Tag Archives: self portrait

OSI AUDU : DIALOGUES WITH AFRICAN ART, Woodstock NY

26 Sep
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OSI AUDU, Self-Portrait with Egungun Hairstyle, 2018. Graphite and pastel on paper mounted on canvas, 22 x 31 inches

 

OSI AUDU: DIALOGUES WITH AFRICAN ART at the Kleinert/James Center for the Arts, Woodstock NY

Solo exhibition opens Friday October 19th and is open through Sunday, December 2.  The gallery is open Thursday-Sunday: 12:00 – 6:00 pm or by appointment.

Mr. Audu, who lives in Hurley, New York, will give an artist’s talk on Saturday, October 20, at 3:00pm and the public opening reception for the show follows at 4:00 on Saturday.
OSI AUDU: DIALOGUES WITH AFRICAN ART examines issues of identity rooted in the artist’s cultural experiences growing up in Nigeria, as well as broader metaphysical and social concepts of the self. Audu’s paintings, some of them very large in scale, are influenced by the abstract geometric possibilities in traditional African sculpture; thus the exhibition also includes examples of original nineteenth- and twentieth-century African sculpture that the artist uses as inspiration for his work. Describing the works in the show, Audu writes: “I am interested in the dualism of form and void, and the metaphysical relation between the tangible and intangible, something and nothing, light and dark, body and mind, the dual nature of being—the self in portraits.” The title “self-portrait” that Audu uses in his work is about the portrait of the intangible self, rather than a literal portrait of the artist.

Osi Audu is a Nigerian-American artist whose work has been shown in numerous international exhibitions including the Kwangju Biennale, Venice Biennale, the AfricaAfrica exhibition at the Tobu Museum, Japan, and the Museum of the Mind at the British Museum. His work has also been exhibited at and collected by public institutions including the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art in Washington DC, The Newark Museum in Newark, New Jersey, the British Museum, Horniman Museum, and Wellcome Trust Gallery, all in London, the Hood Museum at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, and the Mott-Warsh Collection in Flint, Michigan. His work has also been acquired for corporate collections including by Sony Classical New York, the Fidelity Investment Corporation in Boston, Massachusetts, and the Schmidt Bank in Germany.

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OSI AUDU, Self-Portrait, after Agbogo Mmwo Mask, 2017. Acrylic on canvas, 48 x 58 inches

Audu curated an international exhibition of contemporary African art which opened at the N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art in Detroit in September 2017, then traveled to the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at the State University of New York, New Paltz, and the August Wilson Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 2018.

He is a current recipient of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant.

The exhibition is curated by Sylvia Leonard Wolf, who is the chair of the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild’s Exhibition Committee. A full color catalogue accompanies the exhibition. Below is an excerpt from an essay in the catalogue:

Audu is, in effect, reclaiming abstraction…Through the language of abstraction, Audu seeks to create a container or a frame for the intangible that is the self. In choosing to dialogue with works of African art that are themselves symbolic representations of concepts, he situates his geometric abstraction firmly within African ontologies. And in doing so, he also makes tangible the intangible, or perhaps hidden, presence of African sculpture within the legacy of Western modernism.

— Christa Clarke, Ph.D. (Senior Curator, Arts of Global Africa, Newark Museum; Board President, Association of Art Museum Curators (AAMC) and AAMC Foundation)

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For additional information about artist OSI AUDU please contact Morton Fine Art at mortonfineart@gmail.com -or- (202) 628-2787.  Follow the highlighted link to view all available artwork by OSI AUDU on our website www.mortonfineart.com.

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All 2018 Byrdcliffe arts programming is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

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ROSEMARY FEIT COVEY’s wood engraving “Vanity” on view at Yale University Art Gallery

2 Jan

Morton Fine Art is proud to announce that ROSEMARY FEIT COVEY’s wood engraving “Vanity” is on display at the Yale University Art Gallery.

