore,
and celebrate African and African American history and culture.
Through exposure to their works and my relationships with
Brown, Haskins, and Smith, they have supported and challenged
me to continue my exploration of textiles, cloth, and sewing
and have strongly encouraged my desire to go beyond the
conventional practice of presenting works in frames.
In Robles-Gordons recent work, familiar
elementsstraps, curling irons, gloves, shoes, dragonflies,
and fanstake on new meanings and forms on her characteristically
canvas, chicken wire, or wooden supports. The compositional
possibilities are as limitless as her stockpile of materials
and their conceptual associations. As the work moves this
direction, her structural sensibilitiesthat once relied
on grids and matricesare being transformed into less
regimented, more three-dimensional, and visually-interactive
compositions. She states:
Though the matrix is still at the core of most
of my compositions, the works are no longer defined by a grid
format or flat surface. Taking away the boundaries of traditional
framing encouraged me to allow the materials, colors, and
energy to hang, flow, and ?leap off? of flat canvas, which
ultimately leads to the shift from two-dimensional to three-dimensional
These developing concepts are best revealed
in the Heal Thyself Series, the Chicken Wire Series, and At
the Altar. Heal Thyself consists of wall hangings made from
textiles and other media mounted on canvas. The Chicken Wire
Series is comprised of mixed media works woven through and
sculpted around a chicken wire base. At the Altar is composed
of folded and draped canvases that are brightly painted and
adorned with an array of found objects from plastic fruit
to things associated with childbirth and maternity.
Tosha Grantham is an artist, writer, and independent
curator. She is completing a PhD in African Diaspora Art History
at the University of Maryland College Park.
Amber Robles-Gordon is a mixed media artist
who lives in Washington, DC.
Wired (June 17 July 17, 2011)
Pleasant Plains Workshop: 2608 Georgia Avenue,
NW, Washington, DC 20009 Opening Reception: June 18, 2011
from 6-9 pm Curator: Kristina Bilonik Tel: (202) 415-1466
Delusions of Grandeur (July 8 August
30, 2011) Mandarin Oriental Hotel/DC Commission on the Arts
and Humanities Exhibition Space 1330 Maryland Avenue, SW,
Washington, DC 20024 Opens: July 8, 2011 Contact: Jamea Richmond-Edwards
Tel: (571) 288-1086 (Group exhibition: Shaunte Gates, Jamea
Richmond and Amber Robles-Gordon)
Pen Arts presents: Lace works by Amber Robles-Gordon
(October 31 - November 5) Keynote speaker for the DC Branch's
November meeting The National League of American Pen Women
National Headquarters Pen Arts Building 1300 Seventeenth Street
N.W. Washington, D.C. 20036-1973 Opening Reception:
To be announced phone - 202-785-1997 fax - 202-452-8868 Website:
A Group Exhibition of Recent
Works by BADC and WPA Member Artists opens at Hillyer Art
Space in Washington, D.C.
A GROUP EXHIBITION, titled "Process: Reaffirmation,"
presenting recent works by Black Artists of D.C. (BADC) and
Washington Project for the Arts (WPA) member artists opened
at Hillyer Art Space on Friday evening, April 1. The exhibition,
which is curated by Gina Marie Lewis, focuses on and reaffirms
the processes of artists within their studios, honors the
personal philosophies, practices, and vocabularies of eight
artists and attempts to explore a visual dialogue between
Beyond The Pale: Works by
Amber Robles-Gordon, Huguette Roe, Suzanna Fields, Gina Denton
and Joseph Barbaccia. Emerson Gallery, McLean Project for
the Arts January 20 March 5, 2011
The term Beyond the Pale was originally
used to describe a barrier meant to enclose or define territory
during military maneuvers beyond which it was not permissible
to go. In more general contemporary terms, it has now come
to mean an action or thing that is regarded as outside the
limits of what is acceptable. The five artists in this exhibition,
Amber Robles-Gordon, Huguette Roe, Suzanna Fields, Gina
Denton and Joesph Barbaccia, all work fearlessly
and with determination outside the barriers usually associated
with traditional art making. They create works that are distinct,
idiosyncratic expressions of their own individuality, breaking
old rules only to write new ones regarding materials used,
processes employed, and formal traditions no longer strictly
Although the artists were chosen for their
individuality, there are also commonalities that emerge when
their works are seen together. All are interested in both
the idea and process of accumulation, many parts merging to
become a whole. All are also collectors in their own way,
bringing together imagery, materials, and ideas. And all five
bring these components together carefully and primarily by
hand, through processes that embrace repetition and the creative,
meditative state it can induce.
