In essence, Glover’s painting practice is an impossible quest in search of the ineffable; that pataphysical moment that exists only once and never again will be exactly repeated.

Like Canute on the beach commanding the waves, Glover continually rehearses a well known scene, trying to hold time with the lightest of grasps, without preventing it from moving on.

His life’s work has been a courageous attempt at replicating the irreproducible, and there lies its magic – and its importance.

STREAKS OF LIGHT: Ablade Glover, oil on canvas, 127 x 92 cm, 1997. Private collection.

…..His works are all ‘unfinished’ paintings, or rather they remain ‘studies’ of the miracles of the natural world: crowds of human-kind; flocks of birds in flight, the trees in the depths of the forest.

Yet, rather than the individual tree itself, it is the foliage which enthralls him; the myriad leaves swaying in the breeze; the flickering of light and shade; those ephemeral moments of transient sensation that only a fool – or a sage – would ever attempt to capture in paint.

…….His oil paintings are haunting paens in praise of the wonders of the simplest of things that surround us. Shimmering ephemera appear, move on, and are constantly vanishing before our eyes.

MARKET LANES: Ablade Glover, oil on canvas, 77 x 76 cm, 1996. Signed and dated lower right corner. Private collection.

He doesn’t just put colors down on canvas; but very deliberately makes his mark, whole leaving the interpretation up to others.

His remarkable practice doesn’t attempt to stop the water flowing through the fingers of his hand. But, nor can he stop himself, over and over again, offering to others generously scooped handfuls of the imaginatively colored waters he envisions in his waking dreams.


********NBA comment;

The delicate yet powerful nature of Houghton’s prose is most enjoyable and inspiring; it also explains, enlivens and aggrandizes the work of the Ghanaian icon, Ablade Glover.

Among a not insignificant portion of our population, such a presentation will be derided as “speaking grammar” – whatever that means – perhaps just describing the work as ‘nice’ or ‘interesting and colorful’ will suffice!

Such illuminating commentary (like Houghton’s) is an aspect of our local art ecology that is sadly missing; what is available has for the large part been produced by foreigners.

CELEBRATION: Ablade Glover, oil on canvas 102 x 127 cm, 2015. Courtesy Louisimoneguirandou Gallery. [After 2010, Glover’s paintings started showing a new arrangement consisting of 4 distinct shapes- mainly 2 triangles at the top and the bottom and 2 quadrilaterals at the sides. The top triangle appears to vanish /truncated to a point which the viewer can interpret as the sky – the same central point where the crowd seems to disappear…a Master at work!].

There is hardly any local animated but enlightening and enjoyable effort to stimulate our imagination and improve our observational skills while promoting the aesthetic thrust of our creatives.

The work of our plastic artists ought to be presented in a cogent and attractive manner.

This includes selection of pieces, display strategy and verbal commentary; and it is very important especially with respect to formal exhibitions.

It is an indispensable component of the art system that we ignore at our own peril.

We are far less richer on account of the consistent absence.

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