Jasmine Thomas-Girvan & Chris Ofili : Affinities
David Zwirner is pleased to present a two-person exhibition of work by Trinidad-based artists Jasmine Thomas-Girvan and Chris Ofili at the gallery’s London location. Featuring sculptural works by Thomas-Girvan alongside paintings by Ofili, Affinities will bring to light the rich artistic conversation that exists between these two artists, arising both in response to their shared environment as well as an ongoing dialogue throughout the nearly two decades they have known each other. This will be the first in a series of exhibitions in which gallery artists invite artists whose work they are inspired by to participate in a collaborative presentation.
Image: Jasmine Thomas-Girvan, Virtue, 2019
“For me, the process is intuitive. It begins to take shape through sketches that might immediately be made into a preliminary model, or sit and hibernate on a shelf as a mystery for a year or two then suddenly spring to life with vigour and crystallise in a flash. My pieces echo their organic origins. I am intrigued by the poetry in nature and attempt to capture the elemental and ephemeral beauty and rhythms thriving in the organic world. I have always regarded nature as a teacher and guide that constantly sharpens my senses…. The sources of my inspiration are as diverse and rich as the land we are privileged to walk on and its people: myths, architecture, literature, food, fashion, moonfire, birdsongs, radio waves, and even the way feathers mysteriously arrive carried on the wind.” —Artist statement by Jasmine Thomas-Girvan, 2013
Image: Jasmine Thomas-Girvan in her studio, Trinidad and Tobago, 2019
“The sense of partial mystery ... is ever present in [Chris Ofili’s] work from the island. It’s there, he says, ‘because Trinidad never really fully reveals itself. They have not set themselves up in the way that other Caribbean islands have. It is not heavy in tourism…. To be in a place like that is really exciting to me still. Not exciting of the heart—more exciting of the spirit. There is always inner reshaping going on.…’” —Tim Adams, in an interview with Chris Ofili, The Observer, 2017
Images below: Details from photographs taken by Chris Ofili in Trinidad for the publication accompanying his solo exhibition Paradise Lost at David Zwirner, New York, in 2017
“I want to emphasise the things I think need reconsideration. Up until now the history that we as Caribbean people have embraced is a history that has been written for us and offered to us as fact, but they are not facts.” —Jasmine Thomas-Girvan, 2013
As Ofili notes: “Jasmine’s work tells beautiful and mysterious tales that are a combination of fragility and dread with a knowing nod towards alchemy and witchcraft of the past, present, and future.” Sculptures and installations by Thomas-Girvan are presented in the exhibition alongside recent large- and small-scale canvases by Ofili. Vibrant, symbolic, and frequently mysterious, these too respond to the lush landscapes and local traditions of Trinidad.