We are very pleased to announce you our next duo show "Lost in the Crowd", with recent artwork by Olivia Mae Pendergast and Larry Otoo.
Olivia Mae PENDERGAST
It was in 2008 that this American-born artist discovered Africa, Malawi in particular. There she tirelessly painted the people she saw around her. Other trips would follow, Haiti, Bangladesh, but in 2016, her decision was made, she left to settle in Kenya, where she is still established. Even while she has recently painted landscapes, Olivia PENDERGAST’s favorite theme is the portrait, the figurative in the most literal sense.
Painting the world around her in Kenya does not in any way imply the search for effects that could be described as sensational. She captures "ordinary" people in their "quotidian" activities and makes them enter our visual field with ease. She saw a taxi driver, a man seated on a chair, a mother with a child; she painted them, as she saw them, without pursuing seduction, neither from the model or the observer.
The characters are painted from the front or in profile, without any particular pose, captured "as they are”. The body always occupies much more space in proportion to the head; the effects of volume reside much more in the traces left by the brushes than in a deliberate search for structure.
However, if you take the trouble to observe the canvas, nothing is left to chance. First, the backgrounds are very worked, but at the same time very discreet, all in lightness, embellished with decorative patterns (arabesques and interlacing) generally completely out of context. They assume their role, but nevertheless they carry their own strength and evocative power.
The artist breaks down light and color into a sort of very balanced checkerboard dominated by shades of red which nevertheless show black people; the effect is very striking!
This apparent simplicity conceals great creativity and the search for undetectable effects and the results are obvious, these paintings are beautiful and they move us. Their share of mystery also tickles our imagination; who is this woman?; who is this boy and even this tuk-tuk driver posing proudly in front of his vehicle? Each one carries their share of shadow, in a work which does not precisely include any.
All the poetry of her work emerges in this way, with great subtlety. And you feel its charm and sweetness at the same time as its force, not an aggressive, invasive, obvious force, but one of those forces which start from the bottom of the soul and can overturn worlds.
Olivia PENDERGAST is a very experienced artist! She completed her BFA at Columbus College’s five year Art and Design program and began exhibiting her work in 1999. She first worked as a conceptual designer in the film industry in Los Angeles for five years. And then, the call of artistic creativity was at its strongest; she left California and retired to the mountains of Utah to paint full time, away from the world and its artificial temptations. In 2007, she moved to Seattle to invest more in her artistic activity before discovering Africa the following year and finally deciding not to leave.
A renowned artist with multiple distinctions since 1999, Olivia PENDERGAST has also exhibited on three continents (America, Asia, Africa), in thirty exhibitions, with equal success and her works are in several important collections, including that of the Kenyan president, Uhuru Kenyatta.
Let us enter her universe, which claims to be the only dimension of man, take hold of her share of humanism which she generously offers us and take away this piece of soft light that she spreads through our souls.
Larry OTOO is represented by OOA Gallery since 2013, but it is always a real pleasure for connoisseurs to embrace his new work, never the same, yet not completely different. This is what we call style!
This accomplished artist, who has reached maturity, is in full possession of his creativity and technical skills, and the paintings he presents to us for this exhibition are further masterful proof of this as well as the promise of an ever ascending curve.
Larry OTOO is Ghanaian and lives in Ghana, that fascinating West African country that combines tradition and modernity so well. Holder of a Master's Degree in African Art and Comparative Literature from the prestigious "Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology" in Kumasi, in his country,
OTOO has participated in exhibitions and residencies around the world and today is considered one of the famous painters from Ghana. OTOO’s works have been presented in Ghana, of course in Spain, but also in prestigious institutions in the United States, Denmark, The Netherlands, Ivory Coast, Italy, Canada and Germany, and some can be found in public collections as far away as Japan. This does not disturb the life or the creativity of the artist, who traces his path with constants, revealing an infinity of variables.
As Larry OTOO himself explains, “All paintings have three things in common. First, they are dedicated to the human being; second, I only use tones derived from a limited number of primary colors that sometimes break down into secondary colors. This is my specialty as a painter. Third, they are all paintings of an unusual style.” From the market scenes he is famous for to the most unusual portraits of women, OTOO’s work comes from an alchemy that only its author understands.
Therefore, we could expect some form of fatigue, from the systematic impact of pure color, but the artist's talent makes it possible to ensure that this is not the case and that he does not tire of discovering the different forms and combinations that his works take in a multitude of variants. African markets are all alike, except no one is alike. If the abundance of the crowd, the smells, the colors of the clothes of the people who come there and the products that are offered there to the curiosity of the buyers are a constant, the dryness of the air, or the persistent rain, the luminosity, the passages from shadow to light, everything differentiates them and everything recreates them both similarly and differently.
The objects used by both the merchants and buyers, depending on the circumstances, also create variables that have a strong identity. The power of the artist, using the old formula of the alchemists, is to find order; order from the primordial chaos. Loving to represent human encounters in traditional situations (markets, festivals, etc.) in his country, Larry OTOO finds there his favorite material; the play of tin roofs, that of umbrellas and parasols that mark elegant territories, the contours of the narrow streets that make up the many graphic motifs that structure his paintings, especially since the often unusual point of view helps to give them an attractive new perspective.
A Ghanaian painter, Larry OTOO is also a painter from Ghana, this country, his country, which inspires his creation. The small portraits of women that accompany these larger works are apparently only a fragment, the best chosen, of his most ambitious works. The palette remains the same, the intention as well and the isolation and solitude of the subject do not give it less strength or charm. These colorful portraits are as if descended from other paintings to be better admired and it is with great pleasure that we admire them as well. In these gloomy and distressing times, Larry OTOO's paintings are like a ray of sunshine that soothes, warms and invigorates us.
"Lost in the Crowd" - 24/10 - 29/11
Opening 24/10 at 8pm
OOA Gallery, Carrer Nou 1, 08870 Sitges - Barcelona, Spain
Sorella ACOSTA – email@example.com – +34 618 356 351