NEW YORK, NY.- Skoto Gallery
is presenting The World Gives Life, an exhibition of recent mixed-media works by Liberia-born artist Trokon Nagbe. This is his first solo exhibition at the gallery.
Trokon Nagbes work draws on themes of memory, migration, history and the passage of time through the filter of personal experience. Firmly rooted in a framework of references that reflect his African heritage, he strives to push the bounds of his aesthetic while exploring intricate, and often paradoxical, relationship between the material and the spiritual, collective and the individual identity as well as the interior and the exterior. Despite the fact that he does not avoid the significance of content, they still manage to convey to the viewer the mental and physical engagement of the artist with his work.
The visual resonance in his work is undeniable attesting to his ability to seamlessly fuse ancient and modern concepts and aesthetic including ephemeral performances and sound with stringent emphasis on new and innovative modes of representation while still contesting the meanings of the post-modern encounter between tradition and modernity: his large-scale works on rice paper are ripped, burned, and chewed to the point where the resulting object expresses both the destructive energy as well as fragile state of ones body and soul. It is deeply meditative, dense with infinite nuances that expertly exploits the ambiguity that arises between abstract shapes and imagery as well as the intriguing play between formal intention and narrative potential. The colors and forms of his mixed media work explore other worlds that offer the viewer a freedom of imagination, interpretation and emotional responses.
Trokon belongs to a generation of artists who witnessed the transition of African national liberation movements and found new pathways of creativity beyond the trauma of colonialism, war and poverty. His art bears witness to a philosophical and political consciousness that came out of his experience, drawing on a profound understanding of his culture, his openness to the world and to diversity as he re-works art historical tropes for a complex investigation of the mutable meaning of artistic border in a global world. Imbued with rich allegory and significance, his work reflects subtle understanding of context, respect for tradition and awareness of the crucial link between function and experimentation.
Born in Bassa County, Liberia, West Africa, Trokon Nagbes family immigrated to the United States in the 1980s. He received his MFA from the Savannah College of Arts in 2004 in the Film and Fine Arts program. Selected exhibitions include Abrons Arts at Henry Street Settlement, New York, 2018; Five Myles, Brooklyn, NY, 2018; Studio Museum in Harlem, Post Card Series, 2016; Queens Museum, NY, 2016; Flow, Studio Museum in Harlem, NY, 2008; Current Circuit, Espace Lhmond, Paris, France, 2007. He is in private and public collections in the US and abroad.