Amber Robles-Gordon works in a studio
full of the accumulations necessary to create her work. Bits
of fabric, tile, beads, string, ribbons, and wire are collected
and organized, ready to become mixed media wall oriented pieces.
Some of her works are structured and geometric, while others
are masses of vibrant complexity organized around basic shapes
such as an eye, the DNA helix or a rising wingspan. These
are works that entice the viewer to look in as well as at,
to experience fully a carefully controlled chaos and all the
beautiful paradoxes encompassed therein.
Huguette Roes photographs depict
collections of images of accumulated recycled materials. Photographed
from a close-in vantage point, the images become studies of
color, pattern and repetition. They are profoundly beautiful
in a formal sense, and also silently profound conceptually,
as they highlight and represent the beauty in what we refuse
and reuse. Roes choice of subject matter lies outside
the boundary, but she skillfully employs the full strength
of her artistic skills to create works that entice visually
as they simultaneously raise some of our societys largest
Suzanna Fields uses the traditional
material of acrylic paint in distinctly new and non- traditional
ways. Working with the paint in both two and three dimensions,
she employs just about everything except a brush to build
abstract works that celebrate both wonder and unease. Like
the other artists in this exhibition, she is comfortable with
the fullness of paradox, as she explores and embraces cycles,
rejuvenation, oscillation, order and patterns undone. Fields
is at her core an experimenter, bringing this to bear fully
through both method and materials.
Baltimore artist Gina Denton is also
a collector and compiler. Working primarily with textile materials
of one sort or another, she builds oddly beautiful and slightly
sinister sculptures that refer, by virtue of their shape and
colors, to body parts or living beings. At one point stating
her artistic goal as protecting and personifying the
pseudo-animate Denton has indeed created works that
seem to have crossed the border to reside in a world all their
own. Using recycled sweaters, felted colored wool, bits of
fabric scraps and hair of both the human and animal variety,
she has formulated fantastic objects that are at once familiar,
friendly and also a bit frightening.
Joseph Barbaccias sculptures are
both simple and complex. Using as a base clear and meaningful
forms- a knot, a gathering of flames, an animated but unidentifiable
creature- Barbaccia then covers the shape with a complex skin
of shining sequins, a distinctly unorthodox but very effective
material choice. The pieces become jewel-like and are digested
wholly, through a gestalt-like process, experienced as much
as seen. He describes his intention as paring down visual
insight to a more essential level of expression and
the viewer finds that he has done just that. One meets each
individual piece in the same way one meets another person-simply
The works in this exhibition, shown together,
do develop a dialogue. They speak in unison fleetingly, but
enough to create an undercurrent of harmony that resonates
throughout the space. They speak together of unabashed and
unconventional beauty, and of interpretive acceptance; an
invitation to read the work on your own terms. They speak
of the calmness of repetition and the excitement of a different
approach: a new material; a new way of working with the familiar;
an innovative choice. They speak of accumulating and assimilating.
And mostly they speak together of barriers pushed, borders
crossed, and new territory explored.