ROSEMARY FEIT COVEY, Vanity, wood engraving

Rosemary Feit Covey
South African and American, born 1954
Vanity
1988
Wood engraving
Edition 35/80
In this domestic tableau, the dressing room and table of Washington D.C.–based printmaker Rosemary Feit Covey are transformed into the stage set for a vanitas—traditionally, a type of still-life painting in which skeletons, skulls, and decaying objects serve to caution against the transience of earthly pleasures. One of the premier wood engravers of the contemporary period, Covey here makes an allegory of herself by drawing a parallel between the artist’s laborious process of direct carving into a wood block to render the black-and-white portrait and her similarly difficult work of maintaining the appearance of youth and beauty, with the aid of colorful makeup and jewelry.
Self-Portrait Prints from the Jane N. Haslem Collection
Curator’s Statement
Scholars have debated whether William Shakespeare’s well-known words “This above all, to thine own self be true,” spoken by the courtier Polonius to his son Laertes in the first act of Hamlet, were meant ironically. In any case, the words were not directed at artists. But when we look at an artist’s self-portrait, we assume that he or she is conveying something truthful—even if, indeed, the image is clearly ironic, as is Robert Arneson’s self- portrait as a classical bust, or if the artist refers to the biblical story of Salome, as does Larry Day, or if the figure appears in the age-old guise of an allegory of Vanity, as does Rosemary Feit Covey. Covey’s print, in fact, speaks to one of the fundamental reasons artists make self- portraits: to assert, in defiance of the skeletal figure lurking behind each of us, “I am here,” in the present, and—even more importantly—in the future, “I was here.”
These works, selected from a recent gift to the Gallery from Jane N. Haslem of sixty-eight printed self-portraits by twentieth-century American artists, range in mood from contented to haunted, in tone from earnest to sardonic, in composition from a straightforward head and shoulders to the complex scenarios of John Wilde or Peter Milton. They vary significantly in size, and they were produced by a broad gamut of printmaking media— woodcut, etching, engraving, drypoint, and lithography. Yet, with all of these variations, each print persuades us that it is true to the artist’s self.
Morton Fine Art, 1781 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC 20009
(202) 628-2787
mortonfineart@gmail.com

 

 

OSI AUDU in the Village Voice

17 Mar

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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Osi Audu was born in Nigeria in 1956, and his shape-shifting drawings derive partly from the Yoruba concept that the human head encompasses a duality of spirit and matter, mind and body. Combining layered graphite and fathomless black pastel edged with sleek white lines, each of Audu’s renderings oscillates between a depiction of an empty and oddly shaped container — imagine a hatbox with tendrils — and a space-warping geometric abstraction. The graphite planes shimmer like sheet metal, seemingly enclosing dark expanses rimmed with light.

Osi Audu, Self Portait No. 42, 15"x22.5", graphite on pastel on paper

Osi Audu, Self Portait No. 42, 15″x22.5″, graphite on pastel on paper

Segueing between three-dimensional representation and vivid graphic design, Audu’s work encourages mind games that summon unexpected allusions. With its cartoonish curves, Self-Portrait No. 57 (2015) recalls the line drawing Alfred Hitchcock made of himself for his television show, which, during the opening titles, would be filled with the director’s own shadow. Audu delivers a similar sense of disembodied animation, flummoxing the brain as his velvety surfaces dazzle the eye. Some future production of Hamlet could up the metaphysical ante by using one of these drawings as a stand-in for Yorick’s skull.

Click HERE to view the full article.

Click HERE to view available drawings by OSI AUDU.

Contact Morton Fine Art with acquisition inquiries.

Morton Fine Art, 1781 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC 20009

(202) 628-2787, mortonfineart@gmail.com, http://www.mortonfineart.com

OSI AUDU on his “Self Portrait” drawings in pastel and graphite

11 Feb

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I explore the light sheen of graphite, the matte, light absorbing quality of black pastel, the white of paper and canvas, as well as the visually affecting interactions of colors to investigate form and its evocative potential to suggest or hint at something about the shape of the head. I am interested in the dualism of form and void, and the ontological relation between the tangible and intangible, something and nothing, light and dark, body and mind, the dual nature of being – the self in portraits.

The construction of a sense of self is a very complex process, perhaps even more so in our increasingly global age, in which the boundaries between race, nationality, gender and sexuality are getting more and more blurred. I am interested in issues of self identity, and in concepts of the self rooted in my cultural experiences growing up in Nigeria, as well as global metaphysical, scientific, and social concepts of the self. There is a Yoruba thought that consciousness, referred to as the “head”, has both a physical dimension called the “outer head” and a non-physical one: “the inner head”. It is the visual implications of concepts like this that I find intriguing. The title, Self-Portrait, in my work, is more about the portrait of the intangible self, rather than a literal portrait of the artist.

Osi Audu, 2015

OSI AUDU in ArtDaily

19 Jan
Exhibition of recent drawings by Osi Audu opens at Skoto Gallery

Self-Portrait No 1, 2016, graphite and pastel on paper mounted on canvas, 56 x 72 ins. Courtesy Skoto Gallery.

