NEW YORK, NY.- Skoto Gallery
is presenting Words Matter, Two, an exhibition of recent paintings by the Ethiopian-born artist Wosene Worke Kosrof. This is his seventh solo exhibition at the gallery. The exhibition can be viewed on the gallery's website.
Wosene Worke Kosrofs recent work continues his long-standing exploration of the interplay between language, identity, aesthetic beauty and material using the language symbols of Amharic one of the few ancient written systems in Africa as a core compositional element. His work is dense with visual complexity that reflects an awareness of a vast array of both formal and inherited traditions. He relieves words of conventional meanings and, instead, explores their aesthetic, sensual, and visual content to speak boldly and clearly to a universal audience. With Amharic calligraphy, Wosene explores the aesthetic dimensions of the script rather than producing legible text. "I am seeking the poetic or artistic value of the "fiedel" or language symbols themselves, and I see my work as visual poetry. The writing in my painting does not tell a literal story, but rather a visual story. The Amharic "fiedel" are extremely beautiful and have rhythmic and dancing forms. I "choreograph" them on canvas, I cut them apart, turn them upside down, repeat sections of them to discover the beauty of written language and to think about how we communicate. I communicate with color, line and composition, rather than with sounds, conventional words and literal narratives".
Wosene (his professional name) was born 1950 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and received a BFA from The School of Fine Art, Addis Ababa and an MFA from Howard University, Washington DC in 1980. He is an artist of international reputation, widely exhibited in Africa, Europe, Japan, the US and the Caribbean. Selected museum exhibitions include: Keith Haring Museum of Japan, Kobuchizawa, Japan, 2017; Sharjah Museum Calligraphy Biennial, UAE, 2014; Transformations: Recent Contemporary African Art Acquisitions, Fowler Museum, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, 2009; Newark Museum, Newark, NJ 2004; National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC 2004; Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA; and Seven Stories about Modern Art in Africa, Whitechapel Gallery, London 1995.
Collections include the National Museum of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa; The National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA; The Newark Museum, NJ; The Neuberger Museum at Purchase, NY; Birmingham Museum of Art, AL; Indianapolis Museum of Art, IN; Keith Haring Museum of Japan, Kobuchizawa; North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC; Fowler Museum, UCLA, CA; Samuel P. Harn Museum, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL; and The Voelkerkunde Museum, Zurich, Switzerland as well as many international private and corporate collections.