|Owusu-Ankomah, Microcron Begins No. 24, 2014, Acrylic on canvas, 55 x 63 inches. Image via Skoto Gallery.|
October 23, 2014 – January 10, 2015
Opening reception: Thursday, October 23, 2014, 6-8pm
529 West 29th Street, 5th Floor
New York, NY
From Skoto Gallery e-blast:
Skoto Gallery is pleased to present Microcron Begins, an exhibition of a new series of paintings by the Ghanaian-born artist Owusu-Ankomah. This is his third solo show at the gallery.
Owusu-Ankomah’s work is informed by a sophisticated discourse on traditional philosophical concepts as well as a deep understanding of the aesthetic and cultural character of the African continent. He draws inspiration from the visual power of symbols including the ancient Adinkra sign system of his homeland, abstract symbols, logos and ideograms from contemporary global cultures combined with an awareness of a vast array of both formal and inherited traditions to create work that is dense with visual complexity. A master of harmony and dissonance in composition, his highly characteristic and clearly recognizable work seeks to balance spatial and structural concerns. He exploits the themes of memory, history and the passage of time through the filter of personal experience to create work that is never merely decorative, yet embodies a philosophy of communication which obliges us to reflect anew upon common elements of our humanity. His work evinces an ability to reconcile intelligence and sensibility, knowledge and intuition as well as matter and spirit.
Integral to the body of work in Owusu-Ankomah’s new series is the symbol of the Microcron, a word coined by the artist is the circle of circles, the confluence and reincarnation of all signs and symbols. It stands for an all-embracing order system of being and thoughts; it stands for the unit of man, nature and cosmos. It is the ultimate symbol, the symbol of symbols. He explores notions of spiritualism and spirituality, the nature of consciousness, metaphysics, scientific cosmology and their philosophical implications to create strong works that reflects a continuum between the inherited past and a self-determined future. He possesses an inimitable ability to unite a limited palette of black and white with hints of color, light and surface while pushing the bounds of his aesthetic to create works of remarkable elegance and lyrical beauty. The muscular male figures in his work are naked, radiant and self-confident, set within a universe of symbols with partial outlines of their bodies refracting light as they weave in and out of a hidden world that reflects the balance of mind, body and spirit within the vessel of the human body. The new works reveal an acute awareness of the diversity, contradictions and complexity of modern society as he explores the tension between contained pictorial energy and boundless space.
Owusu-Ankomah was born in the coastal city of Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana in 1956 and graduated from Ghanatta College of Art, Accra before moving to Europe where he set up his studio in Bremen, Germany in 1986. He has participated in numerous exhibitions in Africa, Europe, the Americas and Asia including Dakar Biennial (1996 and 2006), Havana Biennial 1997, Africa Remix, Museum Kunstpalast, Dusseldorf, 2004 (traveled to London, Paris, Stockholm and Tokyo) and Ghana National Museum, Accra, 2004. His work is in several private and public collections including Ghana National Museum, Accra; MTN Art Institute Collection, Johannesburg, South Africa; FirstRand Bank, Johannesburg, South Africa; Renaissance Capital, Moscow, Russia; National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC; Espacio Centre de Arte Contemporáneo, Camargo, Spain; British Museum, London; Brooklyn Museum, Detroit Institute of Art, MI. Newark Museum, NJ and The Hood Museum, Dartmouth College, NH. He is included in the exhibition Double Take: African Innovations, Curator: Kevin Dumouchelle which opens October 28th, 2014 at the Brooklyn Museum.
A fully illustrated catalogue, published by Kunstverein Bad Salzdetfurth e.V, Germany will accompany the exhibition with essays in English, French and German by Oluwatoyin Vincent Adepoju, Gerard Houghton, Hans-Werner Kalkmann, Moyo Okediji, Owusu-Ankomah and Rikki Wemega-Kwawu.