Chris Ofii has been honoured for his work by being made a CBE (Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire). The news was announced in the Queen's round of honors in April, and the awards given at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace in London.
Ofili, who was born in Manchester in northern England and studied in London, is quoted in The Guardian as saying, "We set up our life in England and it’s so special to be recognized for what I do in England and Britain, and for my parents that they made a great choice and invested so much in me. It feels as though I have achieved a lot."
A new installation of large-scale paintings by Chris Ofili has been commissioned by the Institute of Contemporary Arts in Miami as part of the museum's inaugural program for its new permanent home. Ofili's paintings will launch a dedicated gallery space on the ground floor of the museum, which is slated to open December 1.
Designed by the Spanish firm Aranguren + Gallegos Arquitectos, ICA Miami's new 37,500-square-foot location in the city's Design District will provide double the exhibition space of its former building, with the addition of a 15,000-foot sculpture garden.
April 26 - August 28
Weaving Magic presents an exquisite handwoven tapestry entitled The Caged Bird's Song. The work reflects Chris Ofili's interest in classical mythology and contemporary "demigods" as well as the stories, magic, and colors of Trinidad, where he has lived since 2005. Commissioned by the historic British Clothworkers' Company, the tapestry was made in collaboration with Dovecot Tapestry Studio in Edinburgh. The exhibition will also include a series of preparatory works on paper in an installation conceived by the artist for the Gallery's Sunley Room. Following the exhibition, the tapestry will go on permanent display in the Clothworkers' Hall in London.
Ofili says, "The Caged Bird's Song is a marriage of watercolour and weaving. I set out to challenge the weaving process, by doing something free-flowing in making a watercolour, encouraging the liquid pigment to form the image, a contrast to the weaving process."
Metamorphosis: Titian 2012, Ofili's previous exhibition at the National Gallery, presented costume and set designs created in collaboration with the Royal Ballet. The project was based on Titian masterpieces depicting stories from Ovid's epic poem Metamorphoses: Diana and Actaeon, The Death of Actaeon, and Diana and Callisto.
Chris Ofili's first major museum survey in the United States was organized by the New Museum in New York. "For more than two decades," Roberta Smith wrote in her review for The New York Times, "the work of this British artist has dazzled and discomfited, seduced and unsettled, gliding effortlessly between high and low, among cultures, ricocheting off different racial stereotypes and religious beliefs."
The exhibition featured paintings, drawings, and sculptures created in London and, following Ofili's relocation in 2005, in Trinidad. The paintings Ofili made soon after moving to Trinidad are executed in a rich palette of blues. As the artist explained to Calvin Tomkins in a New Yorker profile: "I realized it was more than a color...I had found that if you put silver underneath blue, the blue sits back, like night, or glows like moonlight." These works mark the transition, in Ofili's own words, to "a process of looking that was slower" and account in part for the nocturnal element of the exhibition's title. "That Ofili could cast painting into such a powerful somnambulant fugue state after doing what he'd done so vibrantly for ten years," Jerry Saltz wrote in New York Magazine, "is a testament to his talent and control."
Night and Day also included recent paintings featuring vibrant characters, elements of landscape, and mythical references. Writing in The Village Voice, Christian Viveros-Faune was reminded of art historical precedents, and concluded that these works by Ofili mark the latest stage "in the development of a painter who, as this retrospective amply demonstrates, became a modern master."
The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated publication with texts by Massimiliano Gioni, Glenn Ligon, Minna Moore Ede, Alicia Ritson, Matthew Ryder, Robert Storr, and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye. Night and Day traveled to the Aspen Art Museum in Colorado in 2015.