Happy Independence Day!


Flag, by American contemporary artist Jasper Johns

Flag, by American contemporary artist Jasper Johns


Art Basel 2012 Pictures!

Finally! I’ve posted pictures from my visit to Art Basel Miami back in December. Trying to get all caught up by sifting through some of my backlog here.

I was only able to attend one day of Art Basel, and it definitely wasn’t enough! For those that don’t know, Art Basel is the biggest art event in the US and is held annually in Miami, FL. People from all social classes from around the world, even celebrities, gather together in South Beach to participate in the week-long celebration of art and creativity. If I ever go back again, I’ll be sure to try to stay a lot longer than just a couple of days, there’s way too much to see and experience out there! Here’s a taste of some of the things that I saw:

art basel 2012 art basel 2012 art basel 2012 art basel 2012 art basel 2012 art basel 2012 art basel 2012

For the full album, check it out on Purple Paintbrush’s Facebook page – Let me know what your favorite pieces are!

Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann: Clove

Palimpsest, 2012. Woodcut, sumi ink, acrylic on cut paper.

Recently I had the pleasure of attending the opening to DC-based artist Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann’s show, Clove at Project 4 Gallery located on U St in Northwest DC. I caught a preview of her work at the (e)merge art fair (which I did a post on here) so when receiving info about her latest solo exhibition I just had to see more of what she had to offer. Katherine is currently an instructor at Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, and has been in several solo and group shows throughout the east coast since 2006. This is her first exhibition at Project 4.

Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann’s paintings involve a process of her reacting to an ink stain that applies at the beginning of each painting, allowing it to take form and dry on the floor of her studio. Then the rest of the piece unfolds as she intuitively layers other shapes and motifs into the composition. The resulting piece is an organic mass of different forms and shapes that are rhythmically connected throughout the surface. Mann’s scaled paintings are truly arresting, as the viewer is able to be both overwhelmed and drawn into the worlds that she creates. One of the reasons I liked her work is because they were effective on any scale, and when viewed from afar or up close. In fact, I think it’s difficult not to walk up to get a closer look at the forms undulating before you. I know that I could lose myself gazing at her paintings, trying to decipher which elements were methodically placed by the artist and which were the random occurrences of the materials.

Nursery, 2012. Acrylic, sumi ink on paper stretched over canvas.

Nursery, 2012 (closeup). Acrylic, sumi ink on paper stretched over canvas.

Embroideries, 2012. Acrylic, sumi ink on paper.

I definitely recommend making a trip to Project 4 Gallery to see Clove by Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann. The show runs until Dec. 15. Read up on more about Katherine and Project 4 Gallery:
Katherine’s official website
Project 4 Gallery

Prêt-à-Papier Show at Hillwood Estate, Museum, and Gardens

And I thought learning to make an origami crane was a feat…

Recently I attended an event hosted by The Art Soiree that centered around the current exhibit at the Hillwood Estate in DC, Prêt-à-Papier. The exhibit features stunning handmade, full scale dresses created by Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave. The kicker is that each of the garments and accessories on display are made of just regular craft paper, paint, maybe a little glitter here and there, and glue to hold it together. That’s pretty much it!  Each piece truly is a work of art, painstakingly constructed and painted in a process that takes an average of 3 months per dress – and that includes having the help of studio assistants. The works presented at Prêt-à-Papier draw inspiration from fashions throughout the 17th to early 20th century. The artist appears to be drawn to the royal grandeur and intricacies of the time periods. Before turning her focus on creating the paper costumes she’s now known for, De Borchgrave was an accomplished trompe l’oeil painter. “Trompe l’oeil” is a French term which means “to fool the eye” and refers to the art technique of rendering 2-D images with incredible realism. That painting experience seamlessly translates into the 3-D realm as De Borchgrave demonstrates her skill in manipulating the materials to create the illusion of satin, lace and other textiles in each fragile piece. It’s an accomplishment that photos can’t do full justice. The show is a delicious treat for the eyes, and yes, the pieces absolutely put your 3rd grade papier-mâché volcano project to shame.

In addition to the main exhibit in Hillwood’s Adirondack Building, you will find other pieces of Isabelle’s work sprinkled throughout the mansion itself where her garment asserts itself into the lush surroundings. When I took the tour, I was amazed to see how different each garment looked from the next. It seemed like De Borchgrave could make anything out of paper and paint! I never knew one could push its properties so far. This show is certainly worth seeing if you have any interest in fashion, paper crafts, or looking at cool stuff.

The exhibit is currently running until Dec. 30th. More info about the Prêt-à-Papier show and Hillwood Mansion can be found here.

Here’s some of what I captured during my visit:

Not nearly as grand as the dresses in the exhibit, but I did alright. Dress: ASOS; Gold bracelets, ring and belt: Target. Photo Credit: Art Soiree

Check out more pictures on Purple Paintbrush’s Facebook page!

Aniekan Udofia – The Villiage B-Boy

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Thanks to Twitter, I was able to hear about a solo show by an old college friend of mine, Aniekan Udofia. Filled with excitement, I HAD to make sure that I left work early to go catch him for the evening of his artist talk at the Lamont Bishop Gallery in DC 2 weeks ago. His show is titled “The Village B-Boy” and features several works of art inspired by the impact that hip hop music had in his life and on those around him while growing up in Nigeria.

I’ve always known Aniekan was an amazing artist, and as a passionate and motivated individual. I’ve seen some of his illustrations in popular hip hop magazines here and there over the years, so to see his work hanging in a solo snow was truly a treat! He said that with this body of work, he wanted to touch on something that hit closer to home. The overall response from the crowd was overwhelming positive. Aniekan’s pieces in the Villiage B-Boy show were mostly acrylic paintings, with many incorporating graphite, and spray paint into the work. He exhibited his dynamic skills with figures, each one so unique and conveying a piece of the story he tells about his early experiences with hip hop. The way he can compose a piece through rhythm and color is as lyrical as the songs from which he pulled inspiration. Ranging from smaller digestible canvases, to larger-scaled dramatic pieces, Aniekan evokes a world so vastly different from the streets where hip hop was born but he reaffirms the timeless message of how music is a language that we can all speak. It’s a connection that can span nations and eras of time.

If you haven’t made weekend plans yet, this should be a part of your itinerary. You definitely won’t be disappointed. On Friday (tomorrow) the Lamont Bishop Gallery will be hosting a closing reception from 6-8pm for Aniekan’s show. The final day of the art show is this Saturday March 3rd. So since this is the closing week, make it count and show your support for a rising DC-based artist!

To see more of Aniekan Udofia check out his Facebook page!

For more information about the Lamont Bishop Gallery:
LBG’s Facebook page
LBG on Twitter – @Lamont_Bishop
Located at 1314 9th St. NW, Washington, DC 20001

And don’t forget you can holler at ME on twitter – @purplpaintbrush, and on Facebook!

Black Artists in History: Renee Stout


This gallery contains 5 photos.

The bio from her website: Renee Stout grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and received her BFA from Carnegie Mellon University in 1980. In 1985 she moved to Washington, D.C. and began to explore the roots of her African American heritage. She … Continue reading