FOCUS GROUP: Four Walls, Four
Women Presented by Black Artists of DC (BADC)
Featuring work by Jamea Richmond
Edwards, Danielle Scruggs, Kristen Hayes, Amber Robles-Gordon
Curated by Zoma Wallace
FOCUS GROUP: Four Walls, Four Women
seeks to spark a visual discussion between artworks created
by Black women and a verbal dialogue between those who view
and purchase them. The topic of discussion is material. What
are artists using? What materials do they feel drawn to? How
does Black femininity affect or reflect itself in the chosen
material(s), if at all? How does femininity affect the delivery
and/or reception of the message?
The voices of the women artists
in this exhibition are heard primarily through material form.
Embracing both visual and verbal discussion, FOCUS GROUP:
Four Walls, Four Women hopes to determine how effectively
unique material languages are deciphered/valued/appreciated/acquired
by a universal audience and market.
FOCUS GROUP: Four Walls, Four Women
is the second in a series of collaborations between DC Arts
Center and Black Artists of DC. The purpose of Black Artists
of DC (BADC) is to create a Black artists community to promote,
develop and validate the culture, artistic expressions and
aspirations of past and present artists of Black-Afrikan ancestry
in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.
Voces de América Latina y el Caribe Cultural Crossroads:
Voices of Latin America and the Caribbean Felix Angel
- Joan Belmar - Rafael Corzo - Amber Robles-Gordon
September 15 - October 15, 2010
Opening Reception: Saturday, September 18, 5 - 8pm
The Brentwood Arts Exchange at
the Gateway Arts Center is proud to present, Intersecciones
Culturales: Voces de America Latina y el Caribe / Cultural
Crossroads: Voices from Latin America and the Caribbean, an
exhibition featuring artwork by Felix Angel, Joan Belmar,
Amber Robles-Gordon, and Rafael Corzo. Curated by Carmen Toruella-Quander,
and assisted by Ricardo Penuela-Pava, Cultural Crossroads
is a celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, a time
when we honor the contributions of Hispanic Americans to the
United States and celebrate Hispanic heritage and culture.
Intersecciones Culturales / Cultural Crossroads is compact,
with the intent to overload. Rafael Corzo, presenting art
in the gallery as well as the craft store, brings an ambitious
embodiment of youthful energy and freedom. Amber Robles-Gordon
exhibits dazzling wall sculptures evocative of Carnival, steeped
in the Afro-Caribbean heritage of objects imbued with symbolism
so deeply felt that even when open to intellectual interpretation,
their emotional interpretation rings clear. Joan Belmar presents
an installation of abstractions rendered with incredible precision
and care. Each creates delicate illusions of space that rest
on balance between external structure and the fluidity of
emotions. And, that's all before mentioning Felix Angel, who
lends the exhibition nine works of undeniable power. The most
established and longest experienced of this talented group,
Angel - better known in the DC region as a curator than as
an artist - brings forth refinement, eloquence, and poignance,
that are always and only the outcome of years of creation,
focus and discipline. As a whole, Intersecciones Culturales
/ Cultural Crossroads is an expansive, energetic and positive
stand against any generalization of "Latin Art".
It steps in many directions, danced in embrace with all of
life - the expression of which makes art powerful. It is not
THE voice from Latin America and the Caribbean. It is four
voices, artists varied in age and experience, creating contemporary
art informed by cultural heritage from Columbia, Chile, Puerto
Rico, and Mexico - places as distant and distinct from one
another as from here, yet bound by language and post-colonial
legacy, and by their living contribution to the fabric of
Unforsaken, 2010, 18x24 on canvas
Jamea Richmond-Edwards and Amber Robles Gordon:
Pretty Things, Little Treasures and Hidden Meanings
Friday September 3- Friday September 17, 2010
WASHINGTON, D.C. The Gallery at AYN Studio
in the Penn Quarter neighborhood, will present an exhibition
of collage and assemblage creations by artists Jamea Richmond-Edwards
and Amber Robles-Gordon entitled, Pretty Things, Little
Treasures and Hidden Meanings. The exhibition will open
on Friday September 3, 2010 with a public reception from 6:30-8:30
pm. The exhibition will remain on view by appointment until
Friday September 17, 2010.
