ADA contemporary art gallery presents In Honour of Nwanyi Mbaise the debut solo exhibition by Nigerian artist JC Bright (b.1994). On view from 01 February 2023, Bright engages his viewers with large colourscapes, triggering aesthetic exuberance and enticing one to look beyond the canvas. Driven by momentary fascinations, Bright examines personal relationships and lived experiences through his linear applications of paint and texture within his compositions.
In Honour of Nwanyi Mbaise, is the collection of works from two new series – Monuments in Honour of Nwanyi Mbaise and My Book of Colour Stories. Bright plunges his practice into discovery, as he playfully manoeuvres within the depths of chromatism presenting his abstract paintings as shrines paying homage to the artist’s relationship with his mother.
Each painting serves as an ode and testament to her upbringing that was deeply steeped in Catholicism and her profession as a nurse which naturally fed into his own identity formation. In these works, Bright rethinks traditional notions of religious symbolism and the connation of the Christian Cross while honouring his matriarch and her life of service and sacrifice.
The second series My Book of Colour Stories discusses the pressures placed on African artists to be vocal promoters of their culture on the world stage. Arguably, artists from the West seem to have the creative freedom to succeed without necessarily imbuing deep meaning within their work. Bright uses this series as an emotional diary of his frustration of unequal expression and purposefully rebels against the global perception of what African art can and should look like.
With an education specialising in Art History and Painting as his grounding, Bright recalls his knowledge of the Neo-Plasticism era of Piet Mondrian and the Abstract Expressionists such as Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock and Franz Kline to implement a spontaneous and unconscious creative method of repetitive, irregular grids. Layering deep reds, blues, yellows and black hues, he engineers and manipulates the timeless balance of primary pigmentations. In Honour of Nwanyi Mbaise is the artist’s invitation to his audience to plummet into his world of colour without fear but merely appreciation for its existence.