December 28th, 2007 - Portland , OR
When first viewing paintings by Kenyan Artist, Jacob Wachira Ezigbo, I was overcome by a feeling of familiarity, a comfort zone if you will. However, within moments my emotional memory relayed the message to my intellectual memory, that Ezigbo was obviously and profoundly inspired by the very same artists who have creatively nourished me over the years.
Indeed Ezigbo is inspired, and has sought to understand the visual underlying emotional imagery of those who have come before; artist’s who made there marks on the evolution of modern art. The fact is that Ezigbo may have begun his art career under the tutelage of the masters; Picasso, Chagall, Modigliani and even the more recently, Basquiat, however he’s proving to have a profound and unique voice all of his own.
Stepping back to view Ezigbo’s portraiture, one cannot help but notice a general air of contemplation and peace within his subjects. Many of the subjects seem to be looking straight back at the viewer, inviting one to take a moment for reflection. The subjects are often wonderfully ameliorated by fanciful mythological symbology injected and captured by the richly detailed layers of his paintings. Ezigbo achieves this optical depth through carefully layering and manipulating media surfaces and textural qualities, enhanced by a joyous and emotional gradation of colors.
Ezigbo creates vivid, lively images through his precise use of color, balance and design. Rich in symbolism, his work captures the spirit and ambiance of Africa and evokes universal sentiments of peace and harmony.
Critique written by Farin Greer, the former Director of T.A.G. (The Artists Gallery at Lumina), North Carolina which closed in Oct.2005. Farin is also an artist herself, now living in Portland, Oregon and represents Jacob W.Ezigbo's work in the US.