My Country Has No Name
TOYIN OJIH ODUTOLA
My Country Has No Name
May 16 – June 29, 2013
Jack Shainman Gallery Her pen markings, dense and engraved, either stand alone or cover kaleidoscopic color fields that emanate from within. The acute depictions of skin and hair both portray the figure, often Odutola, as well as reference scientific renderings of subdermal muscular structures. While concerned with the historical representation of the black subject in modern and contemporary portraiture, Odutola’s focus shifts to the transcendence of skin (color) and placement (origin), opening a field for the viewer to place themselves in the work; finding spaces to belong or to reject, to possess, to implant one’s self or to find freedom from the rejection of that space.
is a series of self-portraits recording the range of hairstyles donned by the artist. By isolating the figure against the blank white background and repeating the subject, Odutola is confining the differences mainly to the hair and position of the body. The interest is less in style and more in the undertones and associations this specific physical embellishment provides when thinking about the pliability of identity. These works dance between the understandings of one’s own identity and the understanding of one’s identity as it relates what is being reflected back from another’s gaze.
In Come Closer: Black Surfaces. Black Grounds, Odutola uses black ink on black board to question the validity, the aesthetic and the meaning of the material aspect of blackness and how those connotations feed into social identities and as she describes, “a personal rejection of all the ideas I associated with blackness in myself”. The series Gauging Tone employs the same black board, but instead of black ink, Odutola uses a metallic Sharpie to cast lines and fill the negative space. Odutola questions the inversion of her own aesthetic and in doing so looks upon the equally problematic proposition of how black people see one another.
Concurrently on view at 524 West 24th Street is Tim Bavington: New Paintings, from May 16th through June 29th.
Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10am to 6pm. For additional information and photographic material please contact the gallery at firstname.lastname@example.org.