July has gotten me back in the studio after a June’s worth of cleaning. This month also finds me working to develop some study aids – exercises in color, simplicity, texture. Small constructions on wood panel that reflect some principle of good design and technique.
One of the people who is presently inspiring me in this work is an artist whose work I encountered in Dakar, Senegal at a small seaside gallery in an area known as “Almadies.” This is a place by the chopping ocean between the city and airport. In the past it was a slumbering microsuburb of Dakar, where a few die-hard surfers would face the rocky shores and strong tidal surges. A few restaurants, shops and many modest homes lined the coastline. Today it is quiet development for the modest, more adventuresome tourist. Small hotels, artisan shops, and humble restaurants serving up fresh sea fare have filled in much of what were blank spaces in the expaning urban tapestry.
It was among the meandering streets of this calm retreat that the artist I know only as Madou has a second floor gallery (“Galerie Accent Yoff Virage”) in which he shows and sells his works alongside those of his wife Claudia B. Madou, trained as a geologist according to my mother who lives in Dakar, creates wonderfully textured panels of varying sizes in rich, deep tones of orange an blue. These panels are composed of fields of painted cloth, sand and string that are combined into eerily evocative works that conjure associations with scars, tribes, desert canvassas (tents perhaps) and ancient discoveries (“mummies” entombed in desert sands perhaps).
Anyway, over the last few weeks I have been working with some of these and other materials to both reproduce and further develop his effect. More on that as the works emerge. For now, the work shown here is a simple construction of paper, string and bark cloth (Uganda) on painted wood (acrylic).