Larry Otoo Ghana, b. 1956

Larry OTOO is represented by OOA Gallery since 2013, but it is always a real pleasure for connoisseurs to embrace his new work, never the same, yet not completely different. This is what we call style!  This accomplished artist, who has reached maturity, is in full possession of his creativity and technical skills, and the paintings he presents to us for this exhibition are further masterful proof of this as well as the promise of an ever ascending curve. 
Larry OTOO is Ghanaian and lives in Ghana, that fascinating West African country that combines tradition and modernity so well. Holder of a Master's Degree in African Art and Comparative Literature from the prestigious "Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology" in Kumasi, in his country, OTOO has participated in exhibitions and residencies around the world and today is considered one of the famous painters from Ghana. OTOO’s works have been presented in Ghana, of course in Spain, but also in prestigious institutions in the United States, Denmark, The Netherlands, Ivory Coast, Italy, Canada and Germany, and some can be found in public collections as far away as Japan. This does not disturb the life or the creativity of the artist, who traces his path with constants, revealing an infinity of variables. 
As Larry OTOO himself explains, “All paintings have three things in common. First, they are dedicated to the human being; second, I only use tones derived from a limited number of primary colors that sometimes break down into secondary colors. This is my specialty as a painter. Third, they are all paintings of an unusual style.”
From the market scenes he is famous for to the most unusual portraits of women, OTOO’s work comes from an alchemy that only its author understands.  Therefore, we could expect some form of fatigue, from the systematic impact of pure color, but the artist's talent makes it possible to ensure that this is not the case and that he does not tire of discovering the different forms and combinations that his works take in a multitude of variants. African markets are all alike, except no one is alike. If the abundance of the crowd, the smells, the colors of the clothes of the people who come there and the products that are offered there to the curiosity of the buyers are a constant, the dryness of the air, or the persistent rain, the luminosity, the passages from shadow to light, everything differentiates them and everything recreates them both similarly and differently. The objects used by both the merchants and buyers, depending on the circumstances, also create variables that have a strong identity.
The power of the artist, using the old formula of the alchemists, is to find order; order from the primordial chaos. Loving to represent human encounters in traditional situations (markets, festivals, etc.) in his country, Larry OTOO finds there his favorite material; the play of tin roofs, that of umbrellas and parasols that mark elegant territories, the contours of the narrow streets that make up the many graphic motifs that structure his paintings, especially since the often unusual point of view helps to give them an attractive new perspective. 
A Ghanaian painter, Larry OTOO is also a painter from Ghana, this country, his country, which inspires his creation. The small portraits of women that accompany these larger works are apparently only a fragment, the best chosen, of his most ambitious works. The palette remains the same, the intention as well and the isolation and solitude of the subject do not give it less strength or charm. These colorful portraits are as if descended from other paintings to be better admired and it is with great pleasure that we admire them as well. In these gloomy and distressing times, Larry OTOO's paintings are like a ray of sunshine that soothes, warms and invigorates us.

 

Sylvain Sankalé

Art Critic

Dakar, Senegal