Monday, 18 May 2009

The canvas Beyond the Obvious

Lady, by Odunifa


THE artists, Ade Odunifa, Ogaga Tuodeinye and Sylvester Aigbogun, believe that there is little innovation on canvas these days. To them, painting now offers fewer challenges.
The need to make the canvas more exciting led them to do the show, Beyond the Obvious, held at Terra Kulture,Victoria Island, Lagos, recently.
Tuodeinye hints that the idea of redefining the canvas came last year and “grew to the point that we planned to have 25 works per artist, making 75, but had to come down to 50, in all.”
Aigbogun provides a more direct explanation as to what led to the theme. According to him, though they have impasto common in their works, “but each is different because of the materials used, which is beyond the obvious.”
For Odunifa, in pastel and oil, he appears to have found what he calls “beyond the common.”
At the end of the show, Beyond the Obvious was not a disappointment. What led to the theme ended up being less important as the exhibits convinced visitors that truly Terra Kulture was gradually returning to the higher quality shows it’s been known for.
The first two shows of the year in the gallery had sent wrong signals about the high standard the place was noted for.
Odunifa’s palette revealed a romance with draughtsmanship, rather than the textured canvas. This gave the series, Figure Paintings, a classic touch, even in their impressionistic look.
According to Odunifa, “I painted these two pieces in two hours just to be free of any confinement; not minding the results. I could have done the two works with my eyes closed.”
A foray into why some of the works were Untitled revealed that it was better to allow the viewing public to interpret them and come up with whatever title they desire.
Tuodeinye argues, “some collectors, mostly women, prefer works to be untitled, so that, they can interpret them, to soothe their moods.”
In his past shows, Tuodeinye, who studied Fine Art at Yaba College of Technology (Yabatech), Lagos, hardly appeared a minimalist, but one of his works, in the Hope series, exposed him as hiding behind those realism skills he is known for. He had worked on several art projects for the United Nations Fund Population Fund, UNFPA and Action Health Incorporated.
The works — oil and acrylic on canvas — offered therapeutic lessons.
Also in series were Aigbogun’s Urban Migration; a depiction of “one of my interactions with cities.”
And in a kind of a revisit to the renowned Alfred Hitchcock, the painter’s Emotions in boxes of four figural images of people, each in a space, reminded the viewer of the psycho-therapeutic theme explored by Hitchcock.
In these boxes, it would be hard for anyone to end a day without one of the moods depicted by Aigbogun. He boasts: “My works lead you faster to a destination.”
A graduate of Ahmadu Bello University, Odunifa who has been practising for 10 years after graduation, participated in the last Pastel Exhibition of Mydrim Gallery tagged New Page.
His leaning towards oil, he explains is because “pastel is fragile, you can’t play around with it easily.”

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