Mitchell-Innes & Nash is pleased to present its second solo exhibition of work by Ghanaian artist Gideon Appah (b. 1987) on view September 8 – October 15, 2022. Following his first U.S. museum solo show at ICA VCU, it will feature paintings and drawings that were made in Accra over the last three years, largely during the course of global lockdowns and collective upheaval.
In this new body of work, much of which debuted in his recent museum show, Appah pivots from his usual cooler tones and opts instead for a warmer palette of desaturated color in order to render emotionally impactful compositions, culling equally melancholic and auspicious scenes that detail the complexities of the human condition and natural world. There are looming skies, bedridden men and drowning women, but the artist also marks a deep courage revealed by several portraits of majestic horses in varying states of rest and motion.
On view is also a selection of fantastical charcoal drawings that depict landscape and still life scenes with a Surrealist tone. Evoking a similar sense of mystery and spirituality seen in the paintings, these works on paper isolate the line and give emphasis to Appah’s acute draftsmanship. Here, his mark-making is bold and candid, playing charmingly against the subtlety of that in the paintings.
Critically recognized early in his career, Appah’s compositional range has established him as one of the most inventive and intriguing painters working in Ghana today. From influences of Ghanian film to post-independent architecture, he situates the contemporary within the historical while giving a stage to legend and myth. His familiar thick, rough applications of pigment lend shape to abstractions and figurations that use color and scale to evoke important signifiers of visual and emotional hierarchy.