Duality of Amah’s facets and phases
Geometric painting renditions, photography captures of aquatic sceneries and textured canvases of other depictions in printmaking are Timipre Willis Amah’s windows in expressing the duality of life.
The paintings, which emit embossed-effect, represent what the artist describes as ‘equanimity’ while the photographs, mostly in monochrome, exude the imbalance wing of nature’s duality. In the printmaking part of the show, Amah presents ‘studies’ of the painting and photography.
This coalescence of painting, photography and printmaking, titled, Facets and Phases, showing from September 21 to 28, 2019 at Thought Pyramid, Ikoyi, Lagos, returns Amah to the exhibition circuit as a solo artist after nine-year-break.
In 2010, his debut solo show, Tranquil Luminous, which held at the Bayelsa State Government House, exposed the beauty in landscape that are glossed over by the tragic narratives of Niger Delta environmental crisis.
In the same year of his debut solo, Amah won first prize at the Omoba Yemisi Adedoyin Shyllon Art Foundation (OYASAF) National Photography Competition.
For Facets and Phases, some of the works in the show include, Circle of Life, in series such as End of Time, Grounding, Hope and Maturity.
In some of the series, the artist’s geometric forms boost the optical illusion texture of his paintings. This much is pronounced in Circle of Life 1-Hope and Circle of Life –Grounding, dated 2017 and 2016 respectively. Further underscoring the respite characteristics of the painting side of the dual themes are ‘Optimism’ series, a set of pieces that radiate calmness, in the cluster of cubic shapes.
Though in black and white, the photography pieces such as, the ‘Bond’ series on Niger and Third Mainland bridges bring into the public space hidden treasures of some national road monument infrastructures. Amah’s camera, which celebrates daylight photography, unearths the tourism potential of Nigeria buried in the sceneries.
Bond -4 Third Mainland Bridge and Bond-5 Third Mainland Bridge, which are captured from sailing eye level and long angle shots, take his viewer through the 11.8 km long bridge ecstatically.
Stressing the aesthetic appeal of monochrome is the night skyline scene titled, CMS-Lagos, which is a contrast with 21st century architectural structures, Breaking Boundaries-Eko Atlantic.
Relating his art to the environment in which he practises, Armah said the exhibition takes a view “into my world, traversing through my fine art black and white photography, hard edge painting and printmaking.”
As an artist whose photography experience is caught between the analogue and digital age, some of the old techniques still come into his focal point, so suggests quite a list of works. “I have used the oldest method of photography (long exposure) to reinterpret a mundane scene to an imaginative one through the reshaping of light using the photography drawing (PhD) method.”
As a photographer whose lens is passionate about daylight themes, the natural source of illumination is the heartbeat of his photography. “ Light is the essence in my photographs; the rhythm of light on my subject creates mood and emotion through the surrealistic feeling that comes with long exposure mostly with absent of the human figure as it invokes tranquillity.”
Across printmaking medium such as, additive plastograph and viscosity, Amah’s versatility as an artist is further expressed. He explained, “my paintings are also studies for my printmaking and vice versa” just as “some of my photographs are studies for my paintings.” He added that the exchange studies among his medium are “my way of interpreting an idea in different medium.”
Amah, a lecturer with the Department of Fine and Applied Arts, Niger Delta University, Wilberforce Island, Bayelsa State, shared his techniques, in theoretical contexts across the medium. “In my paintings and hand-pull prints, I have used the freedom and flexibility inherent in geometric shapes, lines and colours as building blocks to create the forms I engaged in my discursions.” He explained the simplicity of the factors involved as “striking and delicate but direct and significant.”
Bringing the exhibition into the discourse about values that people place on their society, Amah argued that it “underscored truth of our society.” He noted that quite a lot of “things we pay less attention to are salient in our wellbeing as members of a community.”