Van Doren Waxter is pleased to announce the gallery’s first solo exhibition with Zimbabwean artist Gareth Nyandoro, on view November 8–December 21, 2018 at 195 Chrystie Street. It is the artist’s first solo exhibition in North America and features new works expressly made for the show.
Gareth Nyandoro is noted for his large works on paper, which often spill out of their two-dimensional format into installations that conjure the energy and imagery of daily life in Harare, where he lives and works. The artist’s chief source of inspiration is the daily landscape of the city, its markets, and its residents, both within the local milieu and the larger cultural panorama of Zimbabwe. Works on view are emblematic of these themes as well as the artist’s signature technique, which he has named 'Kucheka cheka', after the infinitive and present tense declinations of the Shona verb cheka, which means 'to cut'.
Nyandoro’s distinctive technique is informed by his training in printmaking and is derived from etching. He prepares the various elements of his compositions separately, before assembling them on loose canvas. Using sharp blades, he inscribes large, densely layered pieces of paper with numerous cuts and sponges ink onto the surface. Upon removing the top layer of paper with tape, only the ink that is trapped within deep incisions remains visible. This technique also produces coils and strips of paper along the way—indexes of the labor-intensive process—which Nyandoro often collages back onto the work or scatters on the floor alongside it.
The artist’s subjects have ranged from African cultural figures and star athletes to local vendors and busy market-stand sellers and customers, each of whom is depicted with equal veneration. In this way, Nyandoro quietly mines the contours of social exchange in various publics – through commerce, politics, sports and popular culture. His poetic visual lexicon and humanist viewpoint is manifest in the overt materiality of his work: the artist’s interest in individual roles within diverse contexts is illustrated in a spectrum of images, textures, patterns and colors. As one might in central Harare, a viewer of Nyandoro’s work here also stumbles upon some of the people and trades that shape the city: broom vendors, a phone charger seller, a family-owned autobody shop, and local classified ads.