This exhibition brings together the works of eight established and emerging artists of diverse backgrounds and experiences. Despite their varied experiences, personal cultural backgrounds and styles their approach to making art is through a contemporary experience, their metaphysics is distinctly new and refreshing, celebrating the moment of apprehension and the fugitive moment of response with a few traces of ink or mark making with paint brush or clay. The artists include SoHyun Bae, Bernard Guillot, Wosene Worke Kosrof, Firoz Mahmud, Gerard McCarthy, Afi Nayo, Pefura and Jimi Solanke.
Gerard McCarthy’s ceramic work is a meditation on the skillful manipulation of line, volume and mass, depth and shallowness. The forms may be viewed as miniature architectural structures, alluding to dynamic qualities of inhabitable buildings, both private and public. A unifying element in this body of work is the application of white terra sigillata, an ancient technique of coating the clay in a liquid of suspended clay particles. His composition is pure enough to approach an abstract sensibility, yet layered with a poetic meaning for the observer.
SoHyun Bae, Korean by birth, American by upbringing and cosmopolitan by experience exhibits mixed media works on canvas that address issues of personal and cultural identity. Her rich and complex composition draws on the visual traditions of both Asian and Western art in a manner that is neither superficial nor eclectic, but rooted firmly in her belonging to both cultures. There is a lyrical beauty, evocative of shifting interior and exterior spaces that belies the surprising seamlessness between the spiritual and physical worlds. Bae’s work approaches a perspective universal enough to include all of us.
Firoz Mahmud; (b. 1974) is a Bangladeshi artist who works on installation, painting, drawing, photograph and other media. He experiments with a wide range of media and materials to address contemporary concerns. His roles shift and conspire between artist and activist, through a distinct voice that is somewhere within the spectrum of ‘learned humor’ and engages with the politics of a nation in flux. In Mahmud’s work there is no urgent need to differentiate between an art conceived as plain propaganda and an art that avoids any such label. His drawings, text, video and photographs are based on Bangladeshi socio-political culture, myth, tradition and pop culture.
Born 1942, Jimi Solanke is a Nigerian film actor, dramatist, folk singer, poet, playwright and prolific artist. His small-sized collages are rich in materials, colors and textures. A master story –teller, he draws from his rich Yoruba cultural heritage and present-day realities in contemporary African society to create works that are seemingly simple, serene and as matured as thought. Closely viewed his work is an invitation for contemplation that strives to reconcile intelligence and sensibility, knowledge and intuition.
Afi Nayo’s (1969, b. Lome, Togo) work reflects a longstanding commitment to extracting textured patterns with mosaic-like delicacy and cosmopolitan refinement from a complex language of symbols and signs drawn from the unconscious to obtain a poetic amalgam of abstraction and reality that reveals a reality behind the visible things around us. Symbols become patterns and then symbols again as the imagery vacillates between seen and unseen, between the remembered and the disassociated, revealing minute treasures for those who linger long enough to see them revealed. There is a resonance of personal truth, vision, circumstances, and tradition embedded in this body of work that make us simply believe in the power of art to speak to us in purely human terms.