It seems that the art world gets re-energized every few years by fresh input from African artists. There was a huge show presented by the Museum of Modern Art at PS1 in Queens in the early years of this century that, like the influx of such art 100 years earlier, got its start in Europe. More recently the growing number of African artists showing in New York galleries was reflected in a Dorsky Museum exhibit at SUNY New Paltz earlier this year (it originated in Detroit a year ago).
The curator of that last show, Hurley-based Osi Audu, will be the focus of a rare one-person exhibit opening with a 3 p.m. talk and a 4 p.m. reception Saturday, October 20 at the Kleinert/James Center for the Arts, 36 Tinker Street in Woodstock this weekend. Curated by Sylvia Leonard Wolff, “Osi Audu: Dialogues with African Art” will feature the artist’s large abstract paintings, as well as some of the art Audu has collected from his homeland in Nigeria, and elsewhere on the African continent, over the years.
“I am interested in the dualism of form and void, and the metaphysical relation between the tangible and intangible, something and nothing, light and dark, body and mind, the dual nature of being — the self in portraits,” Audu writes of his works, which play off the geometric elements known in African sculpture and design. His writings also reference elements in the traditional Yoruba concept of the mind, which works from the idea of opposites being necessarily interlinked, and the centrality of an “inner head,” or strong point of consciousness ruling all perception, and reflecting all forces of nature within one.
Audu, whose education included stints in American, British and Nigerian colleges and universities, will speak about all that underlies his art, and what we can all learn from cultures beyond ours, in a lecture at the Kleinert starting at 3 p.m., before the two hour opening reception that begins at 4 p.m.
Osi Audu’s work has been shown in numerous international exhibitions including the Kwangju Biennale, Venice Biennale, the Africa-Africa exhibition at the Tobu Museum, Japan, and the Museum of the Mind at the British Museum. His work has also been exhibited at and collected by public institutions including the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art in Washington DC, The Newark Museum in Newark, New Jersey, the British Museum, and more. He is a current recipient of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant.
The Kleinert/James Center for the Arts is located at 36 Tinker Street in Woodstock; call 679-2079 or visit woodstockguild.org for further information