Home Art Odili Donald Odita at Jack Shainman Gallery

Odili Donald Odita at Jack Shainman Gallery


Odili Donald Odita’s colours usually are not simple. Like these of Ellsworth Kelly or Advert Reinhardt, they sear into the attention with deep chromatic depth. For Odita, hue produces a fancy set of relations, a rhythm. Within the artist’s present right here, his summary work—made on wooden panels topped with striated wooden veneers—glow with acrylic shapes organized into scintillating configurations, which contact after which break free, dehiscing into what appears like ceaseless multiplication. Whereas Odita’s works, I neglect their edges, for it appears that evidently his patterns may spin out past the boundaries of the panel, filling the encircling house.

But, in lingering with these compositions, concrete realities start to floor, making his elegantly conceived work troublesome to bear. Take the exhibition’s namesake, Burning Cross, (all works cited, 2022), which options groupings of elongated knifelike triangles that stretch throughout the composition’s 4 quadrants to type one thing resembling the titular determine. Whereas the title of this work makes a direct reference to racial violence in the USA, different items, comparable to International, function with a bit extra stealth. Right here, a quartet of jagged shapes rendered in nice hues—salmon, lavender, mint, and dove grey—have been laid out so {that a} swastika turns into seen within the damaging areas fashioned between them.

Odita’s critique of energy is layered, levied not solely by his refined references to historical past and its darkish iconography, but in addition by way of the works’ inner architectures. When they’re visually damaged aside, the artist’s loaded symbols reveal recurring modular shapes—partially impressed by his examine of West African textiles—which helps route his abstractions away from any presumed Western origins. Odita reminds us that so-called political content material could be intrinsic to aesthetic types, and that portray bears its personal tasks throughout the buildings of violence addressed within the picture of a burning cross.


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