Nnenna Okore uses mostly biodegradable, recycled materials to create her amazing sculptures and wall art / installations. I was looking at artists using repetitive patterns and came across the Nigerian-born artist’s great pieces.
Made of paper, wax and thread the above piece, “Abandoned History” is quite large, 60 x 70 x 10 inches in depth. I love that it looks almost like quartz or mica flakes, or even mother of pearl.
Off all things, those red items are actually clay connected via twine. I like the idea of a series of like final shapes comprised of a variety of shapes to create the whole. I also like that you can see the individual units that make up the whole.
Nnenna also incorporates a variety of different textiles into her works. The above include yarn, dye, burlap, handmade paper and more. She calls this “Foliage” though to me it could just as easily be a rotting leaf as a weird insect / beetle thing.
This newspaper and thread piece, which is far larger than this clip represents, reminds me so very much of the work of Michelle Lougee – many pieces by Nnenna are reminiscent of Michelle pieces (which I recently got to see in person again in the South End!). After getting her MA and MFA at the Univ. of Iowa, Nnenna is now an Associate Professor at North Park University in Chicago so I’m sure she is quite familiar with artists like Michelle.
As I mentioned before she also uses clay in addition to fibers and found / handmade paper. The clay work seems to be where she gets the most repetitive in her process, which I like. Many of her clay objects are sewn onto pieces of burlap to create what appear to be heavy, patterned textiles.
How beautiful are these ceramic rings? I love this because it reminds me of coral. Of her own work she says, “much like impermanent earthly attributes, my organic and twisted forms mimic the dazzling intricacies of fabric, trees, barks, topography and architecture.” I would say that’s very accurate in the pieces she highlights on her site.
That’s hung from the ceiling – again it reminds me of Michelle Lougee’s pieces. So wild what people can create with normally recyclable materials! This one is also a favorite of mine as it’s called, “Nests.”
Her work is so varied. As always, I love the monochromatic, geometric piece as above.
These are recycled plastic bags, they appear tied together into what she calls, “Camouflage.” I love the scale, the sort of rough weaving type of work she does – I really like everything.