Elisabeth Kley and Sanou Oumar

Screen Shot 2019-04-13 at 3.37.35 PM

Elisabeth Kley and Sanou Oumar
Organized by Matt Connors

April 14 through May 26, 2019
Opening Reception: Sunday, April 14. 4-6 PM

South Willard is pleased to present an exhibition of work by Elisabeth Kley and Sanou

Rules can be liberating, a set of limits within which to create. Establishing clear conditions
within their artistic practices, Elisabeth Kley and Sanou Oumar work with self-imposed
restriction in order to build a space for the spontaneous and imaginative to find a platform for
display. Both artists build their artistic languages from something found; for Kley, her research
into historic ornamentation, for Oumar, the found objects he traces in his drawings. This
restriction creates a meditative textural repetition in which moments of disruption intervene to
inform the formal with the personal, the structural with the expressive.

Sanou Oumar’s drawings are built from his set of drawing tools collected from daily life in New
York. Popsicle sticks, washers, a plastic floss pick become simple shapes, circles, lines, curves,
edges, as Oumar traces and rearranges these essential elements into a staggering variety of
compositions. While the shapes originate in found objects, the compositions are deeply
personal. Oumar came to the US recently as an asylum-seeker from Burkina Faso, hoping to
pursue his dream of becoming an architect. The drawings, reminiscent of mandalas, contain
memories, stories and influences from Oumar’s life. One drawing might be imbued with
Oumar’s late mother’s presence, while another, an interpretation of the suspension cables of
the Brooklyn Bridge.

Elisabeth Kley’s ceramic vessels and drawings operate within a limited palette of white, blues
and blacks. Informed by her research into European, Islamic, Byzantine and Asian historic
ornamentation; the motifs on the pieces are powerful, carrying the exotic sensuousness of this
history of visual pleasure. Reflecting Kley’s personal inquiry into desire and the decorative, the
colors, patterns and forms become elements to reorganize and recombine. Through this form
of play, new avenues of enjoyment emerge within this ancient vocabulary.

-Marina Caron

April 12th, 2019