|'Stepping Out-2' (mixed media, 121x152 cm, 2018) by Agbezin Bamidele George.
Currently reconnected, George and Osaro are making their debut joint exhibition with Treads Of Infinity, holding on March 14-22, 2020 at Alexis Galleries, Victoria Island, Lagos. From the two basic medium of painting and sculpture, the artists are stepping out of their rich oeuvre into freshness of contemporaneity.
“The exhibition is about new styles and ideas,” co-curator Bimpe Owoyemi stated during a preview for select guests at Alexis. “Also, in this exhibition we are partnering with WARIF again.”
In figurative of mostly ladies’ themes, the paintings by George exude radiance and glamour. With mixed media of newsprint on canvas, George, for example, in Stepping Out, coalesces beauty, boldness and fashion as the painting is spiced with motifs, from the artist’s new visual repertoire. The three-figure painting is self-explanatory in the context of one of the ladies whose boldness, in indecent exposure, highlights the blurring line of virtuousness.
Still on boldness in contemporary fashion, George’s stylized figurative painting captures a portraiture composition of another fashionable lady titled Yeye Oge. While the title derives its identity from Yoruba pop culture of ‘leading lady of style,’ again, the artist’s emphasis on exposure of female torso highlights the exploding contemporary fashion trends in public spaces.
Out of bonded stones and bronze, Osaro moulds busts, figures and other sculptures that are pseudo-surrealism. In one of the works titled Hibernation, done in bonded stone, the artist’s form of moulding different human heads as one sculptural piece radiates pseudo surrealism. Osaro explains that the sculpture depicts diverse feelings of recycling people’s energy.
Still on creating unusual human figure, another piece titled Lifted, breaks the composite into bust and hands, in an assemblage-like composite However, the energy expressed in the figure’s facial features, no doubt, connects the strength in the separated hands.
Interestingly, the bonded stones materials implored by Osaro appears like an alternative — possibly — a replacement material for glass fibre to withstand outdoor hostility.
George’s recent journey towards Tread of Infinity included a residency in Togo, two years ago, “that prepared me for what I am doing today.” Earlier, he was the youngest member of Pan-African Circle of Artists (PACA) in 2004. Being the youngest member of PACA group also shaped me for the future.”
On the theme of the exhibition, George recalled that he and Osaro, over ten years ago at Artzero’s Art on the Mainland shows “had wanted to work together before now,” but was never realized. “Surprisingly, Alexis is making that a reality by bringing us together in 2020 for a joint exhibition.”
The theme of the exhibition, he disclosed, “represents our commonality: we exchange studio visits and ideas, regularly.”
Osaro added “Yes, sometimes we had reason to disagreed and agreed on issues.”
He noted that the theme of the exhbition reflects how he and George “have been on and off the art circuit, and then chose a title that exposes our new art.”
A mix of Yoruba and Benin cultural contents, Osaro, said are unavoidable in his art. Reason: “Being born and spent nearly all my life in Yorubaland influences my choice of themes, which I also link to Benin origin.”
|A bronze cast bust titled 'Adenike' by Luke Osaro.
A curatorial note from Alexis Galleries states: “George’s work addresses the everyday with resolutely stylized, maintaining a curious balance between the gestural energies. With his latest study of the quilt art, he now manipulates relationship between colors, pattern, design, and forms on rigorously textured canvases.
“Osaro loves to share his experience of human activities in bronze cast, bonded stone and glass fiber. As they live out friendship, love, dreams and hope. ‘Treads of Infinity’ no doubt is the combination of two different ideas aiming at a sole purpose of depicting or reincarnating the divine attributes of human, with different medium of art.”