‘Transparencies’ Art Exhibition: A Review

By Osuanyi Quaicoo Essel


Organized at the forecourt of the administrative block of the University of Education, Winneba (UEW) on April 21 2015, the “Transparencies” art exhibition will be remembered for its unique nocturnal outdoor exhibition space, digital orientation and ability to provoke debate among the viewers. It was the first nocturnal outdoor exhibition in digital art format by a sculptress in the history of the Department of Art Education, UEW.  The airy space spiced up by a refreshing cool weather and the strategic location for the exhibition pulled quiet a considerable number of viewers to the event.

In this exciting exhibition environment, viewers were anxious to view the exhibits when the exhibition

Sculpture: "I See You 2012" by Selaise Sosu

Figure 1 – Sculpture: “I See You 2012” by Selaise Sosu

was officially opened. However, their visual appetite seemed mellowed by their expectancy of the conventional exhibition of physical sculptural objects for multi-sectional visual satisfaction instead of watching animated virtual images projected on transparent glass and whitewashed exhibition boards. This visual curiosity for physical art objects rather than intangibilities displayed on screens through digital means yielded their murmured chorus question: “Where are the sculptures?” and “What are the meanings of the projected images?” These questions throw up a debate as to whether or not the works were contextualized experiential sculptural imagery grounded in the Ghanaian cultural nuances. Nevertheless, it is worthy of note that the digital exhibits showed profundity of philosophical treatise with more open-ended understanding and saturated with creative experimental adventure comparable to the standard of contemporary global art. The intrinsic and extrinsic values of works were unsilenced. Shann (1985, p. 106) explains that “it is not the degree of communicability that constitutes the value of art to the public. It is its basic intent and responsibility.”  The sculptress questioned the status quo by producing works which she describes as “poetic intersection of painting and sculpture through photography” and displayed them through digital technology by deviating from exhibiting the physicality. Exhibition through this medium is rare in the contemporary Ghanaian art scene.

Comparatively, the images projected on the sizeable rectangular glasses backed by corresponding sizes of white sheet of papers added blurriness to the images and reduced its luminous intensity whilst those on the whitewashed exhibition boards revealed better pictorial sharpness and contrast. From these two viewing mediums, the latter shouldered high the degree of verisimilitude and dynamic pictorial complexities that characterized the artworks. For instance, in I See You (Figure 1), linear patchy harmonious blends of luminous chromatic roundels of radiating sparkles accommodate an inscribed vehicular object at its epicentre. Carrying ultra-powerful reflective characteristics covering the greater portion of the picture plane, the outer regions diffuse into blond and limpid colours complementing the perspectival extensions. Bright lightening beam of rays enlivened the work with incredulous array of distorted sinuous pattern of strong sparkling linearism that prolonged active visual engagement with the work. At the central position the vehicular object in three-quarter view with strong white space on top reveals a sharp contrast that reinforces a mirror-like appearance and recedes farther in distance. The entire composition carries a sense of extraordinary translucence and delicacy with meditative content.

Considering the expectation of the viewers, exhibiting in digital format alongside the prints of the works could have had greater impact on the viewers to derive more aesthetic enjoyment of the works. The works sustained its ability to cause viewers to think inward to decipher its content, and generated debate amongst viewers. Art collectors, connoisseurs and art lovers should watch out for more from the sculptress, Selasie Sosu as she sets out to make significant contributions to the culture of public art exhibition in Ghana.