Maybe some of you readers are already vaxxed, waxed, unmasked, and ready to smash those openings, but at the time of writing, I’m still living in a never-ending online viewing room (trigger!). Fortunately, there is some really good painting out there, and I’m growing into the frustration of not being able to see it in real. It’s like food-porn; or porn-porn.
That’s a solid introduction for today’s Passion Painting, Godwin Champs Namuyimba. Solid? Hm-hm. Solid blacks, solid greys, solid blues, looking like they’re painted on cardboard. But also liquids. In the whites and yellows, spread like almond butter over the underlayers, like it’s a punk version of the Venetian glazing method. Have you seen these beautiful physical contrasts?
The composition, solid, with clear divisions of the pictural space. Liquid, the use of the space, with floating perspectives supported by strong tiles and patterns work. Escape with a beer is my favourite painting out of this selection. I hope you take the time to appreciate the beautiful colour changes of the lines of the body, the subtle colour composition (stand up and go to the back of your tiny ass room to see what I mean) and of course the details in the jacket and the beer bottle that are simply lovely.
Godwin Champs Namuyimba was kind enough to answer our Passion Painting questions:
How do you start your day?
I wake up and I take my special coffee which is always weak. Some people have compared it to brown water, but that is how I like it. I then go to the studio and start working.
If you were to paint one thing over and over what would it be?
I would paint my mother. Painting is a constant investigation of what one’s hand can do when it is connected to the recesses of the mind that do not put limits on anything. If I paint I am free.
Do you like exhibiting your work? What do you do on the openings?
Artists should give birth to orphans. I am not sentimental. The varnishing process is that final ritual before the painting is sent away to live its’ own life. I like people to go to my openings if it makes them happy. I am happier in the studio.
What is your favourite place to think about a new painting?
My paintings are already finished in my mind before I make them, so my favourite place to think about them is everywhere.
What is your relation to past painters, and the history of art?
My relation to art history and past painters is that art history happened and past painters did what they did and they did it for themselves, not for me. I paint for myself and if that somehow finds its way into art history someday, then it might be useful for those who write it.
Which question would you like to ask your painting Idol?
Please, can you hand me the 1/4” brush over there?
How did you develop this work you’re doing now?
I try to approach the subjects from a point of empathy when they enter my consciousness as fleeting characters or as vacant blanks. I am interested in what happens when the subject is transformed into the content.
How did you meet your favourite collector?
Real collectors are brave people who follow a vision, much in the same way as an artist does. I have met mostly cowards so far in terms of collectors. Ask me again in 30 years.
Why do we still paint in 2021?
Because love never ends.
Where is Painting heading?
I think it is good to know why painting keeps on dying and why painting keeps on coming back as well. It is a healthy living corpse.
Can you tell me 3 colleagues whose work you admire?
I admire individual works and it changes every day. No artist has an entire body of practice that can be admired, not even my own.
Thank you Godwin Champs Namuyimba, and thank you, reader.
All images belong to the Artist.
Godwin Champs Namuyimba born 1989 in Masaka, Uganda, active in Entebbe, has an astute sense of presence when extracting the fantastical from the mundane. His observation skills tell of the humanity that his subjects offer through insights and exposure into their most vulnerable, humiliating or farcical moments. His subjects suggest that they have gone through some sort of change but it is either so discreet that we overlook the subtleties of that transformation, or we are apprehensive to really learn what that change may mean to us. It is inside the feeling of unease that is delivered through the agency of beauty where Namuyimba finds the unintentional poetry that forms the basis for his works. The eye of the artist wandering around in these paintings. Some of his perspectives are dizzyingly misplaced to the untrained eye, but these ad hoc perspectives tell us more about the act of seeing, as if we were there ourselves on the inside of his paintings looking around, up and down, from side to side. Namuyimba shares this act of observation with the masters of yesteryear such as Paul Cézanne and Juan Gris and his paintings come together in compositions that remind us that the act of observation is never stationary. It is forever changing and fleeting.
Having recently completed a residency in Brussels, Belgium, Godwin Champs Namuyimba is currently preparing for his first solo show in the United States at the East-Projects Gallery, New York City from June 23 until July 24, 2021. Further exhibitions include Zidoun Bossuyt Gallery, Luxembourg, Steinsland Gallery, Stockholm and Colnaghi, London. His works are collected by The Bunker Art Space, Beth Rudin de Woody Collection, West Palm Beach, USA, The W Art Foundation, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Örebro City Library, Sweden, MUDAM The Contemporary Art Museum of Luxembourg and private collections in the USA, U.K., France, Sweden, Taiwan, Belgium, South Korea, Denmark, Hong Kong, Germany, Portugal, PRC and Italy.