ruby onyinyechi amanze / there are even moonbeams we can unfold - Installation View
19 May - 15 June 2018
ruby onyinyechi amanze
Swimming in pink gave birth to the moon [when the heart's prisms were beyond enuf]
Goodman Gallery Cape Town
19 May – 16 June 2018
there are even moonbeams we can unfold builds on ruby onyinyechi amanze’s first exhibition with Goodman Gallery, SALT WATER. Intended as an exhibition trilogy, this second iteration of the body of work adapts its title from a poem by André Breton that speaks to the poetic fluidity of space. The exhibition largely consists of new work, as well as several works on paper produced during a 2016/17 residency at The Drawing Centre in New York.
In her drawings, amanze invites viewers into her ongoing construction of an expansive and timeless alternate world inhabited by a cohort of beings who move through it freely. These beings exist rather than perform, embracing the mundane, the non-specific and the fluid as ultimate freedoms. In narratives typically prescribed to non-European artists, the appearance of human or pseudo-human forms leans heavily on identity as its raison d’être. amanze instead advocates for the imagined construct of space and the nuance of characters that can be read primarily as form and shape. amanze’s characters – ada, audre, merman and others – relate intimately to one another in that regard: shapes that, despite appearing flat, are somehow activated to move, dive and swim in their stillness.
amanze’s interest in magic, play, architecture and design fold together in a way of working that relies on calculation and spontaneity. With a commitment to working with paper and drawing as her medium, amanze transforms the two-dimensional static of paper into a limitless plane of possibility filled with depth, intersection, collision and overlap. This is achieved through various processes, such as a plaster backing on paper, structural armatures and custom frames that serve as three-dimensional translations of the shifting planes visible in the work. Each drawing is a sliver of a whole; an out-of-sequence piece to a narrative with no beginning or seeming end.
When all space is malleable, all space is a suggestion. At their core, this is what amanze’s drawings hold to be true. It is this moveable freedom that guides the placement of each line, each being that appears, each plane of color that has temporarily landed in the drawn world. In a playful shuffle, these parts coexist to create a space that suggests more than it reveals. It is a space whose governing laws are of invention and poetic imbalance – a space where even moonbeams can unfold.
ruby onyinyechi amanze (b. 1982, Port-Harcourt, Nigeria) is a visual artist whose practice is primarily centered around drawing and works on paper. In a non-linear and fluid narrative, her large scaled drawings explore space, play, magic and hybridity. amanze was born in Nigeria in 1982. She immediately relocated to the United Kingdom, where she spent the next thirteen years, prior to moving to the United States. amanze earned her B.F.A., Summa Cum Laude, from Tyler School of Art, Temple University, and her M.F.A. from Cranbrook Academy of Art.
In 2012—2013, amanze was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. In 2016, she was selected as a finalist for the prestigious Prix Canson drawing prize. She has exhibited internationally in Lagos, London, Johannesburg and Paris, and in the U.S. at the California African American Museum, the Drawing Center and the Studio Museum in Harlem. She currently resides in New York where she is an artist-in-residence at the Queens Museum and in the Drawing Center’s Open Sessions Program.
ruby onyinyechi amanze (b. 1982, Port-Harcourt, Nigeria) is a Brooklyn-based artist of Nigerian descent and British upbringing whose creative practices and processes focus on producing mixed media, paper-based drawings and works. Her art draws inspiration from photography, textiles, architecture and print-making.
In her approach to art, amanze’s body of work establishes an introspective dialogue and personal quest in an attempt to materialise her experience of displacement and dislocation. The motifs and symbols of amanze’s works create non-linear narratives which articulate and delve into ideas surrounding free play as an act of revolution and post-colonial, non-nationalism as an accepted norm in western societies.
Most recently, amanze completed two-year long residencies at the Queens Museum and as part of the Drawing Center’s Open Sessions Program, both in New York. She has exhibited her work internationally in Lagos, London, Johannesburg and Paris, and nationally at the California African American Museum, the Drawing Center and the Studio Museum of Harlem. In 2019, amanze was named the Deutsche Bank Featured Artist at Frieze New York.
amanze relocated to the United States to study a Bachelor of Fine Art degree at the Tyler School of Art at Temple University in Philadelphia. She graduated summa cum laude and continued her academic career obtaining a Masters degree in Fine Art from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan. Recognised for her academic excellence, in 2012-2013, amanze was the recipient of the prestigious Fulbright Scholars award and was hosted by the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
amanze currently resides between Philadelphia and Brooklyn, but calls multiple places home.