Owusu Ankomah: MICROCRON BEGINS
In his second solo exhibition at October Gallery the renowned artist Owusu-Ankomah will exhibit a new body of works on canvas.
Born in Sekondi, Ghana, in 1956, Owusu-Ankomah pursued studies in Fine Arts at Ghanatta College in Accra before moving to Bremen, Germany where he now lives and works. His charged paintings on canvas depict an alternate world wherein monumental human figures – his core motif – are shown moving within an ocean of signs that surround, support and, in fact, define them. The way in which these figures coexist and interact with various symbolic sets has developed through distinct phases over time, reflecting Owusu-Ankomah’s own journey of spiritual discovery. His early work drew heavily on the ancient traditions of African rock-painting and masquerade, before his figures shed their masks and body paintings to become unashamedly visible. Finally, naked and powerful, these eloquent actors became covered in scripts of complex symbols that, in a studied trompe l’oeil effect, camouflage their finely sculpted bodies against alternating backgrounds of relevant and significant signs.
Using a palette of new colours, Owusu-Ankomah’s latest work further develops these possibilities, adding further visual signs of his own invention to the customary lexicon of adinkra symbols which each represent a particular concept used by the Akan-speaking peoples of Ghana. In the same Akan language kusum refers to sacred sites involved in the secret performances of mystery rites. Owusu-Ankomah extends his visual explorations in novel directions by developing innovative symbols, such as the Microcron – the circle of shining orbs signifying ‘universes inside universes,’ which so entrances the figure in the image above. This unique symbolic logic yokes together ancient traditions of secret knowledge with current speculation about the mysterious nature of reality derived from theoretical physics, which predicts the parallel coexistence of multi-dimensional universes within a single multiverse.
These and other ‘mysteries’ are embedded in the symbolic web of messages– both secret and exoteric – which beguile the inhabitants of these marvellously painted worlds. The same iconic glyphs encapsulate, for those who strive to decipher their concealed meanings further, Owusu-Ankomah’s musings on the wonders of this mysterious world replete with secret signs and alive with hidden meanings.