von ammon co is pleased to announce the opening of MIASMA, a solo exhibition by American artist Chino Amobi. This is Amobi’s first solo show with von ammon co and the gallery’s thirtieth project in its current location.
Installed in a gallery whose floors are blanketed with low-lying fog are four large scale oil paintings on canvas, each depicting a dark empyrean mountainscape. Like all of Amobi’s visual, musical and literary art, these panoramas are sampled from EROICA, the artist’s foundational novel, published in 2020.
Set in the near but undefined future, EROICA imagines a global society where a messianist zeal for free exchange, speculation and extraction have supplanted sovereignty, community, and spiritual belief. In a society so disjointed and disoriented, even the global world capital—the metropolis of New Tibet—is a moveable feast, darting across the Eastern Hemisphere capriciously and opportunistically. A narcotic-fueled epicureanism has supplanted any erstwhile shared work ethic, and violence is ubiquitous. The corporate arbiters of taste—namely the eponymous EROICA—have donned the jackboots and claim dominion over the restless, bleary citizens of a society stripped of all tradition.
MIASMA, the common title for this particular series of paintings, though each work takes the name of a treasured mountain or range. Using the formulae derived in the 19th century for landscape painting, the compositions—taken alone—immediately evoke the virtues one would expect: natural splendor, sovereign power, and a bucolic sentimentality. Rendered in traditional oil-based media, their sheer virtuosity contains all the tradition’s heroism and grandeur. Further pondering of these unheimlich but macrocosmic realms reveal an acidic tinge to the palette and a disjointed agglomeration of parts. For these brawny tableaux were not painted from an outdoor vista but generated using artificial intelligence, which does not count adoration among its metrics, but merely averages.
Even the very heroics of the painter have been denuded from these canvases: while it’s known and accepted that even the greatest auteurs of the medium have employed workshops of assistants and followers to complete major works, Amobi’s formal practice has taken on the disposition of his jeremiad text: despite having established himself as an adept single-author painter, Amobi has elected to outsource his artistic hand to a foreign supplier, and thus cast these canvases into the hyper-networked society he imagines so darkly in his text but—like so much speculative fiction—exists in the present. The finer detail of each painting is shrouded in the renaissance technique of atmospheric perspective; whether this is a watery mist of a miasma will be revealed later.
von ammon co was founded in 2019 in its current Georgetown location. Gallery hours are Saturdays and Sundays, 12-6pm, and by appointment. For more information and image requests, please visit www.vonammon.co or email [email protected].