Auto-Graphics: Recent Drawings by Victor Ekpuk

SP2014-AutoGraphics_p2a.jpg

Auto-Graphics: Recent Drawings by Victor Ekpuk, installation at Krannert Art Museum, 2014. Photo by Julia Nucci Kelly
Auto-Graphics: Recent Drawings by Victor Ekpuk, installation at Krannert Art Museum, 2014. Photo by Julia Nucci Kelly

Postscripts: The Art of Victor Ekpuk

Victor Ekpuk's work was featured in Auto-Graphics: Recent Drawings by Victor Ekpuk Jan 23-July 27, 2014 at Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Project director: Allyson Purpura, Curator of African Art Video production team: Jim Knoblauch, Joyce Seay-Knoblauch, Martin Booth-Hodges

SP2014-AutoGraphics_p3a.jpg

Auto-Graphics: Recent Drawings by Victor Ekpuk, installation at Krannert Art Museum, 2014. Photo by Julia Nucci Kelly
Auto-Graphics: Recent Drawings by Victor Ekpuk, installation at Krannert Art Museum, 2014. Photo by Julia Nucci Kelly

Exhibition

On view
Jan 4, 2014 to Jul 27, 2014
Main Level, Contemporary Gallery

Nigerian-born artist Victor Ekpuk is best known for his improvisational use of nsibidi, a form of ideographic writing associated with the powerful Ekpe men’s association of southeastern Nigeria.

As a student of fine arts at Obafemi Awolowo University in Ife in the mid-1980s, Ekpuk worked in a pedagogical environment informed by onaism, a Yorùbá aesthetic philosophy that urged students to explore the logics of pattern and design in indigenous African art forms. Ekpuk’s early fascination with nsibididuring these years—its economy of line and encoded meanings—led to his broader explorations of drawing as writing, and to the invention of his own fluid letterforms. As a mature artist, Ekpuk has so internalized the rhythm and contours of his “script” that it flows from his hand like the outpouring of a personal archive.

In recent years, Ekpuk’s approach to mark making has come to flourish through his investigations of scale, motion, surface, and form. Auto-Graphics features selections from several of Ekpuk’s new bodies of work, including collage, digital prints, and his large scale drawings—bold, vibrant, yet restrained compositions in which nsibidi signs are cropped, abstracted and glided out of sight through the illusion of magnification. Their dense grounds of micro-stories and bristling opaque forms contrast with the figural, more cursive works on view.

Ekpuk’s compositions are not tentative or ambivalent, and are drawn with no erasure. Like nsibidi, which communicates through both visual mark and gesture, Ekpuk’s immersive drawings seem to be choreographed with the full force of his body. This will become readily evident to visitors when, upon entering the museum, they are greeted by one of Ekpuk’s ephemeral works drawn directly onto the gallery wall—an ample surface on which to explore the infinite potential of the hand-drawn line.

KAM video | Postscripts: Art of Victor Ekpuk

Curator: Allyson Purpura

Sponsored in part by Krannert Art Museum and partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council

[[1580364000,1621141200]]
Kinkead Pavilion entrance photographed at sunset. Hive, two lighted sculptures, fill the space symmetrically. Each is pink with a conical structure built of stacked inflated orbs with a long braid that reaches ceiling to floor.
  1. Jan 30, 2020 to May 16, 2021
[[1598504400,1625288400]]
Image of a gallery with home furnishings, colored lights, and a painted "Art Studio" sign. Two Black women sit a table beneath the sign to welcome young people to the gallery for studio art days.
  1. Aug 27, 2020 to Jul 3, 2021
[[1601701200,1625288400]]
[[1601701200,1629954000]]
gallery view of entry wall of Art Since 1948 with the exhibition title text and art from the museum's modern and contemporary collection.
  1. Oct 3, 2020 to Aug 26, 2021
[[1604556000,1615010400]]
Hand colored photograph of a young girl looking at the camera. The background is a deep blue with shades of lighter color. The girl's face is serious.
  1. Nov 5, 2020 to Mar 6, 2021
[[1613455200,1619240400]]
Sculptures by Stephen Cartwright containing layers of clear and colored resin are on pedestals in the foreground. Freeform sculpture of foil and fabric by Melissa Pokorny are in the background in this gallery image of the Faculty Exhibition at KAM.
  1. Feb 16, 2021 to Apr 24, 2021