1 December 2012

Nigeria: A New Consciousness to Art

Paintograph and Paintocast-A New Consciousness and exploratory exhibition of mixed media and prints by Kunle Adeyemi was recently held at the Quintessence Arts Gallery, Ikoyi, Lagos. The visuals on display presented experiments, techniques and processes of artworks produced during the artist's exploratory research at Abraka. Mary Ekah writes

"Paintograph and Paintocast" Kunle Adeyemi said, is a vocabulary he generated during his research for a PHD programme in Delta State University, Abraka. "As the Whiteman has generated oil painting, water colour, acrylics and the rest of them. I believe that we actually have the same wherewithal to look at our world, particularly from the local content and generate some ideas, vocabulary and structures and that is actually what I have come up with. So, Paintograph and Paintocast is a synergy between painting, printmaking and sculpture. Before now, all these were different genres of art but right now I am saying that there should not be any boundary any longer.

"So I have actually created an avenue for the boundary to be broken. And there is no regret about it because this is our time and we need to postulate some of these things so that the generation coming would be able to take it up from there. I am actually working on an existing framework. However I stand on that framework and I know that the next generation will equally work on this same framework that we are building now", he explained his new concept, he explained his work to THISDAY.

The Information provided here is to help generate ideas for contemporary practice using materials, techniques and methods that are hitherto not explored.

"The synthesis of painting and printmaking, which this research advocates will appear to interfere with prevailing laid down notions in regular art and artistic practices, especially in the academia. That is, painting is painting, sculpture is sculpture, printmaking is printmaking, architecture is architecture, to mention just a few. This doctrinal strictness of preserving boundaries of art activities often tends to limit creativity and thereby reduces the free growth of art practice. Synthesis, in this research, should not be seen purely as eclectical, where everything is brought together whimsically. It should be seen as an approach where each part performs its aesthetic and technical function to create an artistic unison", Adeyemi further explained.

In the process of this studio experiment, Adeyemi said he encountered both the successful and the not so successful combinations of disparate elements that eventually sum the forms found in this exhibition. "Sometimes their technical and methodical combination yielded no positive result", he noted.

This notwithstanding, the exploration process led to a number of local discoveries and thereby broadened the artist's visual vocabulary and possibilities in creating many of the new forms of artworks he exhibited recently. "It should be stated that some of these discoveries were not solely as a result of personal experimentation. I many times corroborated ideas with co-researchers in the studio. They suggested some exploratory processes that delved into the use of methods and materials from sculpture, ceramics.

There were other unquantifiable inputs from my supervisors, art critics and other artists. Many of these views gave the research the luminous fluidity in creative engineering, which continuous morphological effects can be traced in the works. I do not claim absolute truth; I only try to symbolize an instrument that facilitate studio creative process", Adeyemi explained further.

The studio experiment has eventually launched this study into a complex circle of two different art genres and thereby propelled a complete departure from dogmas. It has also deadened creative stagnation and boundaries of denial that laced outdated artistic concepts. Intuition and imagination formed the rock of creative ideas from this studio exploration.

"In all, I have tried to integrate the spectator, almost as a co-author, into the creative process, with the understanding that a painterly representation ultimately foreshadows a three-dimensional illusion on a two-dimensional surface. Meanwhile, each work is not created merely as object or thing, but also as organised and conquered space. It should be felt as a trapped mass, a low- layered building and a protrusion of this trapped energy. The cast reliefs and assemblages, in some cases, create a drama, elegance, humour; and in some cases, they send signals of nervousness, tranquility, and graveness", the artist said.

Explaining some of the titles of his works and what informed them, he said, "I have a series called the House Post Series. What I am doing with the House Post Series is that in traditional African setting, we have the structures, basically the woods, which holds the house from one pillar to another, those structures are not just there for being sake, they stand as aesthetics and information, because we need to pas information from one generation to another and so if they cannot read and write, they have the artists who have been with us for a long time and so they have the artists who craft various form of structure for them which they use as posts so that generation unborn would be able to see some of these things, so that informed me to do this series", he said.

His works, Adeyemi said is informed basically by history, environment and by intuition - some times I sit down and think that if I do it this way, it would grow to another level Explaining another work titled, "Wheel of Fortune", he said, "This is a philosophical work through which I am looking at the life of a man and the fact that in life there are stages. There would be a stage where you are vibrant and that is hwy I sued some bright colours to depict this. Also there could be some dark time and also there comes a stage when you are feeble. So what that means is that life is a vicious circle - it comes around and goes around", he said.

With his "Road to the Oil Reek", Adeyemi is of the opinion that the gooses that lay the golden eggs should be taken care of. "I was in Delta State for four years for my PHD programme and I noticed that their roads are so bad, and so many things are wrong there, but that is where we get the oil which generates so much income to this nation. So if the oil isare this bad, where else could be good in this nation", he wondered.

Speaking further, he noted, "My creative art and thought as a researcher artist in recent years particularly during my graduate programme at the Delta State University witnessed freedom, innovativeness and experimentation as my visual perception and language begins to change academically. I choose to explore and communicate through some thematic works I called series. I found out that I couldn't exhaust my ideas in a single sentence or in a few words that will give full meaning or do justice to my theme. I therefore look at such subjects from multiple angles because it is difficult and too limitless for me to translate the varied moods and connotations on a lone canvas, paper and board."

These series can be found in his works like "Female Form", "Democracy", "Traditional Forms and Motifs", "Wheel of Fortune", "Dialogue", "House Posts Procession" series and so on. The general mission of this research, the artist said, is to provide a direction capable of stimulating change.

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