Wosene Worke Kosrof:
September 13 - December 16, 2011
Paintings from the Paul Herzog and Jolene Tritt Collection
This exhibition explores the role of language and graphic systems in Ethiopian-born artist Wosene Worke Kosrof's work. For over thirty-five years, Wosene has mined the aesthetic potential of Amharic, the national language of Ethiopia.
In his paintings, the calligraphic forms of Amharic are deconstructed and recontextualized to create a new visual language that draws on the artist's Ethiopian heritage and that country's rich and varied history, while incorporating his experiences as an expatriate living in the United States. Wosene resided in Vermont from 1984-1991, where he taught at Goddard College, Vermont College, Community College of Vermont, and, for many years, as a resident artist at the Vermont Governor's Institute on the Arts.
Artists across cultures and time periods have employed the written word for the beauty and rhythm of its forms and as a vehicle to assert identity, contest authority, or embody the divine. Language is emblematic of culture. For Wosene, language provides a tool to translate his own experiences into visual narratives - both personal and historical - that also encompass references to Ethiopian magic scrolls and masks, African-American jazz and quilts, and specific moments in the artist's and Ethiopia's past and present.
This exhibition was organized by the Fleming Museum with generous support from the Kalkin Family Exhibitions Endowment Fund and assistance from UVM's Office of the Chief Diversity Officer and Special Assistant to the President for Multicultural Initiatives. We would like to extend our thanks to Paul Herzog and Jolene Tritt for their generous loan of Wosene's work.