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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Long View Gallery's Victor Ekpuk Show Opens Tonight

The Long View Gallery's latest show -- a body of works by Victor Ekpuk -- opens tonight (June 18) with a reception from 6 to 8 pm. The show runs through July 18 and will be the gallery's last show in the current space (they're moving to a fantastic new space a few doors away in August!). From the gallery's press release:
The Long View Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of new works by Nigerian born, D.C. artist Victor Ekpuk. Ekpuk is inspired by the ancient tradition of ideographic writing systems in Africa. He combines arcane symbols with his own invented pseudo-script to tell a story in his compositions. Of course the languages in which he “writes” are not comprehensible, therefore the stories become not about words themselves but about the forms the words take. Their beauty lies not in their meaning but in their shape, forcing the viewer to see the work rather than read the work. The cultural consciousness Ekpuk creates is inspiring – transforming abandoned languages into a record of permanence in art.

Ekpuk describes himself as a painter, although it is clear that drawing influences his work. He regularly paints on his drawings and draws on his paintings – in this collection, he draws on his drawings. Ekpuk has also been exploring drawing as an independent genre rather than in support of his painting. Part of that exploration has resulted in this body of work where drawing is realized through use of traditional and digital tools. The computer is used to draw, paint, make collages or manipulate forms, and the printed images provide a surface on which further embellishments with traditional drawing tools are possible. The mix of digital and traditional drawing methods makes sense for an artist who has been modernizing an ancient system of writing for years. His modern, digital expression never supersedes his respect for the traditional methods.

Ekpuk has shown across the world. Of note, his work has been featured at the Newark Museum in New Jersey, The National Museum for African Art in Washington, D.C., and The Fowler Museum in Los Angeles.
The show itself looks fantastic, and adding to its cool-ness is the painting by Ekpuk himself on the gallery's front window -- definitely a nice touch and a feature that should draw many-a-patron in.

The Long View Gallery
1302 9th Street, NW

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