Simon Lee Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of new work by Chibuike Uzoma, whose multidisciplinary practice spans painting, photography, drawing, text and video. Titled To Kick a Stone, this exhibition continues the artist's 'KINDER PAINTINGS' series, a body of semi-abstract paintings begun in 2019 that explore pictorial illusion and the agency of the viewer. This presentation will mark Uzoma's first solo exhibition with the gallery and will run from 19 January to 25 February 2023.
Comprising colourful, abstracted faces against stark black and white backgrounds, the paintings in To Kick a Stone are deeply suggestive, but ultimately formalist explorations of shape and composition. Functioning as prompts, the KINDER PAINTINGS play on our proclivity to anthropomorphise and personify images. Probing the relationship between pictorial illusion, individual shapes and complete images, Uzoma's abstractions are often bordered with lettering that doubles as a compositional element, and an evocative detail for viewers to delve into.
Central to this body of work are the philosophical implications of Roland Barthes' 1967 essay _The Death of The Author, _which rejected the idea that a work of art should be analysed in relation to the artist's intent and personal history; instead proposing that meaning is activated by the viewer. As such, these works are deeply collaborative. Whilst Uzoma is primarily focused on the peculiarities of painting, it is his understanding that audiences will bring varied cultural references and perspectives to the works, synergistically developing narratives that evolve from moment to moment, with viewer to viewer.
Press release courtesy Simon Lee Gallery.