MEET OUR ARTIST IN RESIDENCE: NATE LEWIS
By: Sunny Lee
Nate began his working career as a critical care registered nurse, he received a BS in nursing in 2008 and has since worked in a medical- surgical intensive care unit, a stroke unit, and spent most of his time in a neuroscience-surgical intensive care unit. He has been working as a critical care registered nurse for six years. He began pursuing the arts in 2008, first it was music, violin. He then started pursuing the visual arts in 2010. A self taught artist, drawing inspiration from anatomy, physiology, disease processes and his nursing experience as a care taker of patients and their family members he creates stunning, intricate 2-3d sculptures out of single sheets of paper that visually combines the aesthetics of drawing, sculpture, etching, embroidery, and textiles. His approach to his work is often instinctive and free while at the same time surgically precise. Lewis’s work pushes the idea of freedom within boundaries, and seeks to confront perceptions of vulnerability, tragedy, and time.
It’s funny how art can draw you in and find itself in the most unexpected places, nonetheless the E.R. As a registered critical-care nurse since 2008, Nate Lewis somehow managed to find the time to create his own works, from a background uniquely his own. Thus, Art on the Vine presents the new artist-in-residence, the first of his class to be inducted into the program. And like all novel things, Lewis trajectory is the perfect metaphor for Art on the Vine’s exciting program. Around 2010, in search of an outlet from intense environments like the ICU, Lewis initially began to sketch paper, and subsequently used that very medium to create paper sculptures with surgical precision. Whether figurative or abstract, it’s not hard to discern symmetrical patterns and ruptures drawn from a biological
CONVERSATIONS WITH COLLECTORS:
RISA & ROBERT KORNEGAY
By: Sunny Lee
You may or may not have seen Hale Woodruff’s heroic murals and paintings—only a year before his death was he given his first and last retrospective at the Studio Museum in Harlem in 1979. Under the tutelage of Diego Rivera, he quickly made the shift to mural painting, among which include the Amistad uprising, his best-known piece—and it would appear his only piece when conducting a cursory Google search on Woodruff. Though, thank goodness for new collectors Risa and Robert Kornegay: They’re about to change that.
The Kornegay’s are living every collector’s dream—stumble on some pieces you find in a relative’s residence only to find you’ve hit a boon. But for Risa, this was no happenstance event. Growing up, she frequently visited her uncle in Brooklyn whose colorful interiors and baby grand would entice her. Beautiful paintings of Blackness also peppered the wall, so when her mother inherited these pieces, neither of them thought much of it. That is, until they got them appraised only to discover that these pieces were Woodruff originals—and of great value.
Its been a topsy-turvy journey, and a crash course in collecting, but Risa and now her husband Robert have taken it upon themselves to catalogue these pieces and get them out in the public. Realizing the importance of visibility, they’re keen on showing these so people understand the rather unarticulated influence Woodruff has had on African American art. Catalyzed by their “new” works, the Kornegays are also excited to expand on the legacy of Woodruff to include more artworks reflective of themselves. Risa and Robert are expanding the conventional notions of “art collector,” all the while being grounded and mindful of what it means to acquire any piece—be it an original Woodruff or a hidden gem at a thrift store. Read on to hear The Kornegays relay the details leading up to the Woodruff discovery with AOTV, and see what pieces they’re respectively drawn into whilst still maneuvering the art world with grace and confidence.
AOTV: Growing up, how did you find art? Was it something that was hung on the walls in your house? How was your family engaged with art and how did you start collecting?
Risa: Well, these pieces originally belonged to my uncle Thomas Shepard and his wife Burnette. They were always in his home, so when we would visit, they were pieces that were just there. We didn’t know the significance of them and we didn’t know who was responsible for them. They were just something you expected.
He lived in Brooklyn, and one thing I remember growing up is he had a baby grand piano—which I thought was the coolest thing ever. He always had it out of the wall, and his walls were painted colors. You know, you go in a lot of homes and it’s very white, but there was always a lot of color. He and my mother were very close, and he and I were very close, so once he was getting older he gifted these to my mother, and so they were always in my house as I was older.
Again, not really realizing what we had, we kind of stumbled into being collectors. How they wound up here is that we brought them here to be appraised. Once my mom and I researched more and really realized the value of what we had, we knew it was important once we realized who the artist was. But in getting them appraised, we realized what
ABOUT THE ORGANIZERS
THE AGORA CULTURE IS AN ONLINE MULTI-CULTURAL ARTS PLATFORM THAT CONNECTS NEW AND ESTABLISHED ART COLLECTORS WITH CONTEMPORARY VISUAL ARTISTS. ESTABLISHED IN 2013, WE FOCUS ON PRODUCING EXHIBITIONS, ART DINNERS, SALONS AND EDUCATIONAL WORKSHOPS FOR SEASONED AND NEW ART COLLECTORS.