The artist's unusual approach to the rendering of skin and its textures is an acute and considered comment on the representation of blackness. Her velvet, seductive surfaces claim territory within the art historical canon of portraiture, which historically favored whiteness. Ojih Odutola's radical black skins seemingly bend light, resisting a logical visual comprehension that speaks as complex metaphor.
The artist’s subjects are itinerant, cosmopolitan and, while intentionally not recognizable, drawn partially from her own inner circle. Ojih Odutola places individuals and couples in opulent interiors and rich landscapes, at leisure and in social interactions. Architectural details and objects surrounding her subjects receive equal attention. Of Nigerian descent, she grew up in the American South and developed a seemingly plausible narrative incorporating themes that, in reality, might not be so straightforward. The artist’s choices are a statement and decision to self-determination and, through their representation, bring into reality a hopeful present.
This exhibition is part of SCAD deFINE ART 2018, held Feb. 20-23 at university locations in Savannah and Atlanta, Georgia, and Hong Kong. SCAD deFINE ART is an annual program of exhibitions, lectures, performances and public events that highlights emerging and established artists and visionaries.