So what, the viewer may wonder, is the ailment in question? For amanze, as for Dinesen (the pen name for the Danish author Karen Blixen), it’s a sense of displacement—the dilemma of being out of one’s element. The writer’s famous line about salt water, after all, comes from Out of Africa (1937), Dinesen’s memoir about the seventeen years she lived in Kenya. Amanze, too, knows a thing or two about living in different places: the artist was born in Nigeria, raised in the U.K., and currently resides in Brooklyn.
Indeed, amanze’s latest works convey a sense of wistfulness that’s almost palpable. There’s the visual style—nonlinear and slightly abstract, featuring solitary figures adrift in dreamy landscapes, characters in stories we can only guess at. And then there are the works’ titles, evocative of love, loss, and separation: The weight of nothing [even plants fly] (2015), and When farewells become fantasies or sweet mundanes (2015), and Baptized (the others are with you always) (2015), to name but a few. Elegantly rendered in a delicate assemblage of graphite, ink, photo transfers, and metallic enamel, they’re poetic and enigmatic.