PRESS RELEASE: Zenith Gallery Presents:
“Creatively We Unite”
In Celebration of Black History Month
February 3- March 11, 2017
1429 Iris St., NW, Washington, DC 20012
Meet the Artists Receptions: Friday, February 3, 4-8 pm and Saturday, February 4, 2-6 pm
Featuring: Doba Afolabi, Mason Archie, Anne Bouie, Francesca Britton, Richard
Robert Freeman, Cassandra Gillens, Carolyn Goodridge, Hubert Jackson, Gloria Kirk, Christopher Malone, Ibou N’Diaye, Preston Sampson, and Curtis Woody
left -right: Our Girls Shall Read by Doba Afolabi, A Quiet Place #4 by Mason Archie, Ancestry Memorial for Dr. Peter by Anne Bouie,
State of the Union by Preston Sampson, Griot Playing his Guitar by Ibou N'Diaye
Doba Afolabi was born in the mountains of southwest Nigeria and credits his mother, who was a versatile dancer, as the fundamental force behind his flair for expression. Monet, Van Gogh, Degas and Yoruba stylized carvings were later influences on Afolabi. Doba studied at the famous Zaria Art School. While still in school, he became known as one of the “Zaria Rebels,” an artist’ school known for their experimental style and bold color palette. Briefly, he worked for the United Nations as a graphic designer. He also spent some time teaching art at Yaba Technical College, in Lagos, Nigeria, before eventually immigrating to New York City. He is currently based in Brooklyn. His first solo exhibit, “Buffalo Soldier” was in 1999, in North East Miami, Florida, at Asmar B Art Gallery. Since that time, he has been an annual presence at the Black History Month art shows featured on the campus of Florida International University. In addition to showing with Zenith Gallery, he is also represented by Dorsey Gallery in New York.
Mason Archie was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio. He currently resides in Indianapolis, Indiana. Archie began his artistic career as the Art Director and pictorial artist for Lamar Outdoor Advertising. In 2005, he began to work full-time as a fine artist, swiftly achieving notoriety. In addition to a natural gift, he also attributes his success to a single-mindedly intensive study of the materials and techniques utilized in traditional landscape and Realism paintings executed by the 19th century Naturalist artists, whose art and techniques have clearly influenced Archie. For example, Archie generally begins by conducting numerous studies through observation outdoors before beginning a canvas. Archie’s landscapes transcend mere geography, as they self-assuredly, yet quietly, evoke powerful metaphors. Archie's works have been exhibited at the Schuster Art Center in Dayton, OH; the Indiana State Museum; The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, MI; The National African American Museum and Cultural Center in Wilberforce, OH; & the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry. He has been featured in The International Review of African American Art, American Art Collector, and The American Art Review.
Anne Bouie was born in Birmingham, Alabama; grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, and was deeply affected by the beauty and culture she experienced during summers on her grandparents’ farm in Florida. She is an artist in the naïve tradition, and draws heavily upon pre-conversion indigenous cultures, which use art to heal, teach, and sustain meaning. The traditions of southern folk artists are also a source of inspiration. Her pivotal moment as an artist came while attending a meeting of the Black Artists of DC, who encouraged her to “stop sitting on her ideas for art, and get busy doing it”. In 2006, her work was accepted in Found, an exhibit sponsored by BADC, and she had been working as an artist since then.
Francesca Britton is a local artist who was born and raised in Washington, D.C. Britton not only paints but she also designs jewelry and is a seasoned arts educator, who learned to paint with an easel next to her mother, Marchita Crawford. Having grown up in a family atmosphere featuring creative talents, Francesca followed in the family footsteps developing her own style and artistic sensibilities. A long-time arts teacher and counsel.
Richard Fitzhugh is a Washington D.C. native, and graduate of the Howard University School of Architecture. He has worked in the field at home and abroad. Imposing his vision of urban landscapes on paper, Fitzhugh’s deep sense of community is reflected in his vivid palette, and in his 25 years working with disadvantaged youth. This current show includes some of his finest work, depicting familiar Washington D.C. streets and landmarks. The artist speaks about his chosen medium: “I’ve stayed with watercolor because this paint medium is transparent. Because it’s transparent, everything you do for a painting, even when you have covered something already painted previously, you can see totally everything that has been done for the painting. But for the watercolor painting, being able to see everything that was done…. (makes me feel that) my art…. (begins to resemble my life.”
left -right: Love Letters A by Robert Freeman, Having Tea by Cassandra Gillens, Naiveté Meets Ignorance by Carolyn Goodridge,
The Procession by Hubert Jackson, Postcards & Pansies by Gloria Kirk
Robert Freeman has been showing with Zenith Gallery and nationally for over 35 years, and has been included in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The National Center for African American Artists; Boston Public Library; Brown University and The DeCordova Museum. His paintings have been featured in exhibitions at Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, MA. Known for his vivid and powerful figurative paintings, Robert Freeman has traditionally focused on the interactions between people in his work. Skillful, bold use of color and gesture are the trademark of Freeman's work and make his figures nearly abstract. In winter of 2016, Freeman will be featured in a retrospective show at the Danforth Art Museum, in Framingham, Massachusetts.
Cassandra M. Gillens is a self-taught artist, currently residing in North Carolina. Born in Boston, some of her earliest memories are of drawing with colored chalk on the sidewalks of her childhood neighborhood of Roxbury. Cassandra also has fond memories of visits to South Carolina to visit family. These memories have moved her to paint visions of The Low Country's southern culture. Growing up in Roxbury, Gillens dreamt of one day returning to The Low Country – a place that had won her heart and spirit. Upon her return as an adult, she swiftly reconnected with her people and the culture she so loved. Cassandra's paintings clearly show that love and those connections, with their depiction of the vivid colors of the southern seasons and their images of good ol’ Southern living.