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NEW YORK, NY.- Skoto Gallery presents New Portraits: Self in the Global Age, an exhibition of recent drawings by Osi Audu. Born in Nigeria, the artist was educated in that country and the United States. For over two decades now, he has maintained a strong professional presence in Korea, Japan, Great Britain, United States, Italy, Germany, Austria and Africa through highly acclaimed exhibitions of his paintings. His work is in several private and public collections including The British Museum; The Horniman Museum, London; Schmidt Bank, Bayreuth, Germany; The Iwalewa House, Germany, The Wellcome Trust Collection, London, The National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC and Newark Museum, Newark, New Jersey. His work was included in the recently concluded 2015 Venice Biennale, in the collateral event exhibition – Frontiers Re-imagined at the Palazzo Grimani Museum in Venice.

This is his third solo exhibition at the gallery. The reception is on Thursday, January 14th, 6-8pm. The artist will be present.

Of Selfies and Shadow play: Osi Audu’s Self-Portrait
Osi Audu has the astute ability to break down complex ideas into simplified, visually appealing compositions. He has developed a unique vocabulary that emphasizes geometry, volume, tactility, and quality of the tromp l’oeil, in a career that spans nearly thirty years. Though on flat surface, his work appears three-dimensional. Solid black forms dominate the center of the picture plane. Some cast reverent shadows that taper to the edges of the paper or canvas. With voluminous architectural shapes composed of different parts but bound seamlessly by slick white lines in the new Self-Portrait series, Audu stretches the boundaries of abstraction, teasing the imagination. There is clarity of form that immediately casts a spell on the viewer. Yet Audu’s work does not give in to pedestrian interpretation. One must first acquaint oneself with the philosophy that informs his creative disposition in order to have a more meaningful encounter with the body of work. Though minimalist abstraction is a principal motivation, it is not abstraction for mere sake nor is the dualism (solids and shadows, black and grey) that is apparent in his oeuvre a mere visual device or creative flair. Both are conceptual armatures that help to advance an artistic position and the culturally-derived epistemology that grounds his work.

Audu’s aesthetics draws specifically upon the Yoruba ontology of dual consciousness centered on the human head. The head (ori) is a bifurcated ensemble that best represents the intertwining of spirit and matter, mind and body. Orí inú (invisible or inner head) is the locus of consciousness, an a priori that gives substance to being. Orí òde (outer or tangible head), the physical manifestation of consciousness, is a vehicle of perception, identity, and interaction with reality. It is this dialogic imagining of beingness, of the human self, that Audu translates on white paper and canvas, using black pastel, graphite, primary colors, wool, among other media. His use of black monochrome holds pertinent symbolic value. It ramifies the cultural vicissitudes of blackness as well as outlines Audu’s position of engagement in an art world that is burdened by a historical legacy of excluding or de-legitimizing black artists who claim the arcane language of abstraction.

In previous solo exhibitions at Skoto Gallery such as Osi Audu: Ile Ori/Ori Ile (House of the Head/Head of the House) in 2006, the head is addressed as a metaphor of collective consciousness. Audu explores the head as a cognitive altar that dictates the cycle of life and human responses to existential conditions. Conversely, the current exhibition titled New Portraits: Self in the Global Age focuses on the autonomous self, shifting emphasis from collective consciousness to the singular being as unit of sensation. It comprises of eighteen works from the ongoing Self-Portrait series. They push Audu’s fastidious formalism, complex forms, and geometric abstraction further albeit in a different direction. Conceptually, one might speak of them as selfies, those totems that feed the narcissist cult of the individual, very symptomatic of our contemporary world.

Yet we are admonished not to think of the works as portraits in a physiognomic sense. Instead, they are reflections on the ways in which the individual negotiates his/her being in the world. Following Maurice Merleau-Ponty, they are the artist’s attempts to distill perception, by relating and piecing together the spectacles of his own world in relation to the world at large. It is the interior-self that forms the basis of rootedness; the source of identity and personhood. As such, Audu casts his gaze inward, to his Orí inú, the seat of consciousness where memories also reside; reconciling it with his Orí òde, the vessel that bears out his past and present experiences, of growing up and studying in Nigeria, living in the United Kingdom, and current domicile in New York. Altogether, the works capture Audu’s attempt to find himself in a teleological world that is mediated by relations. Ultimately, what lies at the core of this new body of work is a phenomenological awareness of being part of a globalized reality, marked by changing conditions, cultural exchanges on a planetary scale, and a network of disjunctive and constitutive references.

Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi
Artist, Art Historian, and Curator of African Art
Hood Museum of Art
Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire