Saturday 19 November 2011


Balogun... Dumping palette knife for brushing
Whatever made a young artist dumped the technique of dimensional illusion on canvas, otherwise known as impasto, for a flat surface painting calls for curiosity, isn’t it?
  This much a risk, painter, Ola Balogun has taken. But the dimensional effect achieved through the thicker texture he was using before, he argues, is not totally lost in his new switch.
  Depending on who is looking what: from the landscape and skyline works like Harmattan, Aquatic Splendour, a piece on chaotic Lagos and titled Lagos, to Northern Architecture, an artist who attempts to swim and float in the waters of impressionism and semi-photo finish beckons.
  In his impressionistic skill, the Auchi Polytechnic trained artist takes one through a Lagos Central Business District, seen from the paintbrush of an artist whose composite is split into stages. In the work, Eko Akete, one’s immediate attention is drawn to the highlight of the foreground in unusually bright mood for what it actually represents. And while trying to digest that alongside the notorious commercial yellow buses of Lagos, which the artist depicts in very simple style, next is the deep blue colour scene of the building, which in turn takes a viewer to the faintly illustrated background.
  Perhaps this could make up for his lost of impasto, isn’t it?
  "The use of lines, through flat colours, but more simplified, I believe can give the same effect of thicker layers of paints and give the needed two dimensional effect," he explains.
  As exaggerated as the artist’s explanation may sound, indeed there is something about this work that makes it so unsuspecting that one could get hooked, faster.
  For the work, Aquatic Splendour, the title is an apparent contrast to what the artist captured. This is the common squalour of houses built on stilts in several waterside areas of Lagos. Again, there is something about Balogun’s depiction of this most-painted-scenes  by artists that gives one the impression of fresh breath to such captures.
  And how far can an artist go in an environment that is full of landmines of unpredictable collecting public? "I believe there is no end to a limit. For me the target is to go the extra mile; artists with ambition and vision often share a common drive, a deeply felt need that may best be described as consummate hunger. It has long been my belief that the most intelligent and successful artists draw from two sources of influence, the mastery of technique and fountain of expression."
  Between collections for the regular adult tastes and juvenile choice lies Balogun’s style; perhaps luring another set of art admirers.

A member of the Lagos based group, Defactori Studio, Balogun’s last three shows included, Beyond the Limit at the Terra Kulture, 2008, Passage of Time, Pendulum Art Centre, Lagos, Emerging Culture Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja and Miniature Art Fair, Frame Master, Onikan, Lagos, all in 2006.

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