Idiot Box Cat : Oluseye: ORI

Saturday 28 November 2015

Oluseye: ORI

Hey there folks,

If you haven't seen the blog post I did about Charles DEFIANCE (Click Here)

When I went to the Defiance exhibition that was hosted by BAND, I met a few people there, one of the people that I met was another artist who was also putting on a show with BAND. He had told me that he does charcoal drawings and portraits. I was personally excited to see what kind of works he would be showing at his show, and after attending Charles' exhibition, so I had to come check it out.

BAND presents: ORI, the first Toronto exhibition by Oluseye.

At first glance ORI is a contemporary series informed by African culture and mythology. Each portrait captures the striking angular features of the Yoruba people - evoking sculptural mask, and even "otherworldly" elements. The heavy use of charcoal pays homage to the Yoruba connection to the earth and creates the moody monochromatic wash in which Oluseye's explorations of masculinity unfold. Combining acrylic, pastel and occasionally, steel wire, Oluseye stretches the boundaries of traditional Yoruba iconography, placing it within a contemporary context that is inclusive of but not limited to cultural expression.

Entangled within layers of "geometric chaos" and two-dimensional sculptural portraits is a complex narrative that transcends cultural identity. This series is proposing freedom of gender, sexual and political expression by stripping away socially constructed ideas of hyper-masculinity within and beyond black culture. Specifically, the series examines rigid gender performance, the absence of emotional nudity, and the need for safer spaces for men to express their full humanity. The emphasis on heads, facial features (or lack thereof) and missing limbs is intended to convey vulnerability and invite conversations about co-creating more satisfying and inclusive forms of male expression.

BAND is an Organization who are geared towards the dedication of supporting, documenting and showcasing the artistic and cultural contributions of Black artists and cultural workers in Canada and abroad. Their vision are to connect black culture to communities to inspire, enlighten and educate through the arts. They are sponsored by Scotiabank.

 The Artwork  
Acrylic, Charcoal and Pastel 
48 x 56

Four You
Acrylic, Charcoal, Pastel and Steel 
30 x 36

Acrylic, Charcoal and Pastel 
14 x 18 

Acrylic, Charcoal and Pastel
36 x48  

Pencil and India Ink on Paper
22 x 30 

Ori Ode, Ori Inu, Oke Ipori 
Acrylic, Charcoal, Pastel and Steel wire on Canvas 
72 x 48 

The Outsiders, An homage to Bayard
Acrylic, charcoal, pastel, oil stick and Photo transfer on Wood panel
48 x 62 

Museum etching fine art paper and steel wire
limited edition print
8.5 x 11

Acrylic, charcoal and Pastel on Canvas
38 x 50

Broken Profile
Acrylic, Charcoal and Pastel on Canvas
48 x 62

Metallic Head (Triptych)

Metallic Head (Triptych)

Metallic Head (Triptych)
Acrylic, Charcoal and Pastel on Wood 
16 x 20 each

I really like the second piece in the Metallic Head series. There is something about the reddish-brown color that makes the piece look very rustic. The effect of that color makes the bold lines in the face stand out and deepens the whole composition of the piece, the white that Oluseye puts also gives it a lift in terms of the facial expression. The dominance in the eyes really gives it a powerful and bold look as well. Along with the other pieces in the series, Oluseye really knows how to capture depth 
within these pieces which transfers over to the audience, drawing them in to the overall energy supported by the minimum color that is used. 

Acrylic, Charcoal, Pastel and Steel wire on Canvas
36 x 48 

235 Bainbridge
Acrylic, Charcoal and Pastel on Canvas
54 x 64
Acrylic, Charcoal and Pastel on Canvas
25 x 29

Oluseye took us on a journey of tribalism, depth and the geometric forms of the male figure. His works not only symbolizes the physical, sexual and the emotional expressions, but also how an artist deeply connections with his roots. What it means to connect to your sense of home, whether it's literal or metaphoric. He's able to show you in many different ways how one can retain his sense of self through the true meaning of what it means to be in-rooted by where you came from. While, giving that expression to the world on a larger scale. 

His works gives off a very grounded vibe. You are grounded by not what you are, but who you are. You are able to express that part of you through where you come from. As an individual, it shapes you and molds you into a character of dignity as you are able to always go back to where your true sense of self lies. 
Exhibitions and shows as such as this shows me that, where you come from is very important in life. Our culture, who are parents and ancestors were and what they gave us through generational influence. Who they are and what they accomplished is like the fringes to our very existence. Whether or not we know where we come from, sometimes it's not necessarily a physical place, or growing up with biological parents and relatives. All of us want to know where we come from as human beings. Our sense of home, culture and ultimately what we feel rooted in, comes from within us, it's the fabric of our soul that feels most alive when we are comfortable in the deepest of elements. 
Through the geometric lines, the heavy application of shades such as black, grey, tan and brown, the different types of shapes and shades of light to dark, from heavy to light brush strokes. Oluseye knows how to capture depth perception, he knows how to put you in a space where history is illuminated. The detail in his work gives more life to the overall meaning behind the concepts of his pieces. 

I like how bold he can be while still giving you the impression that there's still pain, there's still gentleness, and there's still a side of masculinity that can be nurturing. As many of us forget that, we continuously think that the male figure must be hard, domineering, emotionless and only aggressive. Although, it can be those things, as the male figure traditionally is known to be protective and is looked upon as a guard/guardian in the physical sense.
The male figure can also be strong, but caring. It can protective, but nurturing. It can be full of emotion, but dominant and it can be full of honor and pride, as well bask in pain and hurt as the male, has to overcome the idolized notions and stereotypes in society. A society in which doesn't tolerate traditional males showing their softer sides, a society in which a male has to be perceived as a machine or a weapon. When deep inside, the male is a noble character who provides a solid foundation in what it means to be masculine. It doesn't mean that you can't be strong, or you can't be fierce in self-expression. It doesn't mean you can't show aggressiveness.

All it means is accepting the fact that even though your gender carries itself through physical attributes, you are still a human who display and exerts himself through physical expression, but also mental dexterity, and ultimately the emotional connection through the mind, body and soul. 

Oluseye and the BAND organization put on an amazing exhibition, and I am so pleased that I was there to see and experience the works of art as well as receiving the great vibe and energy that was there. 

To get in contact with Oluseye
Facebook: Click Here

To get in contact with BAND 
Website: Click Here
Facebook: Click Here
The exhibiton runs from November 26th till December 20th. 

Paint-Life. 2015. 


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