Carolyn Goodridge, born on October 21, 1960, in Port of Spain, Trinidad, West Indies, immigrated to the U.S. in 1963. Goodridge was brought up in a Pentecostal environment and later became widely read in Eastern philosophies. Goodridge landed in the Kwan Um School of Zen, residing at their Chogye International Zen Center in New York by age 19. The late Zen Master Seung Sahn Sunim taught the artist about “Zen mind.” Her art work is broadly inspired by these teachings. Goodridge states, “The materials used in my work are organic: melted beeswax with natural pigments, resin made of sap from Malaysian fir trees, rice paper, wood and sometimes glass. Using encaustic I enjoy contrasting, not only organic and geometrical shapes, but also smooth and rough texture, as well as dull and shiny reflective surfaces”
Hubert Jackson was born in 1943 in Culpeper, Virginia. He began his artistic career with a correspondence course in commercial art, which he took while still in high school. From there, he went on to formally study painting, ceramics, printmaking, sculpture and photography. Jackson earned his Bachelors in Fine Arts Education at Virginia State University in 1965. After graduation, he moved to Washington D.C. In 1971, he earned his Master's Degree in painting from Howard University. In the early 1970s, he participated in the historical national movement of community-based mural projects under the advisement and mentorship of master artist Hughie Lee-Smith. Jackson’s work is in several private collections throughout the U.S., and has been shown in foreign countries such as Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Lesotho, New Guinea and Rwanda through the Artist-in-Embassies Program, run by the U.S. Department of State. This past summer he had a show at the U.S. Embassy in Rome. He also taught visual arts for many years at Wilson High School, located in Washington, DC.
Gloria Kirk is a photographer who considers herself as “one who thinks outside of the box.” Kirk has been the recipient of numerous awards for artworks in media and genres as diverse as: portraits, still life, photojournalism, landscape, architecture and conceptual photography. In October 2007, four of her fine art pieces were chosen by the Artist-in-Embassies Program for exhibition in the U.S. Embassy in Freetown, Sierra Leone, for a period of three years. Kirk is a member of the Professional Photographers Society of Greater Washington, DC Black Artists, The DC National Conference of Artists, The Exposure Group and FotoCraft. She has been in numerous publications including the Washington Post, In the Arts, and Spice. Kirk has exhibited throughout the US, Cuba, Ghana, Brazil, & Sierra Leone.
left - right: Be Careful What You Wish For by Chris Malone, Walu Dancer Dogon by Ibout N'Diaye,
State of the Union by Preston Sampson, 35 Voices of the Voyage by Curtis Woody
Christopher Malone is a self-taught artist who asks us to move past seeing dolls as just playthings for children, but rather as spiritual objects, capable of inspiring deep thoughts and heady visions in balance with our imaginations and our dreaming state. He believes that how far you take this interpretation of the capability of his dolls is up to you. In his words: “I have always been fascinated with dolls. Their form and construction, complex and simple forms…made of stone, clay, bone, ivory, grasses and wax… have for as long as I can remember have beckoned to me to hold them in my hand and study them. I have no idea why...? From the beginning of recorded time, all over the world, people have been making dolls. Dolls have been children’s play things and have also been used to bridge the gap between our physical world and the spiritual realm…. Like most traditions… there's so much more to the story (once you dig a little deeper).”
Ibou N’Diaye uses wood as his medium for two main reasons: the first is, simply, that he is following the rich tradition of Malinese sculpting. Second is because of the unique individuality of each piece of wood: no two can ever be exactly alike. He creates his artwork based off the certain unspoken aura of the individual piece determined by the grains and how it feels in his hands. Ibou's pieces all conjure the harmony of the past, which he hopes to share with the world in his pieces. He uses traditional tools to carve the wood to underscore the unity with the past as well as to make each piece feel more personal.
Preston Sampson holds artist's belief that color is the main focal point that brings the works to life. As the great Modernists attempted to do in various ways, Sampson uses color to remind the viewer of the artifice of his creations. He also uses color to represent the stream of consciousness, and experiences of the people in the paintings and to bridge a gap from reality into the world of the paintings. His pieces all have a perennial quality that transcends any set time.
Curtis Woody refers to his artworks as “mixed media quilt paintings.’ In his words: “The beauty of mixed media art is the flexibility it offers to start with things around you and expand from there. As a mixed media painter, I juxtapose these visual elements into a language of moods and reactions that allow for the viewer’s own interpretations.” Woody’s mixed media quilt paintings start with hand cut museum board blocks that are painted, embellished, scratched and merged together to form extremely well-composed, thought provoking collages that are not terribly pre-planned, but rather, let the feelings and emotions of the overall design dictate how each block fits together. Woody allows the colors, patterns and textures to direct these compositions. Mediums may include acrylics, pastel, graphite, texture crackle, watercolor or clay paint. Sometimes, Woody also incorporates beads, rope, paper, grommets, fabric, hot glue or various other objects. Many of his pieces include replicas of vintage newspaper advertisement, newspaper articles, or photographs – all included because they accentuate the composition, while adding a symbolic richness to the work. The result is a work that strikes the balance between spontaneity and a carefully planned composition of historical relevance.
Where: 1429 Iris Street NW, Washington DC, 20012
Show Dates: February 3 – March 11, 2017
Opening Receptions: Friday, February 3, 4-8 pm, & Saturday, February 4, 2-6 pm
Information: Margery Goldberg, 202-783-2963, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Gallery Hours: Wednesday - Saturday, 12-6 PM, Any other times by appointment