Chris Ofili

Biography of Chris Ofili

Exalting in the exuberance of color and sexuality, Chris Ofili's work tackles themes of racial stereotyping, prejudice, love, and gender. After winning the prestigious 1998 Turner Prize, Ofili swiftly rose to prominence and was an integral part of YBAs which first flourished in the late 1990s. Despite utilizing traditional and earthy allusions his art is always stridently contemporary. His sense of humor and use of decorative elements has made him exceptionally popular with collectors and art lovers around the world.

 

Inspired by the postwar artists such as Picabia and Basquiat, Chris Ofili's monumental paintings were strongly influenced by a travel scholarship he was awarded to visit Zimbabwe as a student. It was there that he started developing his distinctive pointillist technique, having seen the colored dot pattern in local cave paintings. The artist's use of cow dung has become something of a signature and adds a sculptural element to his work as well as raising questions about nature and obscenity.

 

Chris Ofili builds up shimmering veils of color through multiple levels of pigment, phosphorescent paint, glitter, and lines of multicolored beads of paint. His work is deeply-layered both physically and metaphorically, teeming with references from biblical sources to pop culture. At the age of 34 the artist was chosen to represent Britain at the 50th Venice Biennale where he exhibited his well-received Within Reach, 2003. In 2015 Ofili's The Holy Virgin Mary sold at Christies for almost £3 million.

 

Born in 1968 in Manchester, UK, Chris Ofili attended Chelsea College of Art and the Royal College of Art, London. The subject of multiple international solo exhibitions, Ofili has exhibited in The Arts Club of Chicago in 2010 and Tate Britain in 2005 and 2010. He is in the permanent collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Tate, in London, as well as numerous others including MoMA and the Walker Art Center in Minnesota. An immensely gifted producer of prints and multiples, Ofili is a highly-prized addition to any art collection. 

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