Sunday, 15 September 2013

In four-artists' 'Metal Fusion', curatorial content takes a leap


By Tajudeen Sowole 
It takes a deep contextual curatorial effort to gather four artists from shades of metal identities in appreciating contemporary application of the medium considered as one of the most resilient in art parlance.

Titled Metal Fusion, it's a group art exhibition featuring works of Billy Omabegho, Alex Nwokolo, Fidelis Odogwu and Uche Peters, showing from September 16 to October 12, 2013 at Temple Muse, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Three of Life by Alex Nwokolo, showing in the group exhibition, Metal Fusion.

Quite of note, the artists cut across two generations such as Omabegho, a master of over four decades-practice in polished metal; Nwokolo, though a painter by identity, but recently started exposing his background of sculpture via soft metal of discarded cans; Odogwu, one of the most consistent artists in the heavy metal medium; and Peters, young, yet relatively known with quite uncommon rendition using wire and soft metal sheet.

Whoever missed Omabegho’s last solo exhibition held at The Wheatbaker, Ikoyi, Lagos last year has another opportunity to see, at least, three of his works as the Temple Muse ambience seems to offer a different fragrant to appreciate the largely cosmic themes of the U.S-based minimalist and design artist. This midday, during the preview of Metal Fusion, works such as Homage and Divergence – miniaturized as they appear – radiate classic decor aura to complement the host’s home of choice design pieces.

Similarly, Nwokolo comes into this gathering with few of his most recent works. Known as a painter in his over two decades of post-training practice, the works exposes the metal aspect of the artist, yet in a painterly rendition. Mostly produced from flattened cans, the works, basically, transports the artist’s themes, from painting onto metal, in collage, sometimes rendering a relief effect.  This much a more pronounced design piece Urban Project , for example, explains, re-enacting - in an organised setting - the aerial view themes of rooftops Nwokolo’s paintings are known for.

In the quietness of the Temple Muse, flavoured by the soft metal works of Omabegho, Nwokolo and Peters, what exactly is Odogwu’s heavy metal-identity bringing to complete the blending of art and design in such a subtle space? Quite ironic, but Odogwu brings onto the table another side of metal that exudes the centrality of the themes, largely focusing unity and respect for each other’s right. In fact, one of the works highlights man’s appreciation of his natural partnership with the equestrian animal.

Mostly in abstraction, some of his works spread inside and outdoors of the gallery urge people to retrace the lost values of humanity. “I believe that people should always find a way out of challenges, and not lack anything”, Odogwu explains a piece titled Positive Results.  He further draws analogy from a twin work titled Unbreakable. “No matter how apart, physically, twins are, for example, they are always together”, spiritually. Other works within the humanity or communal themes include Aro Meta {Tripod of Unity} and Orisun {The Source}. For Orisun, Odogwu argues that “everything has a starting point as seen in the gushing out of water”.

Arguable a perfect blend to the Temple Muse this midday is a figural sculpture by Peter titled Weigh Before You Ask. Quite symbolic, in the concept of a life-size figure holding the justice scale in one hand and a magnifier in another, the artist seems to be warning  people to always evaluate situations or plans before pushing ahead to implement such. Aesthetically, Peter, a reluctant artist, amazes with his woven-like imploring of wire in sculpturing. 
From Metal Fusion, Fidelis Odogwu’s Positive Results.


If a section of Nigerian art still does not really understand or accept the importance of a creative director or manager of artistic contents for better presentation in an exhibition, the curator of Metal Fusion, Sandra Obiago, stresses the value of well-articulated curatorial inputs. Some exhibitions are clearly curator’s shows, Metal Fusion is one of such; it blends individual identity of the exhibiting artists for strong application of depth in the presentation.

Obiago, who is making her second appearance at Temple Muse, notes that the gathering of the four artists “creates linkages between our artistic roots and global art movements”, focusing what she describes as “new expressions in Nigerian metal art”.

She describes Metal Fusion as encompassing "intriguing range of skill and expression including the forming, bending, cutting, joining, welding, twisting and layering of steel, wire mesh, and metal scraps from beer and soft drink cans, printer plates and even electronic panels fusing into a carefully interwoven narrative”.

No comments:

Post a comment