Hashimoto Contemporary is pleased to present State of Mind, our debut solo exhibition with Los Angeles-based artist Augustine Kofie. Made over a period of nine months under quarantine, the collection is part of Kofie’s ongoing industrial approach to fine art, which incorporates techniques such as overspray, tape blocking, detailed handwork, deconstruction, and draftsmanship drawn from architecture, graffiti and California car culture.
The particularities of quarantine shaped the process and thus the work itself. Unlike the usual linear development of paintings from start to finish, the State of Mind collection took a much more circuitous route.
“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,” stated the artist.
The circular form, always prominent in Kofie’s earlier work, appears here to be breaking down.
“Where your eyes want to continue to complete the circle, you are stopped. With painting, I am in control. The pandemic was a stop, an interruption, a loss of control. So these interrupted circles, which break off and take new paths, are life interrupted,” Kofie elaborated.
With art supply stores and estate sales—Kofie’s two primary sources of tools and materials—shut down, a new technique emerged. Three of the works in the collection have a textural wood support, created by collaging found materials from the artist’s archive onto hand-made wood panels. This underlying structure, painted over entirely, comes through nonetheless, adding a hidden layer of meaning, a pentimento that also speaks to our varying, overlapping states of mind this year.
For every solo exhibition, Kofie creates a soundtrack. The music is assembled as part of the work process, which is both sonic and pictorial. This mix blends 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.