Lisa Aronson, John Weber, Dayton, Saratoga Springs, 2012.
Hardcover, 152 pp., color illustrations, 9.3 x 0.7 x 11.8 inches.
Environment and Object: Recent African Art examines recent African art according to two fluid and often intertwined aesthetic and conceptual frameworks: the impact of the environment on contemporary African life, and the use of found objects and appropriated materials as a recurring presence in current African art. Charting a wide range of ways that contemporary artists from Africa are responding to environmental conditions and their own situations to make art, Environment and Object includes sculpture, photography, painting, and video by well-known artists from Africa and contemporary African artists living abroad. Artists include El Anatsui, Zwelethu Mthethwa, and Yinka Shonibare, MBE, as well as emerging artists such as Bright Ugochukwu Eke, George Osodi, and Nnenna Okore, among others.
The artists featured in Environment and Object: Recent African Art engage the environment in varied ways and display distinctly different approaches to the use of objects and media in their art making. Some artists in the exhibition focus on the interplay between natural resources, capitalism and colonialism, and their impact on life in Africa today. Decisively rejecting romanticized perceptions of Africa, they interrogate contemporary African conditions and their urban and natural landscapes as contested spaces of economic and political power, creating conceptually resonant images with an overt social critique.