Inspired by the basic building blocks of the geometric world, Augustine Kofie has developed a retro-futuristic aesthetic which transplants these shapes and angles into a soulful, organic, yet highly mathematical form of abstraction. His intensely detailed and complex works area characterized by earth-toned compositions reminiscent of Italian Futurism.
Kofie will soon debut with his latest body of work at Hashimoto Contemporary in New York City. Titled State of Mind, the exhibition brings together works created over nine months in quarantine. A continuation of his ongoing industrial approach to fine art, these works have been shaped by the particularities of a lockdown.
Based in Los Angeles and active in the Southern California graffiti scene since the mid-nineties, Augustine Kofie works in painting, collage and mural interventions. His art practice incorporates techniques such as overspray, tape blocking, detailed handwork, deconstruction, and draftsmanship drawn from architecture, graffiti and California car culture.
The artist describes his unique take on constructivist abstraction as Vintage Futurism, bringing fugitive, fleeting material culture of a bygone American era into the current day. This dreamy West Coast style coalesces into this unique, retro-futuristic aesthetic that transforms the mathematical into the organic.
Unlike the usual linear development of paintings from start to finish, this body of work took a much more circuitous route. As Kofie himself explained, some of these works were very frustrating to manifest.
On the one hand, I had all this extra time, but on the other, it took much longer than usual for things to take shape. Emotionally and tonally, the works run the gamut from angst to harmony. My feelings are in the brushstrokes, the movements, the process of repeatedly adding and taking away, the layers of time it took to complete these paintings.
The circular form, always prominent in Kofie’s earlier work, appears here to be breaking down, reflecting the interruption imposed by the pandemic.
So these interrupted circles, which break off and take new paths, are life interrupted.
Since art supply stores and estate sales were shut down, the artist developed a new technique of collaging found materials from his archive onto hand-made wood panels, adding another layer of meaning to his work.
As with each of his previous shows, the exhibition is accompanied by a soundtrack that Augustine Kofie made himself. The music is assembled as part of the work process, which is both sonic and pictorial, blending experimental hip hop with chill wave, including extended, up-cycled sophistso-pop saxophone, 80s synths, new wave breaks, lo-fi telefilm intermissions, and poignant dialogue relevant to the exhibition theme and tone.
Featured image: Augustine Kofie - Weight, 2021. All images courtesy of Hashimoto Contemporary.
San Francisco, United States of America