COLOGNE PAPER ART
APRIL 11-13, 2014
Omenka Gallery will be represented at Cologne Paper Art (2014) taking some of the most recent paper works by Nigerian contemporary artists; Olu Ajayi, Duke Asidere, Gerry Nnubia and South African-based American artist, Gary Stephens. Cologne Paper Art runs at the same time as the famous Art Cologne and will take place from April 11-13, 2014. The fair centres on contemporary and modern graphic arts and works on paper and will be held at the Vulkan Halle in the trendy Ehrenfeld section of Cologne, a factory building from the “belle époque” period.
Omenka Gallery brings together for the first time works on paper by these artists. Olu Ajayi draws his influence from the famous Auchi colorist school. Ajayi’s evocative landscapes, searching portraits and socio-political commentary may be viewed as the culmination of a painter’s quest for empirical truth. Olu Ajayi’s metaphoric vocabulary is also deeply rooted in the body, his ultimate vehicle for expressing life’s dualities. His sensuous colours, sweeping strokes and narrative content place the human figure on a grand scale, while the dramatic cropping of figures and forms emphasizes the immediacy of the paint. Duke Asidere engages directly with on-going contemporary African politics. His artworks are visual metaphors that reflect on the everyday human drama that surrounds him, whether it is political, social, psychological or cultural. His drawings are charged with irony and humour and his broad oeuvre ranges from headless or limbless figures and faces of strangely hybrid beings to densely populated urban landscapes, accentuated with thick strokes of vivid colour. Gerry Nnubia is an artist that tries to explore the limits of his medium and technique, which involves skilful manipulation to a liquid viscous flow often assimilating accidental occurrences and temperature adjustments, depending on the effect sought. Frequently, he scrutinizes the medium of painting in the context of the current art theory investigations and examines tensions among form and formlessness. In some of his works, he approaches the unpredictability of the medium in order to address natural environmental issues, like volcanic eruptions, tsunami, hurricanes or even dust storms. However, more recently he has been focusing on natures’ splendour and profound experiences like family or togetherness. Finally, Gary Stephens whose experiences from vast travels have permitted him to evolve his art practice into distinct themes and techniques. Due to the multiple and continuous contaminations, he started focusing on themes like landscapes, animals or flora, with a strong connection of Fauvism. His recent work engages the urban African style with a focus on hair braiding, by combining long, vertical repetitive folds and pleats in the paper with string systems. Stephens also emphasizes the three-dimensional quality of the weave patterns and voids at several angles while moving across the picture plane. In parallel, he is inspired by the bold patterns and colours that we typically find in ankara fabric.
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