Margaret Thatcher Projects is pleased to introduce the works of Ethiopian artist Tegene Kunbi, in this, his first, New York exhibition. Kunbi lives and works in Berlin, having left Addis Ababa to further his painting studies with an esteemed group of professors at the Universität der Künste Berlin.
The artist’s deliberate compositions of geometric form and color express the artist’s constant mind’s eye view on his native landscape, its clothing and the mural paintings of his homeland. His rhythmic compositions translate his African roots – the lay of the land, the narrow streets, and the color-saturated bustling, crowded marketplaces filled with textiles and daily necessities.
Oftentimes in the artist’s compositions, color is stacked. This dynamic arrangement of color may be viewed in works such as End Day (2013), where bold strokes of red and purple sweep across the composition. A myriad of activity is hinted at underneath, and can still be sensed in the strata of green, violet and blue.
Paintings such as Mold (2013) highlight the variation in his application of the paint. From light and translucent to thick and voluminous brushstrokes, the resulting surface is rich with texture and a history of saturated layers built one on another.
Tegene Kunbi was born in Ethiopia in 1980. He received his BFA from the University of Addis Ababa in 2004. Through 2009 he continued his education at the Universität der Künste Berlin. Recent exhibitions include Galerie Gerken (Berlin, DE) and the Goethe Institute (Göttingen, DE.). The artist is the recipient of the prestigious DAAD scholarship.