Thursday, May 26, 2011

NEW YORK: Toyin Odutola / (MAPS) / Jack Shainman Gallery / May 26 - June 25, 2011

Toyin Odutola / (MAPS) / May 26 - June 25, 2011
 Opening reception for the artist: Thursday, May 26, from 6 – 8 PM

Jack Shainman Gallery is pleased to announce (MAPS), an exhibition of new works by Toyin Odutola. This will be her first solo show in New York.

Through an extraordinarily detailed, almost obsessive approach, Odutola explores various interpretations of blackness in image-making using ball point pens, ink and paper. Through monochromatic, tonal density she explores and expands upon these histories and representations. A relentless layering, mapping and cropping of each portrait allows for a tension to reveal itself, where the contradictions become almost too heavy and burdensome for the fragile paper to bear. The figurative subjects are impenetrable, solid, and embossed into the picture plane. Odutola often melds snapshots of friends and models with her own likeness. In so doing, she investigates whether the place which one inhabits (a skin, a locale, a presence) can simultaneously exist within and outside of a definition. The portrayal of the subject does not specifically belong to any locus, yet is inherently connected to the human dermal landscape.

The sense of place and presence are important conceptual themes throughout Odutolas work. Growing up as a child in a perpetually transient mode, she describes the allowance of context, to become permeable, flexible and impermanent, somewhat precarious and at times unimportant. Through a frequent search for security in decontexualized surroundings, Odutola employs emptied blank spaces that render her subjects neither within nor without. She creates a lexicon from the laborious, time-consuming process of meticulous mark-making, prying at the idea of what her skin means to her and claiming her own space. Odutola roams within this open expanse, a part of it, regardless of the changes which may befall everything around us and the histories and representations navigated by us all.

Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm. For additional information and photographic material please contact the gallery at

The following was posted by Toyin Odutola on her blog
26th May 2011

"Today: Just a few hours ago, I shook Julie Mehretu’s hand as she viewed my show at JSG. I almost died."

Toyin Odutola, born in Nigeria, currently lives and works in San Francisco, CA. She is a first year MFA at the California College of the Arts. Her work has been included in several group exhibitions including The Black Portrait, Rush Gallery, New York, curated by Hank Willis Thomas and Natasha L. Logan, Common Ground, ARTLAB33 / Art Space, Miami, curated by Onajide Shabaka and Selections on View in the Contemporary Galleries of the Birmingham Museum. She is a recipient of the Ellen Battell Stoeckel Fellowship Grant, Yale/Norfolk and the Erzulie Veasey Johnson Painting & Drawing Award.

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