Goodman Gallery Johannesburg
19 November – 19 December 2015
An odd combination of two essential elements, SALT WATER symbolizes the diffuse and mysterious realm inhabited by ruby onyinyechi amanze’s cohort of hybrid forms. In her first solo show at the Goodman Gallery, amanze’s large-scale drawings foreground her concern with metamorphosis and imagination as a lense through which multiple and often, disparate layers of meaning, histories, and forms can be simultaneously read.
The world within the drawings, alludes to a non- specific, boundaryless place and time. Instead, there is a sense of exemption, as detached characters float in a vast timeless expanse. Existing somewhere between constructed reality, fantasy, memory and imagination, these distinct beings find authenticity, wholeness and freedom in their ability to equally belong nowhere and everywhere.
With a background in textiles, photography and printmaking, amanze’s current practice is deeply centered in her first love, drawing. There is an ephemeral quality to her drawing and she delights in the materiality of her medium (mainly, paper, graphite ink and photo transfers). Seen in the gallery, her organic forms, hybrid anatomies, and graphic patterns coalesce in capricious narratives that no digital reproduction can match.
For amanze the work is “as much about beauty and make-believe, as it is a commentary on cultural hybridity” and it “isn’t social science, it’s magic-realism and the power of drawing to invent worlds for ourselves.” SALT WATER offers a metaphor through which to understand the oddity, absurdity, subtlety and power of elements that naturally co-exist in the world.
amanze is a Nigerian-born artist, who spent her formative years in Britain before relocating to the United States. She currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York City. amanze graduated with a Masters of Fine Art from the Cranbrook Academy of Art (Michigan) in 2006 and in 2012/2013, was a Fulbright Scholar Recipient in Art at the University of Nigeria. amanze has been included in numerous exhibitions in Nigeria, US, the UK, and the Netherlands.
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.
amanze’s practice builds around questions of how to create drawings that maintain paper’s essence of weightlessness. The large-scaled and multi-dimensional drawings are part of an ongoing, yet non-linear narrative that employ the malleability of space as the primary antagonist.
A nameless, self-imagined, chimeric universe has simultaneously been positioned between nowhere and everywhere. Using a limited palette of visual elements, including ada the Alien, windows and birds, amanze’s drawings create a non-narrative and expansive world. The construction of this world is largely centered around an interest in the spatial negotiations found in the three dimensional practices of dance, architecture and design.
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.
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.
Today she resides between Philadelphia and Brooklyn, but calls multiple places home.