Language/Line: Anne Q. McKeown
Curated by Evonne M. Davis
October 1st – October 30th, 2019
Opening Reception – October 17th, 5-7PM
Artist Talk – October 17th, 11:30AM
Brookdale Community College
Center for the Visual Arts
765 Newman Springs Rd., Lincroft, NJ
“I am not looking to create order. I am recording a moment of being.” – Anne Q. McKeown.
As a visual artist, a maker of things, it is teaching, collaborations with artists of all mediums, and work with groups of people internationally, that have given McKeown insight into the splendid ability of the artist’s mind. McKeown is empowered by these experiences. They are all part of her practice in a lifelong search to find and exercise her voice.
At the base of this search is an intensely remembered understanding of image making at age four. Her identity as an image creator grew as she did. Work in water color paintings, drawing, oil paint, and printmaking were all investigated mediums. In 1995 handmade paper entered McKeown’s vocabulary. In the decades since the first sheet was pulled, she has relied on the plasticity of cellulose in her collaborations. In her individual work she uses handmade paper as both substrate, and for three-dimensional interpretation.
She has traveled to and worked in Egypt, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Cuba, Nigeria, and South Africa. McKeown holds her B.A in Studio Art from Skidmore College and her MFA in Painting and Printmaking from Yale University School of Art.
She writes: “My interest in how things work lead to my attraction to many mediums. I might have become someone different if a sense of wonder for the spaces and awe-inspiring objects in Museums had not captured me at an early age. Then, as I worked, I never felt satisfied. There was always more to perfect, more to say in the work. It was through printmaking, and then papermaking, that I experienced a shift from working solo with full authorship, to working in collaboration or teaching group workshops to empower artists with understanding of this medium.
Through my work I was able to spread the pleasure, beauty and inherent personality of fiber. Handmade paper allows me to involve this medium from a humble beginning toward discoveries in three dimensions. My work does not need to create a sculptural space; however, I have less interest in materials that don’t begin with texture and surface. A hands-on approach is critical in my work; I work as a painter might work, through trial, error, and erasure, and as the imagery presents itself in response to the initial concept. With an evolved vision I have developed the skill to choose and then change the presentation, allowing me to enter a realm of play as the result of decades of experience.
Now I have returned to working alone. Though at times I need an assistant, most studio time is spent alone in silence, developing my images. My work gives voice to the world around me, punctuated with reference to images that have affected my love of art. My work is always based on a story even if I am not able to fully describe the story in the moment of making. Contemporary social issues, filtered through my life experience, are a jumping off point for my choice of imagery. The work does not rely on easily accessible imagery so it has been thrilling to have others respond to the core messages of my work; it exists without a unilateral message or simplified statement.”
October 12th, 2019 – March 3rd, 2020
Opening Reception – October 12th, 2-4 PM
NICO Kitchen + Bar, 1 Center Street, Newark, NJ
Raw Umber is the inaugural exhibit that launches a new partnership between Newark’s artist-run Gallery Aferro and NJPAC. Rotating exhibitions featuring artists curated by Gallery Aferro allow patrons of NICO Kitchen + Bar to enjoy (and even take home) compelling works arising from the ceaseless vitality of Newark’s independent visual arts scene.
Raw Umber is a group exhibit titled after a family of colors derived from naturally occurring pigments in the earth, ranging from rich, dark brown tones, yellows, and fiery oranges and reds.
Join us for the opening reception of this new partnership, as part of the Newark Arts Festival. The exhibition will run through March 2020.
About the art and artists:
Marsha Goldberg is a current artist-in-residence at Gallery Aferro whose work is exquisitely sensitive to the atmospheric shifts of light, shadow, and air that define our experience of the world. Master Papermaker Anne Q. McKeown’s longtime residency at Gallery Aferro connects to her prestigious commissioned work in Egypt, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Cuba, Ghana, Nigeria, and South Africa. McKeown’s artworks included in Raw Umber are on Ugandan bark cloth hand pounded from fibers, visualizing a visceral tie to the earth. Kevin Durkin’s works reveal a constant longing for a remembered landscape of home while Gladys Barker Grauer’s (1923-2019, known as the “Mother of Newark Arts”) hypnotic self-portrait includes a subtle spiderweb motif. Ibrahim Ahmed iii (Aferro A.I.R.2013), now residing in Cairo, created a dramatically scaled portrait before leaving Newark, contrasting with a deceptively simple early 1960’s watercolor by L. Gluck of St. Thomas. Important works by Reginald K. Gee, Stephen Flemister, Floyd Newsom Jr., and E. J. Montgomery from the collection of Aljira, a Center for Contemporary Art reveals Newark’s cultural connections to multiple generations of important artists of color up to this very moment.