JOSEPH MCNAIR·TUESDAY, MAY 3, 2016
Maurice Dennis in his definition of Nontraditionism has told us "We should remember that a picture -- before being a war horse, a nude woman, or telling some other story -- is essentially a flat surface covered with colors arranged in a particular pattern."
My friend Tyrone Geter has infused on a stretched canvas, a joy measured by the quality of something rather than its quantity from that experienced in listening to natural sounds, such as the murmur of a stream... Similarly modern painters provide ... artistic sensations due exclusively to the harmony of lights and shades and independent of the subject depicted in the picture. I grew up with Geter during that eternity when he and I spent our formative years in Nigeria sucking up the culture. I remember Tyrone and his wonderful wife Hauwa caring for me when I got sick with Typhoid. They literally moved me into their house and nursed me back to health. I was feverishly hallucinating a lot then.
We fought and argued often on how to represent something, he in his painting, me in my writing. I was a hot headed know it all back then. With my own ideas of how something might be. We argued over the way I was poetically describing one of his creations. I saw a young woman stripped of all her innocence and wanted to portray that as so. He thought I should have more care in how I described Nigerian Women. Even then he was advising that I tend to the scripted lights and shades, independent of the figurative rather than
than sexualizing subjects. I don’t think we ever had that conversation again.
He has grown into his own work, into his own harmony of lights and shades. He is able to feel the beauty of colors and forms, and understands non objective painting. And I have learned, the perception of a work of art is not something that is fixed. It depends as much, if not more, on the period in which the work is being viewed and on our expectations of it as it does on the period in which it was created: that writing has nothing to do with reproduction of nature, nor interpretation of intellectual meanings. He remainsthe most gifted artist I was ever privileged to work with.