FOR OPACITY

 

Elijah Burgher, Toyin Ojih Odutola, and Nathaniel Mary Quinn will be the first museum exhibition for Burgher and Quinn and follows on the heels of Ojih Odutola’s successful 2017 New York debut at the Whitney Museum of American Art. In the case of each artist, older drawings will be placed alongside work created expressly for The Drawing Center exhibition to foreground the artists’ sustained and developing dedication to their fields of inquiry. At the same time, the artists’ works will be interspersed throughout the exhibition space to allow for dialogue and cross-connections. Whether using a highly refined illusionistic approach (Burgher), a broad range of material techniques and media (Ojih Odutola), or a fractured, composite aesthetic (Quinn) the artists in For Opacity explore the relationship between insight and obscurity; what a surface can reveal and what it necessarily withholds. Organized by Claire Gilman, Chief Curator, with Amber Harper, Assistant Curator.

For Opacity: Elijah Burgher, Toyin Ojih Odutola, and Nathaniel Mary Quinn will be the first museum exhibition for Burgher and Quinn and follows on the heels of Ojih Odutola’s successful 2017 New York debut at the Whitney Museum of American Art. In the case of each artist, older drawings will be placed alongside work created expressly for The Drawing Center exhibition to foreground the artists’ sustained and developing dedication to their fields of inquiry. At the same time, the artists’ works will be interspersed throughout the exhibition space to allow for dialogue and cross-connections. Whether using a highly refined illusionistic approach (Burgher), a broad range of material techniques and media (Ojih Odutola), or a fractured, composite aesthetic (Quinn) the artists in For Opacity explore the relationship between insight and obscurity; what a surface can reveal and what it necessarily withholds. Organized by Claire Gilman, Chief Curator, with Amber Harper, Assistant Curator.

ABOUT ELIJAH BURGHER The painstakingly-crafted color pencil drawings by Elijah Burgher (b. 1978, Kingston, NY) blend abstraction with representation (typically images of nude men) in a way that literally encodes queer desire. Citing twentieth-century occultism, Burgher creates his precise backgrounds from sigils, private symbols that are readable only to the initiated. In this way, Burgher foregrounds the centrality of meaning while denying interpretation, his evocative yet coolly distanced depictions reinforce the imposed silence that undergirds his subjects’ amorous histories.

ABOUT TOYIN OJIH ODUTOLA Toyin Ojih Odutola (b. 1985, Nigeria) distinguishes herself by the range of materials she uses, including graphite, white and black charcoal, ballpoint pen, pastel, color pencil, and marker, each of which she employs both in the service of articulating her subjects—that is, quite specifically, their variegated skin tones and clothing textures—and as a means of ensuring obfuscation. In Ojih Odutola’s hands, the line remains an intentional mark both delineating skin and surface and exposing it as an unstable socially-coded terrain.

In recent years, solo exhibitions of Ojih Odutola’s work have been mounted by the Savannah College of Art and Design Museum of Art, GA; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco; the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis; and the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art.

ABOUT NATHNAIEL MARY QUINN Drawings by Nathaniel Mary Quinn (b. 1977, Chicago) are collage-like in their fractured appearance and yet his visages, which combine disparate motifs and materials to create a composite whole, are drawn entirely by hand. Unlike Burgher’s more impersonal aesthetic, Quinn brings a palpable intimacy and vulnerability to his portraits that typically find their genesis in individuals from the artist’s life, particularly from his traumatic upbringing in the Robert Taylor Homes public housing complex in Chicago. But even as his subjects resonate emotionally, their identity remains protected by and beneath his variegated surfaces.

Quinn has been the subject of solo exhibitions at M+B, Los Angeles; Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago; Luce Gallery, Torino, Italy; and Pace London. His work has been included in group exhibitions at the Taubman Museum of Art, Virginia; the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicag; the Hall Art Foundation, New York, and the Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, FL, among others.

 

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