African Origins Exhibition featuring OSI AUDU, ROSEMARY FEIT COVEY, VICTOR EKPUK and NNENNA OKORE

17 Apr

AFRICAN ORIGINS

4 Contemporary Artists Born in Africa and Living in the US featuring OSI AUDU, ROSEMARY FEIT COVEY, VICTOR EKPUK and NNENNA OKORE

April 25- May 20, 2014

 

OPENING RECEPTION 

Friday, April 25th, 6pm-8pm

 Local artists will be in attendance.

MFA’s exhibition African Origins explores artwork by four African-born, culturally hybrid artists currently living in the United States – three from Nigeria and one from South Africa.
The viewer is invited to explore African Origins by contemplating a range of original voices, overlaps and differences in aesthetic, medium, and subject. These artists successfully integrate diverse experiences and cultural inspirations from their respective African roots, and from their life in the United States.
 OSI AUDU, I Have a Landscape in my Head IV (diptych), 2014, 24"x24" each, wool & graphite on canvas


OSI AUDU, I Have a Landscape in my Head IV (diptych), 2014, 24″x24″ each, wool & graphite on canvas

About OSI AUDU (New York, b. Nigeria): 

OSI AUDU works in series, and is inspired by the discourse on the nature of consciousness, the dualism of something and nothing, light and dark, form and void.  Inspired by the Yoruba people of Western Nigeria’s belief that consciousness, referred to as the “head”, has both a physical dimension called the “outer head” and a spiritual one, “the inner head”, he fuses together cultural, scientific, and artistic ideas. His drawings on paper, titled – Self-Portrait are more about the portrait of the intangible essence of self, rather than a literal portrait of the artist. His drawings can also be made directly on the wall as a large scale wall drawing.
His new series –  I Have a Landscape in my Head, is about the way neurons light up in the brain, like fireflies, during a conscious experience. It explores the idea that perception takes place inside the head, as an interpretation of electromagnetic neural impulses that light up in the brain, and thus question the boundary between “outer” and “inner”.  AUDU has integrated a visual Interactive element – if the viewer stares fixedly at any of the abstract shapes on the left (color) canvas for about 20 seconds and transfers gaze to the same spot on the drawn (monochromatic) canvas  on the right, the viewer will see the shapes light up in the complementary colors of the color canvas.
 
Select collections include Newark Museum, The British Museum, The Horniman Museum, The Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, and National Gallery, Lagos.
ROSEMARY FEIT COVEY, Little Madam and the Girl, 2014, 27.5"x15", mixed media on panel

ROSEMARY FEIT COVEY, Little Madam and the Girl, 2014, 27.5″x15″, mixed media on panel

 

About ROSEMARY FEIT COVEY (Washington, DC b. South Africa): 

Rosemary Feit Covey was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. In a career spanning three decades she has exhibited internationally and received countless awards.  Ms. Covey’s work is in many major museum and library collections, including the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the New York Public Library Print Collection, the National Museum of American History, Harvard University, the Papyrus Institute in Cairo and 512 works in the permanent collection of Georgetown University Library. There is currently a retrospective of Ms. Covey’s wood engravings and installation work on display at the Evergreen Museum in Baltimore.

“In my art work on South Africa I have tried to deal with issues, not admitted, to face the taboos of the culture I came from. I have tried to understand what I knew as a child and where it meshes with history. Guilt is a subject that colors my work.  Communal guilt but especially non-participatory guilt. In the documentary Hitler’s Children, a man describes playing in a garden, while on the other side was the concentration camp his father commanded. My experience was not so literal or extreme but the metaphor applies. I did live on the other side of the fence. ” -ROSEMARY FEIT COVEY

 VICTOR EKPUK,  Composition 7, 50"x50", pastel and graphite on paper


VICTOR EKPUK,
Composition 7, 50″x50″, pastel and graphite on paper

 

About VICTOR EKPUK (Washington, DC b. Nigeria):

VICTOR EKPUK’s art began as an exploration of nsibidi “traditional” graphics and writing systems in Nigeria, and has since evolved to embrace a wider spectrum of meaning that is rooted in African and global contemporary art discourses.  His artwork is in the permanent collection of Smithsonian Institution National Museum of African Art, Newark Museum, The World Bank, and University of Maryland University College Art.

The central theme of Ekpuk’s work is the exploration of relationships, challenges, and responses to changes that characterize the contemporary human condition.  Of particular interest to his oeuvreis nsibidi, an indigenous African system of writing that employs graphic signs and codes to convey concepts. Inspired by these ancient writings, the forms in his works are reduced to a basic essence resulting in new symbols or codes in script-like drawings.

 

NNENNA OKORE,  Bodily Beings, 2011, dimensions variable, burlap, handmade paper and dye

NNENNA OKORE,
Bodily Beings, 2011, dimensions variable, burlap, handmade paper and dye

 

About NNENNA OKORE (Illinois b. Nigeria): 

With a BA in Painting from the University of Nigeria and both an MA and MFA in Sculpture from University of Iowa, NNENNA OKORE’s work broadly focuses on the concepts of recycling, transformation and regeneration of forms based on observations from ecological and man-made milieus. She is drawn to uniquely diverse and tactile characteristics of the collective physical world, astounded by natural phenomena that cause things to become weathered, dilapidated and lifeless – those events slowly triggered by aging, death and decay – and subtly captured in the fluid and delicate nature of life.

Her materials are biodegradable and comprise largely of old newspapers, found paper, ropes, thread, yarn, fibers, burlap, dye, coffee, starch, clay, etc. Through manually repetitive techniques as mirrored in both natural and mechanical reproductions, her processes of fraying, tearing, teasing, twisting, weaving, dyeing, waxing, accumulating and sewing allow her to interweave and synthesize the distinct properties of materials.  OKORE systematically deconstructs and reconstructs her media to yield subtle transformations of visual complexities. And much like impermanent earthy attributes, her organic and twisted forms mimic the dazzling intricacies of trees, barks, topography and architecture.

“I desire to heighten through my works, the perception of textures, undulating contours and movements that exist within our ephemeral world; and to evoke some reflection about how we can better preserve and care for our earthbound surroundings. ” NNENNA OKORE

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