Pretty Things, Little Treasures and Hidden
Meanings is inspired by the themes in their work that
convey the feminine mystique. Both women focus on their personal
stories and the roles of women in society. The Pretty
Things refers to the physical beauty and the sentiment
that women attribute to the things they collect and adorn
themselves with. Little Treasures are the intricate
details that create the narratives. The Hidden Meanings
are the various images and concepts that encompass the feminine
mystique, yet reproduce social norms that confine.
This exhibition is the product of an artistic
partnership and dialogue about emerging women artists. The
dialogue began about how to navigate through the art world
and challenge the notion of the individual and isolated artist.
The two artists met while working on their MFAs at Howard
University and through their affiliation with Black Artists
of DC. They discovered commonalities in their work and decided
to partner and exhibit works focusing on womanhood.
Detroit native Jamea Richmond-Edwards studied
painting and drawing at Jackson State University.
She primarily paints women and is influenced
by childhood memories and the complex lives of the women in
her life. She has developed her own unique style of mixed
media portraiture using paper, graphite, and ink.
Amber Robles-Gordon is an artist, student, and
native of Puerto Rico. She is currently finishing her Masters
in Fine Arts at Howard University. Her medium is collage and
assemblage. She focuses on fusing found objects to convey
her own personal memories, inspired by nature, womanhood,
and her belief in recycle energy.
In a city with a changing art scene,
10-year-old organization Black Artists of D.C. fosters a community
of support and inspiration.
Amber Robles-Gordon is an African
American artist who teaches yoga and pilates, organizes art
workshops, and writes an art blog.
[My work is] colorful, intuitive,
and abstract, Robles-Gordon said of her art, which includes
three-dimensional pieces, collages and paper mosaics.
Robles-Gordons work was recently
featured in an exhibition at the D.C. Arts Center called Black
that focused on artists personal perceptions of blackness.
Her work personifies a growing black art movement in the District
that is often overlooked.
A Supportive Art Family
Since 2004, Robles-Gordon, 32,
has been active in Black Artists of D.C., a growing art organization
with about 400 members.
I just jumped in, and at
that time there was a wonderful group, but there wasnt
a whole lot of structure, she said of the organization,
which elected her president in 2009.
Robles-Gordon has been a leader
in the group since she joined, curating exhibits and publicizing
the organization. She cites Black Artists of D.C. as a major
My familys not here,
she said of relatives in her native Puerto Rico, so
I was searching not only for artists; I was also searching
for family, and it was like I inherited an artistic family.
The group, which partners with
other organizations and has strong ties to Howard University,
provides inspiration to Robles-Gordon and other members.
Beyond what they gave me
in terms of love and support, I also learned so much,
Reclaiming Those Negative
Images: Mixed Media Reflections Exhibit at The Corner Store
Amber Robles-Gordon's "Cosmic
Black 2" is one of the works on display at the Corner
Printer-friendly format sponsored by
Reclaiming Those Negative Images Feb. 16, 2010
By Kristin Coyner Roll Call Staff
Oftentimes, theres more talent under our
noses than we realize. Thats certainly true when it
comes to Mixed Media Reflections, a new gallery
at the Corner Store, a multiuse arts space at 900 South Carolina
Alec Simpson and Tray Patterson, both Washington
artists, are acting co-curators for the gallery. Simpson,
who often deals in abstract art, is one of 12 Washington-area
African-American artists whose works are on display.
The idea for the show started rather simply,
over a meal between Patterson and Simpson.
We just got together over lunch one day
and decided to put on a show last fall, Simpson said.
In light of Simpsons own success last
year with a one-man show at the Corner Store Simpson
sold all his small works in Flashback/Fast Forward
it followed that the planners focused on small works.
In view of what people were saying about the economy,
we just thought that maybe wed stick with that concept,
All works at the gallery are on sale for $240
We didnt have any idea how many
artists there would be in it, how many pieces there were going
to be, how big they were going to be, but we did know that
we didnt want them to be priced out of the market,
Simpson said. With the theme of Black History Month, the mixed
media motif pulls everything together.
