CHICAGO, IL.- Elmhurst Art Museum
is showing On the Brink: New Work by Nnenna Okore, the first solo museum exhibition in the Chicago area for this internationally celebrated sculptor. Nnenna Okore makes striking, abstract wall hangings and installations of fiber and paper that explore the delicate and cyclical nature of life, finding beauty in the inevitable processes of aging and decay. Informed by the textures, colors and landscapes of her childhood home of Nsukka, Nigeria, as well as her current Midwestern milieu, Okore blends the visual qualities of her past and present. On the Brink was curated by EAM Chief Curator Staci Boris and is on view at Elmhurst Art Museum February 7 to May 3, 2015.
Okore's work is unabashedly handmade and labor-intensive. Her rhythmic methods of fraying, twisting, wrapping, weaving, sewing and dying are drawn from her childhood experiences in Nsukka, where she watched and participated in daily, manual activities such as cooking and washing, harvesting and preparing cassava (a root tuber) and fabricating brooms made of palm fronds. Okore's artistic practice embodies this understanding of and commitment to the patient process of material transformation.
Whether hovering in front of a wall, suspended from the ceiling or creating an immersive environment, Okore's dramatic and undulating forms embrace space and movement and often contain protruding elements reminiscent of limbs. The relationship between art, nature and the body is central to her work.
Okore received a BA in Painting from the University of Nigeria and an MA and MFA in Sculpture at the University of Iowa. She is currently Associate Professor of the Art at North Park University, Chicago, and was a 2013 recipient of the Fulbright Scholar Award.
She recently had a solo exhibition at David Krut Projects in New York and will be the subject of an exhibition this fall at the Krannert Art Museum in Champaign, IL. Recent exhibitions include Metamorphoses at the October Gallery in London; Textile at the Blachère Fondation Art Center in Apt, France; Environment and Object in Recent African Art at Middlebury College Museum of Art in Vermont; the Tang Museum, Skidmore College; and the 29th Sao Paulo Biennial, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Elmhurst Art Museum is located just 18 miles from downtown Chicago and is open 10am - 5pm, Tuesday-Thursday and Saturday, 10am - 8pm Friday, and 12 - 5pm on Sunday.