Wednesday 8 August 2018

'Faces & Phases'...Six years of expanding in themeless format

'Agbaagba Meta', metal sculpture by Olusola Kukoyi.

Founded by Adekusibe Odunfa with mission to generate a pool for artists in group exhibitions, Faces & Phases opens its sixth edition on Saturday August 11, 2018, at Terra Kulrure, Victoria Island, Lagos, and features 10 artists across medium. Odunfa, Kukoyi Olusola, Dudu Emmanuel, Jonathan Ikpoza, Ifeoluwa Alade, Taiwo Owoyemi, Ismail Lawal, Steve Ekpenisi, Titus Osikoya and Elizabeth  Ekpetorson are the artists of Faces & Phases-6.

It's quite a mix of artists, though all of one generation from contemporary Nigerian art period, but spread across different professional experience, covering three to as old as 20 years post-training practice. 

The essence of the Faces & Phases series resonates in featuring - for the first time -  Ekpetorson's works in the sixth edition. With figurals, the artist who is in her third year post-training career possesses brush strokes that emit poetic depth in shades of colours.

For Ikpoza, it's a familiar terrain; having shown twice in group and a solo of Faces & Phases. He returns this time around with surreal semblance and spiritual contents. Though soft in shades and hues, Ikpoza's rendition of figures delves deep into cultural and spiritual expressions, so suggest, for examples, his 'Meditation' and 'Pure Soul' series.

In stylised figures by Olusola, three dimesnsional art takes a great depth as metal submits to the artist's creative commands. This much he expresses in works such as 'Omidan', 'Agbaagba Meta', 'Igba Oyin', 'Igba Ata' and 'Making of A Royal', among others.

You probably don't appreciate the beauty of some objects and fruits until pastel rendition of Lawal captures them on paper.  Domestic objects and perhaps glazed pottery such as flower vase sharing the same space with fruits as conceptualised by the artist make dazzling aesthetics to relax nerves.

 Still on beauty as the essence of aesthetics on canvas, Osikoya' s paths through both figurative and abstraction provide critical appreciation balance for Faces & Phases-6. In fact, the artist's strength lies, perhaps in his ability to coalesce abstraction and minimalism as seen, for examples in 'King's Victory Dance' and 'Sacrifice for Tomorrow'.

Moods attract the palettes of Alade as he captures them, each, in portraiture with choice of toning that attempt to complement the themes. Among such works that might be subject of debate for those interested in colour and human moods are 'Reflection', Thoughts',  '....when' and 'Awaiting Results'.

If you are a sci-fi fan, sculptures by Ekpenisi might appeal to you.  One of such titled 'Wild Life' could pass for at least, skeletal of a  character from Hollywood filmmaker George Lucas' production.

Emmanuel, an artist whose strokes lean more on the monochromatic side of canvas brings to the group show his eclectic textures. From subtle colours titled 'Behind Every Successful Man' to 'Peace' as well as Triumph of Peace' and  'Defined Hands', the Emmanuel signature stands out from the gathering.

'Stakeholders' (acrylic on canvas, 21 x 29 inches) byTitus Osikoya.

From assembled materials, Owoyemi creates cubism style of figure titled 'Adam and Eve'. Further engaging in his conceptual sculptural assemblage of objects are 'Man and His Environment' and 'Happy People'.

"A lot of my colleagues haven't shown for a long time", Odunfa notes during preview few days ago. He traces such challenge of artists to inability to get resources to organise shows. "But coming together is the focus of Faces & Phases, which is to give artists opportunity of at least one show in a year".

Eligibility of artists featuring on the series take off from 'Call for Entries" from which shortlist is reduced to a given number of participants.
 Apart from group shows, the collective, two years ago, produced a solo show for Ikpoza. The artist who started showing in the series in its third year was brought in to fill the scheduled space of the group last year at Terra Kulture. "It takes a while for an individual to stage solo, but with Faces and Phaces, I was able to do that."
 For Ekpetorson, the 2018 edition provides a window for her "to communicate with people of my generation with the background of social commentary".

As much as the consistency of Faces and Phases group show is commendable, lack of theme to define each edition from the others takes something away from the collective of artists. Differentiating each edition by numerics of year is not exactly rich enough for documenting it's artistic trajectory and contents. But Odunfa argued that the no theme format was deliberate "so that we make it open without leaving anyone out".

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