In a recent exhibition at Gallery 40, entitled “Intentional Movement”, two featured artists showcase their work with an emphasis on color and structure. Both Chris Morano and Emmanuel Ofori have carefully considered how their process affects their end result, creating works that are both deeply personal and open to outside interpretation. When placed in the gallery space itself, viewers are able to appreciate the work in an environment that may resemble their own living spaces.
In his paintings, Morano depicts seemingly mundane activities with an emphasis on brushstroke and color. His work is eye catching upon arrival, but when viewed up close takes on a whole new level of intrigue. It is as if he paints his works with two entirely different techniques. The background is often smooth and contains some sort of geometric pattern, most likely the product of broad brushstrokes; the figures, typically the main focus of the work, are painted in many thick layers of small, individual brushstrokes that create a much more textured appearance. In some areas, it seems the paint has been laid on so thick that it even adds a three-dimensional effect. All of these variables come together to create works that are not only visually appealing but inspire deeper thought.
Ofori seems to take a different approach to his work, adding three-dimensional aspects that might suggest a background in sculpture. On display were both paintings and fully functional homemade furniture, all of which contained bright colors, patterns, and three-dimensional objects in homage to the artist’s African heritage. In his portrait paintings, Ofori places emphasis on the subject’s features and clothing to make them pop. In many of the solo portraits, Ofori has glued or attached objects to the painting itself in order to make certain parts jump out at the viewer. In one, a man in a decorated uniform has both fabric and buttons glued onto his clothing and facial hair made of painted artificial grass. In another, the subject has been painted on wood and then placed against canvas in a way that makes the entire figure jump out at the viewer. Ofori has adorned all his subjects in brightly colored and/or patterned clothing, characteristics that he has also applied to the furniture on display. Each piece is made of a few individual pieces of wood and decorated with colors and intricate patterns. When placed in the space together, Ofori’s paintings and furniture came together to create a cohesive environment that gave viewers insight on his African roots.
All in all, the space provided by Gallery 40 is a comfortable one, with plenty of room to sit and observe the different elements each artist has contributed to their work. The juxtaposition of Morano’s and Ofori’s work created a bright atmosphere with plenty of interesting details to focus on, and I hope these photos do their work justice.