As we regain our momentum, or better said, our step with an art world reopening and the fair seasons blossoming once again, we look at power. Power struggles are not new, but the way we look at agency and the powerful has changed so dramatically over the last two years that it’s hard not to rethink how artists would respond. NYC-based GR Gallery will be heading to Miami for Context Art Fair with this conversation on their minds, bringing together a body of work by Lagos, Nigeria-based painter Dennis Osadebe titled, When Power Plays. And, just as the times we live in, When Power Plays does question “the connection between art, authority, play, and prestige.” 

Masks and what seems to be fencing armor are persistent and recurring in each painting, with a backdrop of sport that nearly gives the series a sense of humor. Dark, tongue-in-cheek humor at that, but still a sense of breaking down the rules of authority while also aesthetically leaning toward fantasy and comic book coloring. Throughout his career, Osadebe has played with surrealism and humor, imagining a world where traditional rituals could be replaced with fantastical dreams. In When Power Plays, he has found an apex. — Evan Pricco