Smack Mellon is pleased to present STAR FISH: new large-scale, dimensional drawings by Ruby Onyinyechi Amanze. The work is part of an ongoing, non-linear narrative where aliens, hybrids, and ghosts reside in a magical world of constructed realities, memory, and make believe.
Within the drawings, amanze places equal weight on her figures and the spaces they inhabit. Characters fluidly navigate their self-imagined, chimeric universe positioned between nowhere and everywhere. It is a space where land and sea invert, time travel occurs daily, and flying and walking are interchangeable. There is an overlapping, pseudo-collaged aesthetic to her drawings where there is no beginning or end, first or last, present or future. Instead, all the elements come together in a playfully ambiguous now.
Mimicking the spatial freedom within the drawings, amanze mounts her paper to multiple planes, flirting with the architecture of the gallery and propelling the drawings away from the wall, into the viewer’s space. Drawing from her background in textiles and printmaking, amanze's drawings reflect a fragmented and layered material sensibility that is highly intuitive in its process. Likewise, a video is projected onto a multi-dimensional surface, reinforcing the fractured nature of the slow-moving images and further complicating their relationship to any concretely defined space.
ruby onyinyechi amanze was born in Nigeria in 1982. She immediately relocated to the U.K. where she spent the next thirteen years before moving to the U.S. amanze earned her BFA from Tyler School of Art, and her MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art. In 2012-2013, amanze was a recipient of the prestigious Fulbright Scholar Award at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. She has since held notable residencies at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (NYC), BRIC Arts (Brooklyn, NY), and the Fountainhead Residency (Miami, FL). Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, in venues including The California African American Museum (Los Angeles, CA), the Contemporary Art Museum (Raleigh, NC), the Drawing Center (NYC). Her work is in the permanent collection of The Studio Museum in Harlem (NYC). She currently resides in New York where she is an Artist-in-Residence at the Queens Museum and in the Drawing Center’s Open Sessions Program. She is represented by Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg and Capetown, South Africa.
Special thanks to the Foundation for Contemporary Arts and Goodman Gallery.