Ovie 1st Kings Iruru (Nigerian, born 1964)
Ovie 1st Kings Iruru
Ovie is a figurative painter, print-maker and sculptor, predominantly inspired by African motifs, natural patterns, and geometric forms. Often, his portraits feature vertical and horizontal lines mimicking those found on high-rise buildings in big cities; their forms creating a kind of abstraction or distortion behind and surrounding human faces. A lot of attention is paid to background and foreground, objects and space. Both are of equal importance to the artist, as he believes one cannot exist without the other. He is guided by the philosophy that nature gives to man, as much as man gives to nature.
Ovie cites each individual as a product of their environment and he himself is no exception. His father was a principal photographer for Nigeria's Federal Ministry of Information and his mother was a fashion designer with female apprentices. Such an environment determined that his drawings began as feminine figures which are still integral to his artistic expression today. His mother’s beading also captivated his attention and as a child he began utilizing beads to make paintings due to their vibrancy of colour, informing a love for textures in his works. Textures that vary in density yet strategically elicit active viewing.
After graduating from the University of Salford in 2018, he began experimenting with mixed-media, incorporating both traditional and fresh approaches, allow him a dizzying array of versatility.
Iruru's love for experimenting with different types of materials echoes his African culture as much as his adopted Western European culture. Vivid, multi-coloured acrylic and oil paint are applied in patterns that create texture. These patterns reference Western Modernist art movements, such as De Stijl, Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art. Ovie’s materials often include metal foil, aluminium wire, clay, resin, perspex and found objects. This mixed media approach allows the artist to play with historic and contemporary references to art history; mixing highly decorative (figurative/abstract) styles with old and new techniques. The mix of traditional and contemporary processes such as laser cutting, engraving and screen-printing contribute to his distinctive visual language.
2015-18: BA (Hons) Visual Arts, University of Salford
2014-15: Diploma (Foundation) Arts and Design, Oldham College
2017: Group exhibition, Z Art Gallery Manchester.
2017: Group exhibition by John Hyatt, Home Gallery Manchester.
2017: Group exhibition, “Memories” Allerton studio.
2016: Group exhibition Artwork Atelier Manchester.
2015: Oldham College exhibition.
2010: “Africa, Land of Beauty”. Solo exhibition, Centre for Intercultural Education, Mantova, Italy.
2010: Nigerian 50th anniversary, Solo exhibition Mantova, Italy.
Best in Show Award, Oldham College, 2015.