To Wander Determined features a number of portraits — all fictional, you soon discover — of two aristocratic families in Nigeria, whose sons have joined together in marriage. The political overtones here: gay marriage is illegal in that country. And while traditional portrait paintings are just that — paintings — and Ojih Odutola’s appear just like the famous oils of art history’s past, a close look at the works will reveal that her medium is, surprisingly, graphite, charcoal and pastel. She’s brilliant with those humble materials. There’s something luminous about her figures, for instance, the contours and play of light and shadow on their skin, black skin, blended with her fingers — not a brush. And that’s part of the exhibition’s power. “The epidermis packs so much,” she explained in an interview to the New York Times in May. “Why would you limit it to the flattest blackness possible?”
Currently on view, To Wander Determined is open till February 25th, 2018.
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