Nelson Okoh (Nigerian, born 1974)
Understanding the half abstract forms in Nelson Okoh’s works requires more than a casual observation from the viewer. This is especially so with his portraiture series depicting tranquil female faces and quarter-length frames, mostly either in a meditative gaze or freely posing as models. One of his famous paintings, Yellow Earrings (2012), can be articulated through special conceptual lens. Okoh composes the form of his subject’s face in deft brushstrokes and applies yellow for complimentary purposes: to add and highlight the same details for emphasis. The sallow treatment of the lady’s lower lip and pearls of simplified earrings, which stand out of the composition, stress these features, and help to balance the spread of light on the subject’s face.
A self-taught artist, Okoh describes his style as impressionism. His unique and distinctive style is created through the use of a palette knife. “I am inspired by everything around me, nature in general. Sometimes it could be from the wave of the sea, ripples of water, colours of the sky or from a body language. He once said. “I just believe the world is filled with a lot, if we decide to open our eyes to see beyond what is visible to the average person.’’