An artists residency in Trinidad in 2000 led to Ofili moving there in 2005. This change of environment prompted a significant shift in his approach to painting. The canvases are now larger and are hung on the wall. Dung balls, resin, glitter and beads are no longer used: the painting surface is stripped down, with an increasing focus on colour.
The Blue Rider paintings take their name from the early 20th century artists’ group whose members sought to express a spiritual merging of art and music. Ofili’s paintings are composed in various hues of blue and silver, a deliberate challenge he set for himself.
I’ve found that the night and twilight here enhances the imagination. In the city our relationship to the night is very particular because it’s always illuminated, but here it’s unlit, so you’re relying on the light of the moon and sensitivity of the eyes. It’s a different level of consciousness that is less familiar to me, and stimulating through a degree of fear and mystery.
Chris Ofili, in Christy Lange, Tate Etc. Spring 2010
Ofili…creates a sort of visual poetry with the expressiveness of a blues song whose actual sound one sometimes believes to be coming right out of the pictures.
Hilke Wagner, in Chris Ofili: The Blue Rider Extended Remix exhibition catalogue, Kestnergesellschaft 2006