Toyin Odutola’s pieces evoke a multitude of feelings, like ones you might experience when looking at an actual person. Although her work mainly features characters rendered in black ink, their appeal is universal. Odutola’s work addresses issues of identity, and stand as a beacon in the storm of the human experience.
Odutola says of her work, “Where some may see flat, static narratives, I see a spectrum of tonal gradations and realities. What I am creating is literally black portraiture with ballpoint pen ink. I’m looking for that in-between state in an individual where the overarching definition is lost. Skin as geography is the terrain I expand by emphasizing the specificity of blackness, where an individual’s subjectivity, various realities and experiences can be drawn onto the diverse topography of the epidermis. From there, the possibilities of portraying a fully-fledged person are endless.”
People across the nation and in Indianapolis continue to find themselves in challenging conversations about identity. Regardless of what you may think about these issues, Odutola’s pieces are alive in the way you can interact with them. People are often more open to the conversations contained within art than to each other. And that is how Odutola is helping change the art world and anyone who experiences her work. It’s not art for a particular group of people. It’s art for anyone who appreciates truth and beauty.
Toyin Odutola was born in Ife Nigeria in 1985. She grew up in Alabama, received a B.A. from the University of Huntsville in 2008, then an MFA from the California College of the Arts. Her work has shown in Museums and galleries all across the United States. She is represented by Jack Shainman Gallery and currently lives in New York City.
This exhibit was possible through a grant from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts (Wynn Kramarsky Freedom of Artistic Expression Grant)
All our programs and exhibitions are made possible with support from The Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts (Wynn Kramarsky Freedom of Artistic Expression Grant), The Christel Dehaan Family Foundation, The Glick Fund, The Efroymson Family Fund, Halstead Architects, KEJ Foundation, the Indianapolis Foundation, The Tracy L. Haddad Foundation, The Netherleigh Fund, the Arts Council of Indianapolis, the Murphy Arts L.L.C., Penrod Foundation, and Big Car Art + Design.