Mariane Ibrahim is pleased to announce Ian Mwesiga’s first solo exhibition, Theater of Dreams, on view in Chicago from September 17 – October 29, 2022.
Mwesiga’s works are abjectly peaceful scenes that appear simple in their composition but upon close observation subtly suggest questions whose responses only engender more questions. His subjects are always either dressed in blue or positioned against a blue background. Where a piano is included, the subject is either standing on it, leaning over it, or looking past it. The piano becomes a kind of anchor, it keeps time, it props up its subjects, but also allows them to experience rest. It is an instrument that provides multiple experiences none of which are about its primary use — music making.
In color psychology, blue is understood as a calming color that brings peace and serenity. It is also a color, particularly in its association with water that hides the depths beneath. When associated with ice or the sky it can give rise to feelings of distance. Mwesiga’s blues imply and depict action. They are reflective of a young man’s dreams of playing basketball and the distinctive movements of his body while playing.
Though not as ubiquitous as his blues, Ian Mwesiga’s use of the color green helps the eye to follow the horizontal and vertical trajectories of his canvases. Green as a color associated with nature suggests life, abundance, and of course the spring and summer seasons where all the foliage regains its color. It signals a rebirth but also the perseverance to move forward even when life is slow and difficult. This forward movement is further reinforced as the green grass pushes through decomposing wood. Death in this instance is not a stranger to the verdancy of life and in fact they are intertwined in a delicate coexistence without which human progress is halted.
Painting is typically a two-dimensional endeavor. It involves paint on a flat surface rendering an image that tells us what the author hopes to convey. Mwesiga’s canvases take on a third dimension that is made manifest through scale, a highly refined draftsmanship, the range of blues he uses, and the intense reflection and self-interrogation he calls up. If painting is music you can see, Mwesiga’s paintings are symphonies to which we must return time and time again to know the stories, lessons, and sentiments contained within.
An excerpt from the piece, In An Azure Mood, by Negarra A. Kudumu (July 2022)
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