Ablade Glover is one of Ghana’s acclaimed artists and regarded as a seminal figure on the West African art scene. Having been trained in Ghana, Britain and the United States, his artistic exploration conveys aesthetic acculturation of complex African representations fused with western modes of artistic expression.
Glover preferred to work on urban subjects like market places, lorry parks, shanty towns, urban spaces crowded with ordinary people, and studies on the women of Ghana showcasing the visual richness of the continent while linking modern Ghana with the mythological past of the African tradition.
The current lot is a vibrant oil painting, part of Glover’s profile series which illustrates Ghanaian women in profile, rendered in hues of yellow. Part of his signature is the depiction of the woman in a stylized yet recognizable rendition of reality, swirling between abstraction and realism. Also evident is the “wet into wet” technique using thick application of paint that results in a textured finish that Glover is known for.
Movement and energy are emphasized in the vigorous palette knife application and the thick impasto that he employs in his works. Gestures are transformed into jagged lines accentuated by frenzied pop of colors to emphasize a sense of activity and motion, while his choice of colors reflect the bright colors and textures of Ghanaian fabric and textile. An element of pointillism is also present in his work where you have to stand back from the scenes, in order for the shapes, tones, and colors, to blend into each other.
“Glover’s paintings radiate both movement and color. Using a palette knife in place of a brush, and starting with simple shapes, his paintings accumulate weight by a process of repetitive strokes, which create surprisingly dynamic images out of seemingly static planes. What appears to be a brilliantly executed abstraction at close quarters suddenly comes into a magical focus on retreat from the canvas, and a seemingly chaotic tangle of colors[…]” (Africa Now! Emerging Talents from a Continent on the Move exhibition catalogue, Washington DC, 2007, p.102)
Auction Catalogue – Art Beyond Borders – March 28 – 31, 2019