Thursday 17 May 2018

From bonding to 'Triad', artists take off touring exhibition in Lagos

Olorunfemi Kinrin's 'Chinelo', 2018, Oil on Canvas, 31 x 22 in.

Suraj Adekola, Monsur Awotunde and Olorunfemi Kinrin have been together through schools and post-training career. The artists' bonding progreses with Triad, a touring group art exhibition, which takes off on Saturday, May 19, 2018, at Alexies Galleries, Victoria Island, Lagos. The exhibition, according to the gallery, is being proposed to continue in US and the UK at a later date to be announced.
From Adekola's exploring of balance and harmony among features of art, to Awotunde's abstraction that creates convergence for modern and contemporary appropriation as well as Kinrin's humility in submission to colour dynamics, Triad brings an enriched gathering of artists into the Lagos art space. Interestingly, the three artists are based outside Lagos.

After showing his solo titled Nihin Lohun, a body of identical work at Rele Gallery last year, Awotunde now adds exciting tones, shapes and colours to the current pieces as parts of Triad. This much, for example, exudes in a streetscape abstract titled 'Town with King', acrylic on canvas, 24 x 22 in (2018). Deriving its theme from a Yoruba native democratic cultural saying 'Nilu t’o l'oba, to ni ijoye (In a town with King and chiefs), the painting coalesces geometric and hues of toning to form narrative textures about a people's value. Indeed, Yoruba questions the relevance of leadership whenever odd things happen. 
The artist relates such value to the recurring state of oddity in Nigeria. And what has inspired the drastic depth in tones of his work, compared to the monochrome-like pieces he exhibited last year? "Then, I was coming from a different environment in the UK", Awotunde recalls a clime he describes as "less colorful compared to Nigeria". He also explains the transformation of his work. "When I got to London my work shifted from  representations to abstraction".

Professing to be an artist who creates balance and harmony between colours, shapes, texture, mass and space, Adekola applies the mentioned features in embossing imagery from the canvas. Among such works that extend the dynamics of colour and space are mostly close-up faces such as 'As We Live, So We Will Be Remembered' series and 'Talking Eyes'. However, the artist exudes quite a profound eclectic form in the two set of paintings.

Further expanding his diversity of forms is what he calls 'Purity series', a set of work with white dominance. In  'Victory 2', an acrylic on canvas, Adekola almost dissolve three standing figures into the dominating white background. Though in victory sign features, the figures' expressions could as well passed for transparent declaration such as 'i come with clean hands', stressing the purity essence of the series.

'A Town with King', acrylic on canvas, 24" x 22 (2018), by Monsur Awotunde

Kinrin is an artist whose art of linear colour rendition lifts lino printing-like tones onto the canvas in painting forms. More about his deviation from the regular is the choice of focus. No political or social comments, the artist just like to express his strength, and of course, deficiency too in the process of creating of art. His works, he says, are "born out of the realisation and consciousness that as a an artist "I have a serious deficiency in tonal composition and understanding of colours".

That sounds more like an artist who tries to express his bold movement of brush under the cover of modest statement. However, art is practical; deliberate or not, Kinrin's work exposes his strength. Mostly in close up of faces, the linear colour identity shows resplendence.

Sponsored by Pepsi, Delta Airline, Amarula, Nederburg, Cobranet Internet Service Provider, Cool FM, Wazobia FM/TV, Cool FM/TV, Chocolate Royal, The Avenue Suites, Art Café and The Homestores Limited, Triad is the first major group exhibition of the artist's in Lagos. "They work together and very receptive", curator at Alexis Galleries, Patsy Chidiac describes the artist's bonding. "They work in the same environment from schooling at Auchi Polytechnic and later as lecturers, Kogi State Polytechnic".

From the Artists statements:
"Adekola attended Auchi Art School and graduated as one of the best Painting Students in 2007. He has sustained a full time studio practice since then with several group and joint exhibitions under his name. His works have been featured in TKMG Auction in Nigeria, Bonhams in London and Piasa Auction in Paris. His work features a diversity in style that is reflective of the many perspectives we are forced to deal with in our everyday life circumstances. Suraj’s current body of work oscillates between figurative representations and abstraction which demands strong emotions and conveys message".

Awotunde: "The components of theorization, contextualization and articulation are as important and relevant as the work produced for an artist in the direction of my kind of current practice. These components become more imperative especially in an environment where abstraction is not intuitively grasped. Exhaustive explanation is mostly expected by my audience for every decision behind my creative rationale. For this reason, first, as a lifelong visual art ‘student’ and an instructor, continuous search for ways of improvement in these components becomes more important to me".

Suraj Adekola's 'As we live, so we will be remembered-1', 2018, Acrylic on Canvas, 100cm X 100cm

Kinrin: "The paintings I have created for this exhibition do not address current artistic trends, are not topical, do not address issues of social commentary, they do not depict directly or indirectly the political landscape or politicians inside or outside the country, infact, as far as I am concerned they are not conceptual. They are simple, plain and direct, they were born out of the realization and consciousness that as a painter I have a serious deficiency in tonal composition and understanding of colours. The paintings are mostly colour studies that I embarked upon in my quest to better understand colours".
-Tajudeen Sowole.

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