Tegene Kunbi

Hampton Art Hub: 8 Artists to Know at PULSE Miami Beach

December 9, 2015 - Pat Rogers

PULSE Miami Beach cleared their decks and closed on Saturday but the memory of the art seen continues on. The art fair expanded considerably from last year's edition by adding a second tent to its art fair set by the sea. PULSE plans an equal expansion for its upcoming edition in New York City in March 2016. With the expansion in Miami Beach also came a more polished fair. Video art played a much smaller part than last year but otherwise the fair kept steady in quality and booth presentation.

I became enamored with paintings by Tegene Kunbi after seeing them at PULSE New York in 2014. At that art fair, Margaret Thatcher Projects presented a solo show of the work. Channeling a variety of cultural influences, Kunbi creates paintings with bands of thick color made from thick brush strokes that infuse the works with texture.

By the time I passed by the booth at PULSE Miami Beach, there were only a few paintings remaining by Tegene Kunbi. Having seen an extensive array of paintings previously, the paintings remained strong and were standouts at this year's booth.

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New York Observer: On View, An African Artist Brightens Chelsea With Radiant Abstractions

July 15, 2015 - Piri Halasz

Kunbi’s chosen vehicles of expression in this exhibition are stripes of many different colors. It might appear as though stripes are an overly familiar vehicle, having already been employed with such magnificence by Kenneth Noland, as well as by lesser artists like Gene Davis, Bridget Riley, & Gerhard Richter.

Kunbi’s stripes are different.

For one thing, his paint surfaces are rougher and freer (he works with a mixture of rollers and brushes, and often on several paintings at one time). There is a real textural interest here...

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Tegene Kunbi Press: From the Mayor's Doorstep: Wrinkles, Stipes & Links, July  4, 2015 - Piri Halasz

From the Mayor's Doorstep: Wrinkles, Stipes & Links

July 4, 2015 - Piri Halasz

The sun has yet to pass high noon with the career of the artist represented in “Tegene Kunbi: Danjerus Cable” at Margaret Thatcher Projects (extended through July 17). Born in Ethiopia in 1980, Kunbi is still only in his 35th year. 

After receiving his BFA from the University of Addis Ababa in 2004, he continued his education at the Universitȁt der Kűnste Berlin, and continues to be Berlin-based.

This is his second solo exhibition with Margaret Thatcher, and the explanation for its title (which is also the title of one of its finest paintings) is something he has yet to share with his gallery. Never mind. The radiance of his color schemes more than compensates for the mystery of some of his titles. 

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Tegene Kunbi Press: New York Observer: 10 Things to Do in New York’s Art World Before June 12, June  9, 2015 - Paul Laster

New York Observer: 10 Things to Do in New York’s Art World Before June 12

June 9, 2015 - Paul Laster

Opening: “Tegene Kunbi: Danjerus Cable” at Margaret Thatcher Projects
A talented abstract artist, Ethiopian-born, Berlin-based Tegene Kunbi makes luscious paintings with richly textured surfaces and linear blocks of vibrant color. Translating the palette of his African roots, Kunbi creates a visual language that can be understood universally. 


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Tegene Kunbi Press: Two Coats of Paint: Pulsing Pulse, 2014 New York Edition, May 13, 2014 - Sharon Butler

Two Coats of Paint: Pulsing Pulse, 2014 New York Edition

May 13, 2014 - Sharon Butler

...Eye-catching paintings included Clayton Colvin’s probing multilayered works shown by Beta Pictoris (Birmingham, AL), Diana Copperwhite’s colorful but lugubrious canvases at 532 Gallery Thomas Jaeckel, the acid-distressed oils of Sara Hoppe from Dresden’s M2A gallery, Ethiopian painter Tegene Kunbi’s strangely doleful striations of color at Margaret Thatcher Gallery’s booth, Chris Trueman’s hypnotically undulating grids from Adah Rose Gallery (Kensington, MD), and a brace of small paintings by Jill Baroff, Astrid Bowlby, and Allyson Strafella at Philadelphia’s Gallery Joe.

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Tegene Kunbi Press: Lobster and Canary: Tegene Kunbi: Making Colors Speak, May 11, 2014 - Daniel A. Rabuzzi

Lobster and Canary: Tegene Kunbi: Making Colors Speak

May 11, 2014 - Daniel A. Rabuzzi

...PULSE and NADA feature smaller, younger galleries who in turn discover new talent.  I encountered several artists for the first time whose work I look forward to following for years to come, but the "whoa! stop-me-in-my-tracks" moment was seeing from a distance the luminous color-field paintings by Tegene Kunbi in the Margaret Thatcher Projects booth at PULSE.  Call it the instantaneous seduction of artwork, the hunger to throw oneself into the art-- I cast fair decorum aside and nearly jogged into the Thatcher booth to see Kunbi's paintings. 

The images here do not convey the richness of Kunbi's color schemes, how the colors jump into the eye, how he sets one block in conversation with another and with the viewer.  Kunbi layers and articulates, and unabashedly shows us the artist's hand with his brushwork.  He evokes worlds--he is an alchemist like Klee, Rothko, Mitchell, Diebenkorn, Frankenthaler.  Kunbi had me thinking of Kandinsky on the spirituality of art.  Kunbi reminds us how powerful painting can be in the hands of a confident practitioner.  And, in an age wedded to irony and pusillanimous when it comes to any talk of artistic verities, Kunbi unironically presents us with Beauty-- surely still one of the main points of Art.

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ArteFuse: PICTURE THIS: Melting into Fantastic Color Fields

March 31, 2014 - Oscar Laluyan

The dreary and gray winter mitigates a splash of color to rouse up our dull stupor from this never ending cold spell. Thank God for Margaret Thatcher Projects in presenting dual shows where their artists are bold significant users of color meant to chase away the winter blues.

Last March 27
th, AF came to the opening of Clayton Colvin: Put Down Your Stars and Tegene KunbiMelting Pot. Softness in the application of color on linen was key in the work of Colvin where a sense of space seemed to take one into another plane that makes it a transcendental experience. Kunbi with his blocks of mid-range tone color defined spaces and sections where one explored places within the quadrant. Both were a visual treat to the senses and a real color laden palette that punctuates a breath of verve to decrease the desolate feeling of that last grasp of winter.

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