Mariane Ibrahim was pleased to present I STAND BY ME, Amoako Boafo’s first solo exhibition at the gallery. The show featured never before seen works, represented a moment of reflection during this time of crisis, emphasizing the notion of autonomy and self-reflection, a call to preserve one's integrity and independence.
The large paintings using photo transfer compositions in I STAND BY ME marked a significant development in his technique. Concerned with a constant need to redefine new aesthetic and visual nomenclatures and to explore different ways of expressing themes; the artist emphasized atmospheric naturalism and the impressionist rendering of motion. Boafo used painting as an instrument for navigating the complexities of human experiences and depicting a vivid sense of each subject's presence in the world.
The latest large-scale works accentuated Boafo’s unmistakable figurative language and influence from great masters of classical portraiture to expressionism. Although his paintings focus on human figures, his lively mark making created a new heightened palette to convey mystical emotion.
His subjects are buoyant, some on monochrome backdrops, their luminous flesh painted with the artist's fingers in lieu of brushes. The faces and hands of Boafo’s subjects were formed in whirls of blue and brown oil paint, so thin that every stroke evokes the figures to pulse with energy, drenched in color, and almost sculptural.
The new works maneuvered amidst maximum expression to minimalism. In certain areas, the forms were reduced to impressions or partial figures and limbs. Boafo left out all that is unnecessary, diminishing his backgrounds to a simple wash of colour, to focus on his primary interest, his subjects.
The artist celebrates the subjects bound to the world around him, inspired by powerful Black emerging designers and creatives. In his tableau vivants, Boafo placed the figures at a higher recognition, both physically in regard to the size and spiritually in terms of their grandeur. To the artists disclosure, some remain anonymous, and some revealed subtly through suggestive elements in the title of the works. Regardless of the viewer, the gaze of the subject functioned to disrupt observations from canonical, often white, viewership and put forward definitive sentiments of how Black people are constructing their own identity.
Boafo used sourced European wallpapers to explore the possibilities of the transfer method, inviting new connections to emerge between his composition and stylistic influences. Textiles adorned the figures and the backgrounds were created with a photo transfer method. Through this technique, Boafo continued to expand his own practice of painting and mark making, finding new ways to treat his subjects.
Abstract voids surrounding the portraits create an intimacy that is free of distraction, promoting a focus towards human interiority rather than bodily form. The negative spaces revealed abstract expressionist movement, bestowing harmonious balance between the foreground and background. The works in I STAND BY ME entranced the gaze of the viewer, an invitation for a critical reflection and celebration of oneself.