MYTHOPOEIA: RECENT PAINTINGS BY MOYO OGUNDIPE
From October 15 to 22, 2016, Omenka Gallery will present Mythopoeia, an exhibition of recent work by leading contemporary painter Prof Moyo Ogundipe. For him, the creative practice is akin to mythopoeia: “an unending search for the meaning and reason and rhythm of life.” According to the curator of the show, Janine Sytsma, Ph.D., “this exhibition traces Ogundipe’s artistic development during the last twenty years as he moved between Nigeria and the United States and developed a mythic language to reflect the ever-changing global condition. Viewers of the paintings presented here are cast in the role of protagonists and are invited to navigate the labyrinth of patterns and to unearth the treasures embedded within.”
Dr Kunle Filani observes “Ogundipe’s visual articulation is summative of the meticulous intellectualization of artistic forms by the Yoruba artists over the ages. The penchant for perfect rationalization of visual images seems ceaseless in the Yoruba creative regenerative continuum. From the ancient classical Ife bronze and terra-cotta sculptures, Owo art, and even the hybrid of Benin, Tsoedo, and Tada bronzes to the more recent exquisite Ekiti/Igbomina woodcarvings, there is a peculiar compact and sophisticated appropriation of forms that is unique in spite of the remarkable diversity of African art.”
Each work evokes a distinct response. For example, Rhapsody is likely to arouse excitement with its bold, predominantly warm palette and sharp, diagonal thrusts, while Cotyledon of Songs, from the following year, is more likely to instill calmness, with its comparatively subtle, cool palette and intricate layers of patterning.
Nonetheless, it is up to viewers to determine their own course through the paintings, and in this process, they may find meaningful parallels with life’s journey. In the end, the works, like the best myths, open up thought, providing forums for contemplation of the world in which we live.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Prof Moyo Ogundipe, a prominent Denver painter, was born in Nigeria and fled its military dictatorship in the 1980s. Before leaving Nigeria, he was an art teacher, a graphic illustrator, an award-winning television producer/director and an independent filmmaker. In spite of all his creative pursuits, he has always considered himself first and foremost a visual artist.
Ogundipe has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Art from the University of Ife, Ile-Ife, Nigeria and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Painting from The Hoffberger School of Painting, Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore.
He has exhibited extensively in Nigeria, Europe and the United States, including The Orlando Museum of Art, the Maryland Museum of African Art, the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, and recently, in African Renaissance: Old Forms, New Images at the Denver Art Museum.
Ogundipe’s paintings have been described as hypnotic, colorful and densely patterned. He paints in the rich tradition of the Yoruba culture of Nigeria and attempts in his paintings to evolve a style that is a fusion or synthesis between his traditional heritage and his Western education.
In 1996, Ogundipe was awarded the Pollock-Krasner Fellowship, and in 2005, he was invited to become a member of Africobra, an organization founded in the 1960s whose membership is comprised of distinguished African American artists.
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