Artist Spotlight: Ablade Glover


Ablade GloverThe Tiroche DeLeon Collection is proud to dedicate this next artist spotlight to Professor Ablade Glover, one of Ghana’s most renowned artists and seminal figures of the West African art scene.

Professor Ablade Glover was born in Accra, Ghana in 1934. Trained in Ghana, Britain and the United States, Prof. Glover is an established artist and acclaimed educator who has made an enormous contribution to art worldwide.

He has earned a number of honorable distinctions, which demonstrate his importance as an artist and enthusiastic educator in the Ghana and internationally. Until 1994 he was Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Art Education and Dean of the College of Art at the University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana. In 1998, he was awarded the FLAGSTAR Award (top award for Arts in Ghana) by the Art Critic and Reviews Association of Ghana – ACRAG. He has also obtained the distinguished alumni award from the African-American Institute in New York. Ablade Glover founded the Artist’s Alliance Gallery in Accra, which in addition to showing his own work functions mostly as a supporting environment for a generation of contemporary artists in Ghana.

Glover's fascination with movement and colorful energy is evident in the palette knife application of thick impasto layers. In his abstraction of the crowd scenes, Glover draws the eye to the gestures of jagged movements accentuated by bursts of color. He explores the theme of crowds in his body of work, within various scenes at marketplaces, city centers, beaches, bus stations and busy streets.

Ablade Glover, Market Profile (2013) Oil on canvas“Glover’s unique approach, developed over long years of exploration, settled upon the classical medium of oil paint. His application of thick impasto daubs and swirls of paint, when further worked over with a palette knife, yielded a novel discovery: that movement is in the eye of the beholder. Glover has created a hybrid form of abstraction within representation, which in his remarkable hands becomes capable of suggesting the dynamic processes of constant flux, even after the oil paint solidifies into static, encrusted forms. The fixed perspective of a single point in time and space is itself abstracted; instead the viewer’s eye is invited to wander in a hidden landscape generated by colors and shapes, and the saccadic movement of the roving eye itself, supplies the impression of movement in the fluidly shifting focus of these chaotically piled up planes. As the eye searches for details, island-hopping along the unknown archipelagoes discovered in the floating world within the picture frame, it picks out familiar figures, and discerns individual features, against a riotous sea of unfocused shapes. The wanderer returns having mapped sufficient data with which to make sense of the complete environment, an illusion we all recognize as the entire ‘scene’ of the picture. Findings in cognitive neuroscience have since shown that this actually is the way that we understand any picture or indeed any scene in front of us. The human eye follows a particular ‘scan path’ within the frame presented – and the brain grasps, interprets and constructs the whole without necessarily examining the profusion of details in all its variety. The way we look at a Glover painting mirrors, precisely, the way we look at crowds.

The incipient confusion in any Glover painting is calmed by a hidden structural order intuited by the peripheral vision. Once this underlying arrangement has been interpreted in spatial terms, variations in the field are then used to fill in the details in a loose, informal manner that helps both suggest and define the details in other surrounding areas.” - Gerard Houghton

On March 28th 2018, The Tiroche DeLeon Collection placed Glover’s “Market Intrigues” for auction at the second Sotheby’s Modern & Contemporary African Art Auction in March. the work set a New World Auction Record for the artist of $33'500 and produced an exceptional 57% Gross IRR for the fund.

Ablade Glover, Market Intrigues, 2010, Oil on canvasAblade Glover, Market Intrigues (2010) Oil on canvas

Ablade Glover has been exhibited by numerous institutions over a career spanning 50 years. These include Studio Museum in Harlem and the World Bank Art Society. His works have also been collected by the Commonwealth Foundation, Ghana Museums and Monuments Board, National Gallery of Modern Art in Lagos, National Gallery of Zimbabwe, and UNESCO Headquarters, among others.

Ablade Glover and Serge Tiroche in the artist's studio, Accra, GhanaProf. Ablade Glover with Serge Tiroche in the Artist’s Alliance Gallery in Accra, Ghana on February 28, 2017.

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