Poise. Posture. Pose.
Poise. Posture. Pose. presented by Janet Rady Fine Art in association with KO Art & Antiques is an online solo exhibition by the Ghanaian contemporary painter Theophilus Tetteh. Focusing on Tetteh’s commitment to the creative whims of an artist, this show explores the subtle shifts between various states of appearance, and how this decision to present oneself influences our perception of an individual.
Born in 1991, Tetteh lives and works in Accra. Rendering the eyes of his sitters with bands of different colours, Tetteh’s portraits encourage the viewer to consider the expression of their eyes and the subject’s inner psyche. The singular focus on the Black body, isolated in a space devoid of perceptible contexts, forces us to contemplate the sitter’s way of seeing. The examination of psychological conditions, through the isolation of the figure and focus on eyes as the outlet for expression, condenses the internal sentiments and tensions of Tetteh’s subjects and presents them with care and consideration. His figures, which are dynamic personifications of individuality, explore our constant evolution as a social species attempting to navigate our environment. More intimately, Tetteh's subjects are conceptual manifestations of what it means to be an artist, constantly compelled to find new ways to voice one's ideas. Whilst some figures appear gracefully composed, with an almost nonchalant self-assuredness, others suggest a bodily tension, rigidly defiant in their disposition.
Tetteh’s experiments are made manifest not just through content, but also in form, colour, texture and material. He articulates these juxtapositions through his use of swift brushstrokes and thick impasto, executing his compositions with great care and consideration, as though to ensure the personality of his subjects are revealed in their most authentic light. As he says, “I aim to capture the spirit, essence, and heritage of my subjects...to pull viewers right into the picture, making them suspect the presence of something deeper than what appears on the surface. The eyes have always been very instrumental in saying what the lips cannot or would not say- they reflect the true human self.”