For her first solo museum exhibition in New York, Toyin Ojih Odutola presents an interconnected series of fictional portraits, chronicling the lives of two aristocratic Nigerian families.
Ojih Odutola (b. 1985) creates intimate drawings that explore the complexity and malleability of identity. Depicted in her distinctive style of intricate mark-making, her sumptuous compositions reimagine the genre and traditions of portraiture.
Rendered life-size in charcoal, pastel, and pencil, Ojih Odutola’s figures appear enigmatic and mysterious, set against luxurious backdrops of domesticity and leisure. They, and the worlds they inhabit, are informed by the artist’s own array of inspirations, which range from art history to popular culture to experiences of migration and dislocation. Highly attentive to detail and the nuances of space, class, and color—whether of palette or skin—Ojih Odutola continues her examinations of narrative, authenticity, and representation.
Toyin Ojih Odutola: To Wander Determined presents a significant new body of work alongside a small selection of earlier works, produced in the last year. The exhibition is on view in the John R. Eckel, Jr. Foundation Gallery on the Museum’s first floor, which is free and open to the public.
This exhibition is organized by Rujeko Hockley, assistant curator and Melinda Lang, curatorial assistant.
Toyin Ojih Odutola: To Wander Determined is sponsored by Audi of America.
Major support is provided by John R. Eckel, Jr. Foundation.
Generous support is provided by Jackson Tang.
Additional support is provided by Bernard I. Lumpkin and Carmine D. Boccuzzi.
Toyin Ojih Odutola: To Wander Determined at the Whitney Museum of American Art
Oct 20, 2017–Feb 25, 2018
Writing and photographs via press release provided by the Whitney Museum courtesy of Jack Shainman Gallery and the artist.