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Josephine Adu – Prizewinner Exhibition Wolfgang Blanke Foundation

Josephine Adu – Prizewinner Exhibition Wolfgang Blanke Foundation

Location: EMDE GALLERY - Mainz

Josephine Adu – Prizewinner Exhibition Wolfgang Blanke Foundation

AWARD CEREMONY & OPENING: Friday, 19th of April, 6:30 pm to 9 pm
Speakers will be:
Prof Anne Berning (Acadamy of Fine Arts Mainz) and Prof Dr Gregor Wedekind (JGU, Institute of Art History and Musicology)

From 19th of April to 22nd of June, the Emde Gallery is delighted to present a solo exhibition of abstract paintings by Josephine Adu, this year's winner of the Wolfgang Blanke Foundation – Prize (international) for Painting at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz.
On display are the artist's latest works, executed in watercolour and/or acrylic on nettle and paper, in which the gesture and colour in particular are exposed as a decisive painterly means. The paintings are complemented by small-format screen prints and an installation of painted wooden slats.

The effect of colour is at the heart of Josephine Adu's paintings. The compositional constellation of colour and form as well as the interplay of different applications of paint and tonality, i.e. the way in which the different colours harmonise with each other within a painting and how they relate to each other, form the key to her works.

Colour manifests itself in Josephine Adu's paintings as a composition of large, mostly monochrome colour fields. The formal repertoire, from which the artist constantly develops new colour compositions, is determined by longitudinal and vertical rectangular colour fields of different lengths and widths, which run through her entire oeuvre in many variations. Some fields are merely cut out more or less diagonally into the picture and have rounded corners. The individual forms manage without outlines. While in some works the areas of colour are clearly separated from one another, in others the artist develops a complex interplay of overlaps. The spectrum of her colour application ranges from opaque to watery-thin, glazed areas of colour, both with and without a recognisable brushstroke, whereby the latter is sometimes linear, sometimes broad and gestural.

Josephine Adu's works are characterised by a reflective approach. The glazes, which blend individual fields into one another and look like fine, superimposed panes of glass, are applied step by step to the previously composed picture surface. In order to create the possibility of allowing layers further below to shimmer through, the artist tends to use thin paints, the pigments of which she usually mixes herself. In their transparency, the surfaces not only reveal the underlying layers of the painting, but also evoke the finest tonal gradations and nuances in their superimposition. Overall, her works are characterised by a predominantly natural, muted colour palette, ranging from pale green to dark violet and brown, interrupted in part by intense tones such as orange, yellow or pink.

A recurring element are also colourful, wavy, repeating brushstrokes and curved, delicate lines, whose playful lightness creates an exciting contrast to the geometry of the colour fields. Occasionally, smaller, floating elements such as thinner or wider, sometimes curved bar- or strip-like segments also appear.
The various colour fields and pictorial elements are modified, shifted and combined differently from work to work, thus creating the unique colour context of each painting, although this only becomes apparent from a distance - at least as far as the large-format works are concerned. Figurative associations of church windows, landscape or architectural elements ultimately dissolve into the overall structure of the picture.

Josephine Adu's paintings reveal a signature style all of their own. They are characterised by the lightness of the paint application, the translucent transparency of individual layers of paint and a feeling for the harmony of the components, allowing the paintings to unfold their elegantly subtle yet powerful qualities. The process-like layering of paint, the partially visible brushstrokes and the fact that Josephine Adu mixes the colours herself also emphasise the materiality of the painting and reflects on painting as a medium.

Josephine Adu lives and works in Mainz. She studied Fine Arts at the Academay of Fine Arts Mainz. Since 2023 she has been a master student in the painting class of Prof Anne Berning. Josephine Adu was awarded the (international) prize for painting from the Wolfgang Blanke Foundation at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz and a scholarship from the Artist Residency Schloss Balmoral in Bad Ems.


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