Working in a style the artist calls “cultural addition, combination, and collaboration,” Tunji Adeniyi-Jones draws on a range of sources from cubism and the Harlem Renaissance to medieval illuminated manuscripts and Nigerian modernist painting that inform his distinct approach to representation and abstraction. Adeniyi-Jones’s imagery is steeped in the aesthetics of his Yoruba heritage, with faces that resemble those of West African sculpture. Shown in a flat plane, they exist outside of time and space, pulling from disparate moments in global history and creating a place where multiple identities can coexist. Their flatness does not equate stillness, rather their limbs are active and their bodies kinetic, moving within densely patterned backgrounds.
In his first project with Two Palms, Adeniyi-Jones explores the possibilities of monotypes, utilizing watercolor and crayon to elegantly render his figures in bright, densely saturated colors on the surface of a wood plate, the grain of which becomes a part of the work through the printing process. After the first printing, Adeniyi-Jones returns to the plate, reworking the image that remains. A faint ghost image of the first print resides with newly added marks in the second, a process that often results in unexpected and complex compositions. Reworking the same image multiple times suits the artist, who has an interest in the ritualized repetition of ceremonial practices and who often seeks calm through the reliability of repetition when working in his own studio.
Tunji Adeniyi-Jones (b. 1992, London, England) lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. He received an MFA in Painting & Printmaking from the Yale University School of Art and a BFA from the Ruskin School of Art at University of Oxford. Recent solo exhibitions include Nicelle Beauchene Gallery, New York; White Cube, London and Paris; Morán Morán, Los Angeles; and Charleston, East Sussex, UK. Adeniyi-Jones’ work can be found in the public collections of the Birmingham Museum of Art, Alabama; ICA Miami, Florida; MOCA Los Angeles, California; Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, North Carolina; Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri; Pérez Art Museum Miami, Florida; and Dallas Museum of Art, Texas, among others. He was an inaugural recipient of the Black Rock Residency, Dakar, Senegal.