In his first collaboration with Avant Arte, critic and curator Larry Ossei-Mensah muses on Inner Visions, spotlighting three artists exploring figuration via nuanced personal narratives and a rigorous approach to their craft.
Though varied in style, painters Grace Lynne Haynes, Ferrari Sheppard and Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe are united by the clarity of vision evident in their respective practices, each having rapidly established a distinctive style in their approach to portraiture. The three works launching in March 2021 will be each artist’s first print edition, reflecting Larry’s long-standing commitment to facilitating career firsts whilst supporting future art world stars.
With Grace, Ferrari and Otis all reflecting – this year more than ever – on the importance of physical touch, all three will be finishing their prints by hand. These unique details, coupled with Avant Arte’s bespoke printing methods, offer a natural bridge from the artists’ existing oeuvres to their debut print editions.
“I’m so honored and humbled to be launching the Inner Visions series with Avant Arte in 2021. Ever since seeing the amazing work they’ve done with artist friends like Simphiwe Ndzube, José Parlá and Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi, I knew that I would love the opportunity to work with Christian and his team.
Each of the editions adroitly incorporates hand-finished elements to give every piece its own artistic magic. The care and devotion imbued in each artist’s work is a personal reminder of the power of art to bring joy, levity and optimism to our lives. I’m thankful to Avant Arte and all three artists – Grace Lynne Haynes, Ferrari Sheppard and Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe – for their trust during the creative process.”
“I strive to show a safe haven for Blackness, and a purity untainted by the world.”
Grace Lynne Haynes’ stylish, candy-hued portraits are driven by a desire for nuanced representation, celebrating the many incarnations of Black womanhood. Her opaque figures are at once strong and powerful, feminine and serene. In 2020, Grace’s portrait of the iconic American activist Sojourner Truth adorned the front cover of The New Yorker magazine.
An edition of 50, Sunday Mourning is a 15 colour screenprint and lithograph on Somerset 410gsm satin paper, with unique hand-painted details added by the artist to each piece.
“We need to focus on the things that are truly important and I think that family, children and humanity in general is that.”
Through gestural scenes of childhood and family, American artist Ferrari Sheppard celebrates everyday moments of diasporic Black life. Layering intuitive strokes of paint and charcoal with flashes of 24-karat gold leaf, Ferrari’s paintings – alive with passion – imbue their viewers with kindness, strength and hope.
An edition of 50, Kalima is a 26 colour screenprint based on an original painting of the same name. Each piece is hand finished by the artist with unique elements in acrylic paint, charcoal and 24k gold.
“The idea is to be the channel between the unheard and the rest of the world.”
With radiant palettes and striking compositions, Ghanaian artist Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe shares otherwise untold stories on canvas. Otis’ compelling portraits, characterised by rich contouring and thick impasto, are testament to his desire to foster an authentic connection with every subject, be they friend, family or stranger.
View of Yoei William is a screenprint combining a staggering 47 separate colours on Coventry Rag 335gsm. The flowers at the centre of each piece are hand-finished by the artist in acrylic paint.