(Sur)face Pt. 1

April 7, 2023
May 5, 2023

Kolawole Adewale

Negyem Adonoo

Adeoti Azeez Afeez

Daniel Castro

Tope Fatunmbi

Kay Gasei

Richard Mensah

Olayikanmi Olawale

Ronnie Robinson

Timothy Short

Sheherazade Thenard

Chilli Art Projects are excited to present an ambitious group project across their 2 spaces in Cheshire and London. (Sur)face Pt. 1 spotlights a diverse range of artists whose figurative works all deal with texture in a multitude of ways. Across the show we see a range of mark making - the respective artist’s hands take centre stage, showcasing a breadth of energetic yet controlled compositions. Cratering surfaces of acrylic meet luscious oil washes, sitting in contrast with delicate sgraffito and buzzing dots.

Kolawole Adewale’s rich, mottled canvases have an underlying textural quality that punctuates the clean imagery of his works. The works reference scarification and its symbolism, with the works themselves taking on a scarred quality courtesy of Adewole’s undulating painterly surface.

Negyem Adonoo’s pointillist portraits occupy a middle ground between abstraction and figuration, with his sitters collapsing into their backgrounds and clothing. These featureless figures are somewhat avatar-esque, defined only by the stippled mark making that obscures their faces.

Adeoti Azeez Afeez’s clay tiles combine sgraffito with the Japanese art of kintsugi, resulting in works that are both precise and crude, as imperfections are embraced. The work’s monochrome palette really allows the materials to speak, with the earthy clay tones punctuated by the gold striations of the kintsugi.

Daniel Castro’s fun yet profound relief works play with the 3D using a range of materials in unique ways. His unique visual language reflects on his urban upbringing with a touch of humor, whilst still retaining it’s poignancy as Castro represents the discrimination that minorities face based on their appearance.

Tope Fatunmbi’s optical portrait paintings combine and collapse contemporary and historical Yorùbá life resulting in bold, bright compositions that blend the digital with the painterly. With a focus on Yorùbá women, Fatunmbi looks to empower and embolden those who are the pillars of Yorùbá society.

Kay Gasei’s dynamic works mix the cultural with the mythical. Gasei’s eclectic style blends expressive mark making with characters and spaces to play with the notion of narrative, creating fractured tales that maintain an air of ambiguity.

Richard Mensah’s layered, multifaceted compositions weave the contemporary with the past to reflect on the future. Referencing the Harlem Renaissance of the 20s and 30s, Mensah constructs his vision of a contemporary African Renaissance happening some 100 years later - across the arts, music & wider culture.

Olayikanmi Olawale’s frantic, textured works on canvas are instinctive and organic, emerging from his subconscious mind. An interesting tension exists between the loose primitive marks, and the use of poppy block colour and recognisable motifs, which strike a delicate balance between past and present; order and disorder.

Ronnie Robinson’s energetic, expressive portraits are comfortably ambiguous; collapsing time and space to feel familiar yet unfamiliar. Robinson works from photographs as well as his memory to capture portraits of people who would or could have been, with an emotional intensity that is matched only by the earnestness of his brush work.

Tim Short’s striking paintings combine grandiose color, lighting, and metaphysical imagery to produce vivid, epic narratives. The work explores the idea of a mystified Blackness - which appears as a palpable, tangible energy source, shaping itself when the subjects gather and commune with it through ritual and meditative self-reflection.

Sheherazade Thenard’s works weave her family’s layered history with her own lived experience to create a stunning narrative of Southern American life at the intersection of class, race and sexuality. These multifaceted, deep and beautiful compositions explore the politicisation of black skin through the use of illuminated, saturated tones to create quasi-mythical characters that sit in harmony with their radiant, rich landscapes.

Richard Mensah. Young King, 2023. Acrylic, oil, gold leaf, leather on canvas. 61x51cm

Kay Gasei. The Malaika Fight The Flesh, 2023. Oil on linen. 150x80cm.

Stephen Price. Midnight Purple, 2023. Acrylic, charcoal, pastel on canvas. 152x76cm.

Olayikanmi Olawale. New York, 2023. Acrylic, oil pastel, charcoal, marker on canvas. 90x60cm.