OTIS KWAME KYE QUAICOE: BLACK LIKE ME.

By Nii B. Andrews.

The Ghanaian artist Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe has just completed his first US solo exhibition.

The venue was the Roberts Projects in LA.

It ran from January 11 to March 7, 2020 with the title, “Black Like Me”.

Quaicoe, an alumnus of the Ghanatta College of Art, is now domiciled in Gresham, Oregon, USA.

NYKHOR ON BLUE COUCH: Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe, 2019. Courtesy of the artist and Roberts Projects.

His work features portraits which create a vibe between the artist, the sitter and the viewer.

Some writers have ascribed to Quaicoe, an uncanny ability to transmit and transpose psychic and emotional resonances through his visual language.

SIDE PROFILE OF DAVID THEODORE: Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe, oil on canvas, 122 x 91 cm, 2019. Courtesy of Roberts Projects.

Color infuses his narrative and provides a striking ambience for his portraits; he is able to evoke specific moods and a sophisticated emotional construct.

Quaicoe explains, “color means a great deal where I come from. It’s a distinguishing quality – the very means of self-expression.”

The palette includes – bright oranges, uncommon blues, lurid yellows and cherry reds – there is no holding back.

SPIRIT ROBOT: Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe, mixed media on plywood, 61 x 81 cm, 2016, signed lower left. Private collection, purchased from the artist.

Quaicoe thus transmits the vibrant color of African spaces and uses it to eloquently capture the essence of each of his subjects, including their own personal sense of style and fashion.

The aura of quiet resilience and dignity of each portrait cannot be missed.

The subjects are often family, friends and strangers.

His latest work shows that his style has evolved but there is no mistaking the dynamism and poignancy present from his earlier portraits.

But the current work echoes the portraiture style articulated by Barkley L. Hendricks, Kerry James Marshall and Kehinde Wiley, albeit with an idiosyncratic perspective and of course superlative technical skill.

With his rising exposure and popularity coupled with the resounding success of his first solo show, Quaicoe has certainly carved out a place for himself as an important young artist.

His work is sought after by serious collectors and is now in prestigious collections.

We wish him well.

YELLOW DRAPE: Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe, oil on canvas, 164 x 121 cm, 2019. Courtesy of Robert Projects.
FISHERMAN : Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe, mixed media, 76 x 76 cm, 2017. Signed lower left. Private collection, purchased from the artist.

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