Sometimes we experience works of art that embody both beauty and horror. The old word for this, now sadly devalued, was “awesome.” I hope artist Rosemary Feit Covey will forgive me for using that word to describe her current complete gallery installation, Red Handed. It is simply awesome.
Recently I visited Morton Fine Art to watch as Covey installed the work under the gentle eye of curator Amy Morton, spreading vinyl pieces across the floor. Even in that unfinished state before opening, it had undeniable power. Swirling vortexes of bald, nude figures, mouths open and arms red to the fingertips, soon covered the floor. I stepped gingerly over their faces, having no other option but to participate in their torture. It’s impossible to look away from the unsettling mass of bodies under your feet. It feels disrespectful. Jarring.
Guilty. Continue reading
Vonn Sumner, 'Totem', 13.5"x11", watercolor on paper
The art galleries I love most are inviting and unintimidating, highlighting a thoughtful curator’s focus and giving you a intimate view into the artist’s world. Stepping into Morton Fine Art’s new space on Florida Avenue off U Street felt instantly relaxing as curator Amy Morton welcomed me with a warm smile. I was eager to take a look.
MFA is housed in an airy white room on the street level of the MINT building, billed as an “innovative arts lab.” Really several concepts rolled into one – studio, arts consulting, gallery, artist advocacy – it’s conceived as a way to serve the changing contemporary arts scene by collaborating with multiple artists as opposed to maintaining a “static stable.” In addition to shows at the studio space itself, MFA hosts the bi-annual exhibit known as *a pop-up project which “pops-up” at various temporary locations around the city.
The opening exhibit is Small Works on Paper, on display now through August 26. It’s completely manageable for an afternoon pop-in with a carefully chosen selection from three artists – Vonn Sumner, Rosemary Feit Covey, and Laurel Hausler – working in mediums ranging from watercolor, wood engravings and mixed media. Strongly dedicated to the belief that anyone can be an art collector, Morton took the time to walk me through the current exhibit and shared her enthusiasm for the artists. It works. After a few minutes I felt the itch to take home one of Rosemary Feit Covey’s subversive wood engravings. It might happen to you as well. Or you can simply linger, wondering over some quietly powerful images. Continue reading