CMA Stories

Artist Ezra Wube reflects on his experience with In Practice: Works in Progress

If you visited CMA this fall, you might have seen Ezra Wube painting in our gallery. Ezra was one of five artists in In Practice: Works in Progress, an exhibition that invited artists to recreate their studios in CMA’s gallery and collaborate on artworks with our visitors. Ezra’s piece, Color Mythology, featured a canvas that changed colors through the course of the installation. As visitors drew sketches on a canvas next to his, he recreated their drawings with monochromatic colors on his larger canvas. You can see the evolution of Ezra’s work in the video above.

We asked Ezra to reflect on his experience with In Practice: Works in Progress, and here is what he had to say:

1. How did your studio in the gallery evolve over the course of the exhibition?

My project was fully dependent on its participants. I started with a blank blue painted canvas hung on the wall of the space. Inspired by the drawings of participants the animation continuously evolved incorporating gestural abstract marks, words, cartoonish images, symbols and even emojis.

2. What was your favorite part about interacting with the public?

Absolutely not knowing who and what I would encounter.

3. Was there anything that surprised you about the process?

I was surprised to learn that the participant’s responses seemed consistent, without clear variation between the different colors. In each color there was a similar language/ themes such as names, images of flowers, stars, buildings, funny cartoon figures, and marks; highlighting that any color can be interpreted any way and every way.

4. Did this experience teach you anything about your own artistic practice?

Other than the challenge to stay monochromatic throughout the project, I enjoyed the merging of studio and exhibition and engaging visitors in the process of creation. I certainly would be interested in including this practice in future projects. It also inspired me to consider exploring patterns for my next project.

5. Do you have a favorite memory of making art as a child?

Growing up, water colors were the only paint I had access to. I painted thick and with layers which meant I finished my paint quickly. My uncle, who was an artist, told me I painted with water colors like they were oil paints. After a few years I earned my first oil paint set after winning a poster contest. I then could paint layers upon layers, and on many surfaces too, wood, canvas, cement.

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