‘uncertain, yet reserved’ by toyin odutola acrylic ink and pen ink on board 20 x 30 inches 2012

nigerian artist toyin odutola has recently extended her meticulously detailed artworks, created using only pen and ink on paper. the sketches began as a coping mechanism for the young artist adapting to a constantly changing living situation, growing up in various american cities, where, through the act of drawing, she would be able to access a certain mental stillness and articulate her thoughts through intricate portraiture. the pieces are not only a personal reflection but also an illustrative appreciation and ode to the language of the face, communicating through her style the power of a person’s eyes, expressions and features.

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 literally be drawn onto the diverse topography of the epidermis. from there, the possibilities of portraying a fully-fledged person are endless.’

pen ink portraits by toyin odutola

pen ink portraits by toyin odutola ‘I had her, and then I lost her’ (capturing maebel, brooklyn, NY.) diptych pen ink on paper 14 x 11 inches (each) 2012

pen ink portraits by toyin odutola ‘I had her, and then I lost her’ (capturing maebel, brooklyn, NY.) detail pen ink on paper 14 x 11 inches (each) 2012

pen ink portraits by toyin odutola ‘untitled (brothers of some kind)’ diptych pen ink on paper 14 x 17 inches (each) 2011-12

pen ink portraits by toyin odutola ‘untitled (brothers of some kind)’ detail Pen Ink on paper 14 x 17 inches (each) 2011-12

pen ink portraits by toyin odutola ‘untitled (dotun. enugu, nigeria)’ pen ink on paper 14 x 11 inches 2012

pen ink portraits by toyin odutola ‘it’s not so bad, is it?’ pen ink on paper 14 x 11 inches 2012

pen ink portraits by toyin odutola ‘the view from behind’ pen ink and coffee stain on paper 13 3/4 x 10 3/4 inches 2012

pen ink portraits by toyin odutola ‘untitled sketch (fish heads)’ pen ink on paper 8.5 x 11 inches 2012

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