Stepping into the front room of the Corner Store,
where the works are on display, is a treat. The front space
is warm and beautiful, with colored walls and exposed brick.
The artists works are accentuated by the lack of a modern
As for the works, some pieces use found objects,
others use silk, some are on ceramic and still others are
on paper. One artist, Alonzo Davis, even uses bamboo poles
The show is a mixture of materials and artistic
styles, but the works manage to tie to the theme of Black
History Month in a compelling way. All the artists in some
way touch on the African diaspora, from clear visual images
of brutality to parodies of mockery of black personhood to
abstract works that offer the chance to create new meaning.
Works by Aziza Gibson Hunter, Prayers
to Haiti, were a late addition to the show. Gibson Hunter
composed a series that incorporates elements of African cloth
and other found objects, including Haitian money, to offer
homage to the small island nation devastated by an earthquake
a month ago. Gibson Hunter intends to donate all proceeds
to Doctors Without Borders.
One wall in particular seems to deal most directly
with ancestral issues and imagery, which are most readily
visualized through Anne Bouies Ancestry 5,
Ancestry 6 and Ancestry 8. Bouie incorporates
Aunt Jemima and Uncle Tom figures but creates new meaning
with the images.
And that, to Simpson, underscores a driving
theme of the entire show. Its a matter of transformation,
transforming it into something different and new, he
said. Its about seeing new things in what wasnt
Patterson added: Its also reclaiming
it. Reclaiming a negative stereotype that was out there to
The breadth of artistic techniques that individual
artists have perfected is another striking aspect of the show.
For example, artist Juliette Madison uses mixed media clay
pieces by transferring images onto clay using ink that she
Madisons Lord Why displays
the technique with a veritable gut punch. The work shows the
archival photograph of a lynched woman who, along with her
son, was accused of theft. The significance of the story is
made clear with the phrase Lord why is my seed in the
wind? emblazoned on top of the image.
African-American artists dont feel
backed into a corner, Simpson said. They create
and let the chips fall where they may. Theres an authenticity
to what you see.
The exhibit, which opened Feb. 5, will run until
the 28th. The Corner Store doubles as an art space and home
to Kris Swanson, a sculptor who for the past eight years has
welcomed any variety of art events into her home, including
author readings, CD release parties and theatrical performances.
Because the space functions as a home, the Corner
Store isnt open for regular hours. However, Swanson
makes appointments at email@example.com or 202-544-5807.
The Corner Store Gallery 900 South Carolina
Avenue, SE Washington, DC 20003 (202) 544-5807
Metro: Within 2 blocks of the Eastern Market
Station Orange and Blue Lines
Exhibition Dates: November 9 December
5, 2009 Opening Reception: Tuesday November 10, 2009 8-9pm
Washington, DC American University is pleased
to present Colorblind/Colorsight, curated by A.U. MFA candidate
Rachel Sitkin and featuring the work of area MFA candidates
Yumi Hogan, Hedieh J. Ilchi, Amber Robles-Gordon, Mekbib Gerbertsadik,
Beverly Paul, Kenyatta A. C. Hinkle and recent MFA graduate
Matthew Owen Wead.
Colorblind/Colorsight looks at the diverse practices
of these seven emerging artists who deal with issues of gender,
race and ethnicity. In conjunction with the American University
2009 Fall Colloquium series, Beyond the Binary: Race-ing Art,
this exhibition examines what it means to identify as an ethnic
artist in a post-racial America.
Please join us for a panel discussion with Howardina
Pindell, Sanford Biggers, Jiha Moon, Galo Moncayo and Isabel
Manalo followed by a reception for Colorblind/Colorsight on
Tuesday, November 10, 2009.
Panel Discussion: 6-8pm in the Abramson Recital
Hall Gallery Reception: 8-9pm in the Rotunda Gallery free
American University Katzen Art Center 4400 Massachusetts Ave.
Washington, DC 20016