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Exhibition of recent paintings by the Ghanaian-born artist George Afedzi Hughes opens at Skoto Gallery
George Afedzi Hughes, Minerals, 2008-13, oil on canvas, 71.5x118.5 inches.

NEW YORK, NY.- Skoto Gallery presents Collisions, an exhibition of recent paintings by the Ghanaian-born artist George Afedzi Hughes. This is his second solo show at the gallery.

George Afedzi Hughes's recent work uses art as a tool for cultural provocation by challenging contemporary systems of order and engaging notions of violence, including the consequences of misused power. He utilizes creative processes that reactivate imagery through a variety of media in which elements from diverse sources such as war machinery, military uniforms with epaulettes, automobiles, colonial / historical references are charged with meaning.

A specter of violence and raw power emanate from the pictures in this exhibition, and for the artist, the use of violent narratives is a civil necessity if the objective is to speak against violence. There is a visual resonance in his work that encourages us to probe into the nature of the world we live in. The show entreats us to redefine interpersonal relations, revealing truths about both predatory forces and victims, as well as eschew society's permanent state of siege and man's readiness to use violence in all it's ramifications.

George Afedzi Hughes's work is dense with visual complexity that reflects an awareness of a vast array of both formal and inherited traditions. He combines strong compositional qualities, with unique simultaneous figuration and abstraction. The new works reveal an acute awareness of the diversity, contradictions and complexity of modern society as he explores the tension between contained pictorial energy and boundless space.

George Afedzi Hughes was born 1962 in Sekondi, Ghana. He obtained his BA in Painting (1989) and an MA in Art Education (1991) from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana. In 1994 he moved to the United States, where he later received his MFA in Painting / Drawing from Bowling Green State University, Ohio, (2001). Currently, he is an Associate Professor of Painting at the Visual Studies Department, SUNY at Buffalo, New York. Although Painting is an integral part of his creative œuvre, his artistic activities also include assemblage, performance art and poetry. His work has been exhibited internationally in countries such as Germany, Portugal, England, Holland, China, Denmark, France, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Ghana. He is included in the upcoming exhibition 'Futbol: the Beautiful Game' at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), curated by Franklin Sirmans, February 2nd - July 20th, 2014. His work is represented in several private and public collections in Africa, Europe and the United States.

Artist Statement

‘Collisions’ addresses the psychological echoes of deterioration through metaphors such as vehicular and war machinery, specifically exploring the wear and tear of such machines, once bold, sleek and intact. In each of the paintings on canvas, dominant forms such as cars are juxtaposed with language cues such as text, schemata, charts, skeletons and portraits, emphasizing the inter-relationships between seemingly distant factors with dominant phenomenon.

In the paintings done on free-form wooden assemblages, text and “marks” dominate the pictorial surface with the intent to communicate or to adorn.

Compositional variances are consistent in this project. In one image a fragment of a car could be an object of newness and affluence, in another a symbol of vulnerability through wreckage. A readable text could easily turn gibberish, fragmented or placed next to misspelt words, Internet slang or non-words.

“Collisions” draws attention to, and places the onus on mankind as creative entities empowered towards technological progress in addition to the potential for self-destructiveness.

George Afedzi Hughes, 2013
Buffalo, New York

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