Anastasia Tinari Projects is thrilled to present Home Coming, the first U.S. solo exhibition of Ghanaian-American artist Ato Ribeiro. The artist pieces together intricately detailed, complex patterned “wooden kente cloths” from humble pieces of pine, ebony, ash, maple, walnut, plywood, and other soft and hard woods with extreme precision and craftsmanship. Drawing designs from Ghanaian kente cloth and African-American quilting patterns, the artist bridges his own cultural background - growing up between Ghana and the United States - in a personal style that escapes being mediated by Western language.
Resourcefulness and using repurposed materials are central to Ato Ribeiro, who recently graduated with an MFA in Printmaking from Cranbrook Academy of Art. Wooden scraps and chips discarded in Cranbrook’s wood shop struck the artist as a material treasure trove that resonated with his upbringing in West Africa, surrounded by rainforest woods and a tradition of woodworking. “I began to see these woods as a metaphor for individual bodies of people of African descent, and how these bodies had been treated or used in Western culture… My goal became to reveal the beauty that I saw in these discarded materials, and to get my audiences to slow down and recognize the same.” Combining woods ranging from pale pine to dark ebony, Ribeiro creates intricate, geometric, mosaic-like patterns; yet he retains a direct communication with viewers through the material’s familiarity and the quilt-like nature of the large scale works. Site specificity is also central to the artist’s practice. Ribeiro researches the material and physical history each particular location where he studies or works: the new works in Home Coming incorporate woods collected in Detroit as well as materials from historic Chicago landmarks, sourced from the Rebuild Exchange in Chicago.
Ato Ribeiro (b. 1989, Philadelphia) spent the formative years of his life in Accra, Ghana. He received his BA from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia and has worked in a variety of media, including sculpture, installation, drawing, and print making. His work has been exhibited at the Nubuke Foundation (Accra, Ghana), ABSA Gallery (Johannesburg, South Africa), the Mercedez-Benz Financial Services Headquarters (Farmington Hills, Michigan), The Ink Shop (Ithaca, NY), Agnes Scott Dalton Gallery (Atlanta, Georgia), Crankbrook Art Museum (Bloomfield Hills, Michigan), The Carr Center (Detroit, Michigan), N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art (Detroit, Michigan), and Anastasia Tinari Projects (Chicago, IL). Ribeiro completed his MFA in Print Media from Cranbrook Academy of Art. He was a 2017 Summer Fellow at the Ox-Bow School of Art in Saugatuck, Michigan and an Artist in Residence at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin, Germany.