PHILADELPHIA.- Odili Donald Oditas large-scale, abstract wall paintings operate at the intersection of Western modernism and African culture. Borrowing strategies of destabilized perception from Op arta tradition condemned by formalist criticismand adding narrative and multicultural inflection, Odita both embraces and critiques the modernist tradition. His vast, animated expanses of fractured, rhythmic planes, equally informed by television test band patterns, African textiles, post-colonial discourse, sensory overload, and digital technology, speak to a contemporary experience of dislocation and decenteredness. This is the 16th commission in ICAs Ramp Project Series and will be on view through March 29, 2009.
For the Ramp, Odita will design and execute a dynamic work that responds to the unique architecture of the space.
Born in Nigeria and raised in Ohio, Odili Donald Odita (b. 1966, Enugu, Nigeria; lives Philadelphia and New York) has been developing this body of work for 10 years, at which time he was engaged, along with critic Olu Oguibe and curator Okwui Enwezor, in bringing African and diasporic art practices to critical attention through the publication NKA, Journal of Contemporary African Art.
Odita has had numerous exhibitions around the world, and was included in the 52nd Venice Biennale in 2007. He has had solo exhibitions at the Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Jack Shaiman Gallery, New York, the Studio Museum in Harlem, and the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, Ohio. His work will also be on view this fall at The Michael Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town and this spring at the Center for Contemporary Art in Turin. He is an Associate Professor of Fine Art at Tyler School of Art at Temple University.
This exhibition is organized by Whitney Lauder Curatorial Fellow Stamatina Gregory.
Every season ICA commissions an artist to create a new site-specific temporary work for the ramp that links the first and second floor galleries. A transitional space, the ramp is 52-feet long and is visible from the street through architecturally-scaled picture windows on the buildings façade. Especially when it is illuminated at night, each of the commissioned works transforms the ramp into a window on ICAs innovative program on contemporary art. Since the series began in 2000, the ramp has been a site for a diverse range of creative approaches, including wall paintings by Ingrid Calame, Arturo Herrera and Amy Sillman; environmental installations by Virgil Marti, Judy Pfaff and Luca Buvoli; a light and sound piece by Nadine Robinson; an ongoing conceptual project by Alexandra Mir; street photography by Zoe Strauss, a terrarium/aquarium by Phoebe Washburn, and, most recently, a black-lighted wallpapered ramp by Trenton Doyle Hancock exploring the mythic tale of the Mounds and the Vegans.