Toyin Ojih Odutola at Whitney Museum of American Art

Artist: Toyin Ojih Odutola

Exhibition title: To Wander Determined

Venue: Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, US

Date: October 20, 2017 – February 25, 2018

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist, ©Whitney Museum of American Art and their respective copyright holders

Note: Full press release can be found here

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.

This exhibition is organized by Rujeko Hockley, assistant curator and Melinda Lang, curatorial assistant.

Toyin Ojih Odutola, To Wander Determined, 2017-2018, exhibition view, ©Whitney Museum of American Art

Toyin Ojih Odutola, To Wander Determined, 2017-2018, exhibition view, ©Whitney Museum of American Art

Toyin Ojih Odutola, To Wander Determined, 2017-2018, exhibition view, ©Whitney Museum of American Art

Toyin Ojih Odutola, To Wander Determined, 2017-2018, exhibition view, ©Whitney Museum of American Art

Toyin Ojih Odutola, Representatives of State, 2016-2017, Pastel, charcoal and graphite on paper, 75 1/2 × 50 in. (191.8 × 127 cm), Collection of the artist; courtesy Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

Toyin Ojih Odutola, Pregnant, 2017, Pastel, charcoal and graphite on paper, 74 1/2 × 42 in. (189.2 × 106.7 cm), Collection of the artist; courtesy Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

Toyin Ojih Odutola, Years Later – Her Scarf, 2017, Charcoal, pastel and graphite on paper 72 × 42 in. (182.9 × 106.7 cm), Collection of the artist; courtesy Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

Toyin Ojih Odutola, Between the Margins, 2017, Pastel, charcoal and graphite on paper, 24 × 19 in. (61 × 48.3 cm), Collection of the artist; courtesy Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

Toyin Ojih Odutola, Wall of Ambassadors, 2017, Pastel, charcoal and graphite on paper, 40 × 30 in. (101.6 × 76.2 cm), Collection of the artist; courtesy Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

Toyin Ojih Odutola, Excavations, 2017, Pastel, charcoal and graphite on paper, 24 × 19 in. (61 × 48.3 cm) Collection of the artist; courtesy Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

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