Gallery  September 7, 2018  Chandra Noyes

"When Legends Die" Brings a Family Tree to Life at Jack Shainman Gallery

Jack Shainman Gallery

Toyin Ojih Odutola, The Second Hour, 2018, charcoal, pastel and pencil on paper.

Toyin Ojih Odutola has spent three years and four exhibitions telling the story of TH Lord Temitope Omodele and TMH Lord Jideofor Emeka. Now in a fifth exhibition, opening this week at Jack Shainman Gallery in New York, Ojih Odutola concludes her visual drama. When Legends Die follows A Matter of Fact (Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco, 2016), To Wander Determined (Whitney Museum of American Art, 2017), Testing the Name (Savannah  College of Art and Design Museum of Art, 2018), and The Firmament (Hood Museum of Art, 2018). The series began when Ojih Odutola asked herself, “What if there was a story about a Nigerian aristocratic family, helmed by a nobleman and his husband? What would that look like?" Over the course of several years, she has answered that question, and thoroughly.

Toyin Ojih Odutola, Carried Beauty, 2018
Jack Shainman Gallery

Toyin Ojih Odutola, Carried Beauty, 2018, charcoal, pastel and pencil on paper.

Toyin Ojih Odutola, On Loan, 2018
Jack Shainman Gallery

Toyin Ojih Odutola, On Loan, 2018, pastel, charcoal and pencil on paper.

Toyin Ojih Odutola, Fames Rivalry, 2018
Jack Shainman Gallery

Toyin Ojih Odutola, Fames Rivalry, 2018, pastel, charcoal and pencil on paper.

Toyin Ojih Odutola, Effortless Influence,  2018
Jack Shainman Gallery

Toyin Ojih Odutola, EffortlessInfluence,  2018, charcoal, pastel and pencil on paper.

Toyin Ojih Odutola, Anchor, 2018
Jack Shainman Gallery

Toyin Ojih Odutola, Anchor, 2018, charcoal, pastel and pencil on paper.

The Nigerian-born Ojih Odutola is known for intimate portraiture in her signature graphic style. Using bold lines and colors, Ojih Odutola renders the dark skin of her subjects with organic forms that give them a fascinating texture, one that seems to shine and move. Having had solo exhibitions at many major institutions, Ojih Odutola, 33, is a highly accomplished American artist.

For this series, Ojih Odutola takes an even closer look at her subjects. By creating a narrative through imagined snapshots of their everyday lives, she has developed a full context for her characters, building a world for them and the viewer. The fact that the artist has been immersed in this world is evidenced by its completeness. According to Ojih Odutola, “I've been consumed by these characters for three years now and it's been surreal, humbling and insanely stressful, but also very beautiful and instructive. It's time to draw it all to a conclusion.”

Jack Shainman Gallery

Toyin Ojih Odutola, In the Drawing Room,  2018

Toyin Ojih Odutola: When Legends Die is on view at two locations of Jack Shainman Gallery in New York, through October 27, 2018.

About the Author

Chandra Noyes

Chandra is managing editor for Art & Object.