Souls and Spirits
Opening: Wednesday, April 6th, 6-8pm
On view: April 6—May 6, 2022
Gallery Location: Voltz Clarke Gallery, 195 Chrystie Street, New York, NY, 10002
Hours: Monday – Friday: 10 am – 6 pm, Saturday: 12 pm – 5 pm, Sundays by appointment
Contact Info: , 917.292.692, voltzclarke.com
Voltz Clarke Gallery is pleased to present SOULS AND SPIRITS, a group exhibition curated by Paul Conliffe.
In SOULS AND SPIRITS Voltz Clarke celebrates the diversity of emerging artists based in Africa. The works centralize around cultural and personal identity, vibrancy, and innovative use of material. The chosen figurative artists establish various layers of Black excellence, and display evidence of a uniquely rich cultural heritage. The figurative paintings battle stereotypes regarding the concept of Blackness with innuendos of hope, resiliency, and strength.
Daniel Adenitan is based in Lagos, Nigeria and received his BSC in creative arts from University of Lagos. Adenitan aims to represent the originality and cultural richness of Black African identities. His flattened forms and selective detail, accented with gold, create vivid compositions that convey Black royalty.
Modeling paste figures emerge from the high-contrast black canvases made by Richard Adusu, who is based in Ghana. Adusu highlights iconic figures in Black history and everyday people, like friends and family, in a celebration of Black excellence and resiliency. Dappled smears of paint explore the figures’ beauty, imbuing the works with a vivid kinetic energy, and the textured surfaces reflect the rockiness of everyday life.
Ikeorah Chisom Chi-FADA is a figurative painter based in Owerri, Nigeria. He combines charcoal, pastel, and acrylics in many of his mixed media works, creating vibrant depictions of everyday life. His works illuminate the richness of Nigerian culture.
Joshua Donkor is a UK based artist combining western styles with imagery from Ghanaian culture through photo transfer in conjunction with oil portraiture. The transfers swim beneath the painted figures, revealing messages of black identity and history.
Sanya Gbemileke raises figurative and floral compositions from the canvas surface with acrylic and enamel. Experienced with large-scale mural paintings, Gbemileke often explores bold mark making and textures in his work.
The colorful paintings of Timi Light use distortion to convey an impression of peace, hope, and love. Vivid green highlights and fractured compositions allude to the flourishing gold bracts of tree limbs which, though creating a pattern of fragmented forms, is still full of life. Light invites viewers to complete these compositions with their own connotations of resiliency.
Fabric cut-offs pieced together Nusenu Prince Mawuli’s sustainable canvases. Jute textures and vibrant patterns allude to the cultural importance of African fabrics. Mawuli is based in Ghana where textiles are given as a rite of passage, which Mawuli uses to convey both pain and joy. The cultural significance of textiles pairs with environmentally conscious modes of making in Mawuli’s works.
A Fine Art graduate from The Polytechnic of Ibadan, Olawale Moses’s figurative charcoal drawings showcase Black beauty through hyperreal detailing and emphasis on a dance between light and the figure. Moses emphasizes the cultural importance of hairstyles as a signifier of familial background, status, spirituality, and other forms of social and personal identity.
Lagos, Nigeria born Oscar Ukonu, creates large-scale ballpoint pen drawings of hyperreal figures exploring gender, socio political status, and religion, through the multilayered experience of African identity. Selective rendering and emphasis bring Ukonu’s compositions to life.
Curator Paul Conliffe is a Brooklynite living in the Lower East Side of Manhattan and grew up submerged in a rich culture of the arts. He was fascinated by his father’s drawing process as a child and continues to take interest in artistic practices through art collection. He specializes in African art and would like this show to reveal the creativity and beauty developed by these emerging African artists.
Founded in 2002 in New York City, Voltz Clarke Gallery maintains a roster of emerging and mid-career artists focusing on introducing international artists to the New York and wider US market. Founder Blair Clarke believes one should cast the net wide in order to identify new talent. In a market, which is increasingly globalized, she is intrigued by the rich diversity in work found often in unexpected places. Clarke’s experience combines over eighteen years of East coast gallery associations and curatorial projects. In 2015, after thirty years of experience at Christie’s and Sotheby’s auction houses, Alistair Clarke joined the gallery as President.