Odili Donald Odita


Born in 1966 in Enugu, Nigeria, Odili Donald Odita lives in Philadelphia, where he is a Professor of Painting and Drawing at Tyler School of Art, Temple University. The artist work explores color both in the figurative art historical context as well as in the sociopolitical sense, expressing his desire to highlight Africa and its wealth of culture. According to the artist: ”color in itself has the possibility of mirroring the complexity of the world as much as it has the potential for being distinct. The organization and patterning in the paintings are of my own design. I continue to explore in the paintings a metaphoric ability to address the human condition through pattern, structure and design, as well as for its possibility to trigger our memory. The colors I use are personal: they reflect the collection of visions from my travels locally and globally. This is also one of the hardest aspects of my work as I try to derive the colors intuitively, hand-­mixing and coordinating them along the way. In my process, I cannot make a color twice – it can only appear to be the same. This aspect is important to me as it highlights the specificity of differences that exist in the world of people and things“. In recent years, Odita has been commissioned to paint several large-­scale wall installations for Instituions including The United States Mission at the United Nations in New York (2011), the Savannah College of Art and Design (2012), New York Presbyterian Hospital (2012), New Orleans Museum of Art (2011), Kiasma, Helsinki (2011) and the George C. Young Federal Building and Courthouse in Orlando, Florida (2013). Odita work had been displayed in solo exhibitions in museums and institutions across the globe, including Savannah College of Art and Design; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston;; Studio Museum in Harlem; Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita; and Princeton University; Stevenson Gallery in Capetown and Johannesburg; M77 Gallery in Milan, and more. The artist has been the recipient of a Penny McCall Foundation Grant in 1994, a Joan Mitchell Foundation grant in 2001 and a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant in 2007. Also in 2007, his large installation Give Me Shelter was featured prominently in the 52nd Venice Biennale exhibition Think With The Senses, Feel With the Mind, curated by Robert Storr.
Recent solo shows:
2016
The Differend, M77 Gallery, Milan, IT
2015
Third Degree of Separation, Michael Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town, ZA
The Velocity of Change, Jack Shainman Gallery, NY, USA
2014
Evolving Geometries: Line Form, and Color, Center for The Arts at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, USA
2013
This, That and The Other, Jack Shainman Gallery, NY, USA
2012
Michael Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town, ZA
Heaven’s Gate, Savannah College of Arts & Design Museum of Art, Savannah, USA
2010
Perspective 169: Odili Donald Odita, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, USA
Body & Space, Jack Shainman Gallery, NY, USA
2009
Television, Ulrich Project Series, Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita, USA
Up & Away, (permanent installation), Butler Commons, Princetown University, Princetown, USA
2008
Third Space, (organized by Stamatina Gregory), Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, USA
Double Edge, Michael Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town, ZA
2007
Flow, Contemporary Arts Centerm Cincinnati, USA
Equalizer, Studio Museum in Harlem, NY, USA
Recent group shows:

2016
Mingei: Are You Still Here!, Dorsky Curatorial Program, Long Island City, USA
The Pineapple Show, Boy’s Quarters Project Space, London, UK
The Condition Of Place: The Woodmere Annual 75th Juried Exhibition, Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia, USA
Color+Theory: Past and Present, The Fine Art Museum at Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, USA
2015
Outside The Lines: Color Across the Collections, Newark Museum, Newark, USA
Represent: 200 Years of African American Art, Philadelphia Museum Of Art, Philadelphia, USA
New New York: Abstract Painting in the 21st Century, Univeristy Art Galleries & The John Young, Museum of Art of Hawaii, Manoa, USA
2014
Sound Vision: Contemporary Art From The Collection, Nasher Museum Of Art at Duke University, Durham, USA
2012
Never Underestimate Your Monochrome, Univeristy Of Iowa Museum Of Art, Iowa City, USA
Magical Visions, University Museums, University Of Delaware, Newark, USA
African Abstraction, Michael Stevenson Gallery, (During Art Basel), Basel, Switzerland, CH

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