Anastasia Tinari Projects is thrilled to present Home Coming, Ato Ribeiro's first U.S. solo exhibition. With extreme precision and craftsmanship, the artist creates intricately detailed, complex patterned “wooden kente cloths” using humble pieces of pine, ebony, ash, maple, walnut, plywood, and other soft and hard woods. Ribeiro pulls inspiration from kente cloth and African-American quilting patterns as a way to bridge his own cultural background growing up between Ghana and the United States, using a personal artistic style that escapes mediation from 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 elaborate, 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 histories of each particular location where he works: Home Coming incorporate woods collected in Detroit as well as materials from historic Chicago landmarks, sourced from the Rebuild Exchange in Chicago.