Wandering through the exhibition, The Affairs of Love, it felt as if Kenneth placed himself in a vulnerable position without holding back any details. Pure honesty: a rare trait nowadays. The same honesty resembles how he acted when I first encountered the Ghanese-descent artist a week earlier. In the period during his residency ar Hama Gallery, the Amsterdam-based artist used paintings as a method to vent his thoughts and feelings. Here, Kenneth opened up and reflected on preparing for a pregnancy that would take place. But how does one even qualify for a life-changing event that prompts maturity, responsibility and fatherhood? While preparing for the unpreparable, Kenneth had to embrace a child. However, in the end, the pregnancy didn't go through.
Each painting is distinct in formation; nevertheless, it encapsulates the experiences comprehended during devotion. The compositions arise differently than I was used to from the now-emerging African figurative scene, which caught me by surprise. Kenneth's work offered an array of different feelings experienced during that period ranging from anxiety (7&8), sadness (4&10), grief (10), consolation (6&7) and perhaps the strongest of all: love (2&4). Yet, how Kenneth transmitted these feelings to the canvas effectuated comprehensible messages. Paving the way through oil paint is a marvellous technical aspect of these works where the texturized elements come alive.
Consequently, Kenneth refreshingly explored the canvas bringing about stunning displays of portraits with minimal hints of figurative style. However, the messages conveyed by Kenneth's muses representing African culture are nevertheless absorbed as crystal evident. The same minimal traces elicited a euphoric sensation as I discovered a head or a body in the painting concealed in the arrangement. The vulnerability, perceived in image 3 & 5, is an essential aspect of love. The works materialize vulnerability as opening oneself and relinquishing one's fears to build a bond and foster empathy. Also, the expressed emotions are executed without exaggeration through additional elements but solely via body language.
Kenneth's precise work communicated multiple vital facets of love experienced during this period. Paintings light-weighted in perceptual experience, yet showcasing profound subjects to make up for a sensational experience that should be partaken while it's on view at Hama Gallery till January 15th.