AdÃ©bayo Bolaji’s vibrant and metaphorical artistic language centers on the dialogue of change and self-concentration within society. His work deals with the negotiations between identity and art. âMy identity is rooted in self-knowledge. Not labels or groups, but a deeper spirituality that is constantly in tune with the world around it, âsaid Bolaji. âThe world has created identities for meâ¦ Black man, man, African, British African, artist. Labels can support the story, but they’re not the story. Indeed, we can place Bolaji’s instinctive and expressive practice within the parameters that art history has carefully provided, but that would be doing the work a disservice. You have to look, look again, then look at yourself and look to the future, to realize the full potential of these artists and the genre.
Lee Simmonds seeks to âdialogue with ideas and with infinityâ with his highly symbolic and tender figuration. âCreating paintings entirely from your imagination takes a lot of work,â he told me, âbut when I really start to get down to it, I basically play The sims. How am I going to design this lamp? Do I want him to wear pants or overalls? Who is invited to this party? There is a sense of the bizarre in its realistic and magical suburb. The scenes are sweet and cozy, but at the same time disturbing. Perhaps Simmonds’ work expresses a grim irony that represents the ease of complacency – and how that ease is afforded only to some and not to all.