Thursday, 23 February 2017

'Secrets of the Sand' by Ade Adesina at The Suttie Arts Space!

Ade Adesina is back in Aberdeen after a 4 month stint at the prestigious Eton College where he created a series of brand new woodblock prints and presented a new sculpture piece. That show and other works has now come to The Suttie Arts Space based at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. Titled 'Secrets of the Sand' it brings together a selection of Ade's most recent works including the 3 Eton woodblock prints, a collaborative print with Tomasz Wrobel, another with June Carey RSW, a fine selection of older works and a stunning sculpture installation.

The two collaboration pieces showcase not just Ade's creativeness but also his ability to take an idea and another artists work and interpret it with his own unique style. The Tomasz piece is instantly recognisable for its cavernous catacombs, the morphous rocks joining the floor and ceiling while man made debris litters the foreground. Another interesting point about the print is that it can be flipped upside down and still works as shown by the two prints side by side with an animation in between. The June Carey print also takes Ade in a new direction with characters entering the fray again, this time in the form of a man and woman embracing. When I visited Ade last year he explained the experimental approach he was taking when cutting the lino as he tried to achieve a balance in the faces between the black and white characters. It certainly looks like Ade achieved what he wanted while adding the intricate peacock feather backdrop.

Ade seems to be an artist always pushing his imagery and his skills as evidenced by the 3 new prints created at Eton College. He told me how his desk was based so all the students would file past, examining his working methods and work in progress. To many this would pose an unbearable challenge but one Ade took in his stride and used as motivation to really push his skills. The result is 3 stunning wood block prints, the first he's produced. Each print is set on a different planet, out in the vacuum of space. The material began to play a role in the prints when Ade noticed the wood grain could be used to help pick out certain shapes in the sand like base as the planets sit motionless above. It certainly looks like his time at Eton was well spent.

The standout piece from the show is undoubtedly the rather sombre sculpture which features a solemn charred front door, horse shoes spilling from the letter box while beyond we find a scorched salt flat ground, an ominous ticking grandfather clock and lone chair. Ade's work has consistently dealt with the issues of the human effect on our environment, global warming often coming to the fore in much of Ade's older work but its quite powerful to see this transition into a 3D space. It almost feels like someone has reached into one of his prints and picked out a few elements and dropped them into the Suttie. Of course Ade is no stranger to sculpture work having produced a quite beautiful hut as part of his degree show (some snaps of that here) and worked on numerous models but this is the first time he's had the space to fully realise a piece of this scale. Certainly his photos of the work in situ at Eton College looked stunning and The Suttie Arts Space seems like a nice fit for the work.

'Secrets of the Sand' brings a new development in Ade's work which is undoubtedly some of the best I've seen. An incredibly hard working artists and father, I hope 2017 will be the year we see Ade gaining the recognition he so rightly deserves! The show runs until Sunday 26th March. You can check out some more posts about Ade's incredible work here and some more posts about the great shows by Grampian Hospitals Art Trust. Huge love and thanks to Ade for letting me interview him about his work and for being the first to take part in my new 'An Interview with....' video series. It was great to speak again as he's the first artist I've interviewed about his work back in 2015 so it seems right sit down and chat with him again. Watch it below and check out some photos from the show.