Curated by SARAHCROWN
The Yard: Columbus Circle
33 W 60th Street, New York NY
April 6 – August 28, 2021
Curated by SARAHCROWN founder Sarah Corona, WITHIN is Nigerian-born artist Osaretin Ugiagbe’s first solo exhibition since his return from London, UK. The exhibition presents Ugiagbe’s works from two recent series that he has been creating in the past year, a collection of paintings on canvas and more abstract, sculptural mixed media installations, “Bounty” and “Metal Summer.” These series both revolve around the ideas of self-reflection and belonging in different visual languages. Osaretin Ugiagbe: WITHIN showcases both series conjointly to reveal Ugiagbe’s range of artistic process and persona, and the series’ duality in conversation with each other. WITHIN will run between April 6 – August 28, 2021 at The Yard: Columbus Circle’s all three floors.
Ugiagbe utilizes his art to open up a space for existential interrogation. The “Bounty” series combines the concepts of self, memory, and the artist’s lifelong interest in portrait painting, using interiors from past experiences. These spaces within the canvas visualize a certain sense of confrontation. Ugiagbe, aiming to tackle and ultimately re-address the tradition of portraiture, hazily depicts the people around him; adding imprinted patterns of Bounty paper towels as a reminder of domesticity and the ephemeral. In these paintings, people appear like mysterious figures without faces, leaving it to the viewer to give them a name. Some of the more recent works, such as Picasso Hand (2021), show unfinished details that break the conformity of the composition. The “unfinished,” then, becomes a reminder of the ever-changing aspects in today’s life, of both the power of instability and reinvention.
“Metal Summer” is another way of dealing with similar subjects, yet has a more symbolic, abstract visual language as sculptural works that surpass disciplines. Ugiagbe uses the disintegration and layers over layers of paper, found objects, and metal clamps to externalize his relationship with the streets of cities that impacted him. As Ugiagbe approaches identity politics from the physical surface, these works signify how bureaucracy and physical labor have the power to shape culture. This technique he developed during his time at the Royal College of Art demonstrates a similarly arduous work, and requires many tasks: painting, drawing, folding, binding, ripping, cutting and layering of materials be it found objects, paper or canvas, all held together by metal clamps: a device, in the artist’s own words, “universal in its functionality to hold work, both the physical labour and the work of art, in place.” While the papers and found materials symbolize his personalized urban connection, the metal clamps are a visual manifestation of the physical labor and the working class. In a more metaphorical sense, the layers of paper can be recognized as the many layers of one’s personality, as the many layers of culture in one society, as the many different views people can have of one and the same thing. In a direct pastiche to Robert Rauschenberg, Ugiagbe adds layer after layer where Rauschenberg would tear away, until he is satisfied with his new “character.”
Both series, although perceptibly distant from each other, are intimately connected. Ugiagbe created both series contemporarily, moving between painting and sculpting and sometimes finishing up to 4 works at the same time. They also inform each other: While the canvases are a figurative description of feelings of belonging, personality, and home, the sculptural installations of “Metal Summer” address Ugiagbe’s rendering of the urban landscape, and complete that vision from the outside, from the world.
Due to COVID-19, no opening reception will take place for this exhibition, and visits will be available by appointment only. A virtual tour will be available for guests who aren’t able to visit.
All works of art are for sale, and the proceeds will benefit the artist. For more information, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org / +1 347.393.4911 / www.sarahcrown.com
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Osaretin Ugiagbe (b. 1986 Lagos, Nigeria) is a painter and photographer who lives and works in New York City. He has worked extensively on social documentary projects in the United States, the Caribbean, Europe, China and Nigeria. Much of his work focuses on themes of displacement and longing. Ugiagbe has exhibited his work at the Bronx Documentary Centre and the Bronx Museum in New York, NY, the De Cacaofabriek in Helmond, Netherlands, amongst other contemporary galleries. His work is in the Museum of Fine Art Houston and in private collections both nationally and internationally. Ugiagbe earned his Master of Art degree in painting from the Royal college of Art, London in 2019. His work has been exhibited globally, and he has been featured in various publications such as the New York Times, Columbia Journal Review, and resources of the University of Oxford.
SARAHCROWN is an international art consulting and management firm offering professional services in art advisory, art project management, creative placemaking, and business development. The firm aims to spread knowledge of art and culture throughout society, to sustain artistic production, and to emphasize the importance of art for cross-cultural understanding. Clients represent public and private art institutions, nonprofit and for-profit organizations, corporations, private collections, and galleries both in New York and Europe.
SARAHCROWN is an active member of 1% For The Planet, a global network of businesses, nonprofits, and individuals working together for a healthy planet.
Location: The Yard – Columbus Circle 33 W 60th Street – 2nd, 11th, and 12th floor
On view: April 6 – August 28, 2021
Public hours: Mon – Fri 9:30 – 5:30 only by appointment