<strong>Installation View</strong>,

<strong>Ablade Glover</strong>,
<em>Trotro Station</em> (detail), 2019.<br>Oil on canvas,
152 x 152 cm.

<strong>Ablade Glover</strong>,
<em>Market</em> (detail), 2020.<br>Oil on canvas,
152 x 152 cm.

<strong>Ablade Glover</strong>,
<em>Red Forest</em> (detail), 2018.<br>Oil on canvas,
151 x 151 cm.

ABLADE GLOVER: Inner Worlds, Outer Journeys

4 July – 3 August 2024
Ablade Glover, Market Profile, 2018.
Oil on canvas. 127 x 101 cm.
Ablade Glover, Market Profile, 2019.
Oil on canvas. 152 x 152 cm.
In celebration of the artist’s 90th birthday, October Gallery is delighted to present a solo exhibition of new paintings by Professor Ablade Glover. When we first showed his vibrant paintings, in 1982, Ablade Glover was the first artist from sub-Saharan Africa to exhibit at October Gallery. Since then, the Gallery has devoted ten solo shows to the colourful and always energetic canvases of this acclaimed master of oil-on-canvas painting. Glover’s latest show, Inner Worlds, Outer Journeys, traces an arc of development, which his younger self, setting out on a journey of inner and outer discoveries, might not have imagined he could ever achieve as part of the unfolding tapestry of an accomplished life in art.

In a career spanning more than seven decades, Ablade Glover’s many honours and distinctions underline his importance as artist, educator and curator both in Ghana and internationally. Not only by his teaching and mentoring, which have inspired generations of artists coming to the forefront today, but also by his continually developing practice as a painter, has Ablade Glover helped shape the current course and future pathways of Ghanaian art. Glover’s inimitable canvases celebrate, in vivid colours, the richly visual splendours of his native country. Using warm primary pigments, expressive of an intense solar heat, Glover depicts the vibrant scenes and spectacles playing out daily on the shimmering streets of Accra. He portrays the hidden spirit of the place – the energetic market stalls, the lorry parks, the brightly-attired crowds – by capturing the mesmeric movements of large numbers of people, each one pursuing their own individual goals and independent dependencies.

Selecting the palette knife rather than the brush as his instrument of choice, Glover applies his oils skillfully, in a thick impasto that, when seen close to, reduces the restless Brownian motion of the bustling masses into a riotous wash of gloriously coloured abstraction. Counterintuitively, it is only when viewed from a certain distance, that this abstract profusion of formless shapes resolve themselves, in a sophisticated painterly reversal, into the figures, faces, clothing and gestures of the many individuals inhabiting those busily crowded spaces. This visual paradox, which blurs the boundaries between figuration and abstraction – between individuation and integration – is central to Glover’s magical appeal, as individual figures stand out from and recede back into the endless flow of restless energies that captivate his gaze. These conundrums he somehow fixes in painterly forms that compel our complete attention.

With these vital, animated canvases, Ablade Glover insists that oil painting has an integral part to play in the contemporary arts of Africa, both as a means of individual expression and as a potent medium with which to record and celebrate the complexities and visual riches of the African continent.

Works in Exhibition