Toyin Ojih Odutola’s “Tell Me A Story, I Don’t Care If It’s True” is currently on view online with Jack Shainman Gallery. The artist is known for her arresting multimedia drawings exploring identity and story-telling. She works in pen, pencil, pastel, and charcoal to create detailed, layered work.
In this new series, Ojih Odutola investigates the connection between image and text, and how that relationship influences the interpretation of the work. “What happens when an image and text work in tandem?” asks the artist in a statement. “I’m often fascinated with how miscommunications happen and what the imagination conjures in misconstrued spaces—the gulfs between what is intended and how it is received. There lies the possibility for stories to emerge from within these spaces of missed connections.”
The images feature what feels like private moments: reclining on a sofa looking at one’s phone just out of frame; taking a selfie in the bathroom; head against the pillow, asleep in bed; gazing into the distance, earbuds in.
“Sometimes an image may seem unquestioned, but its title or accompanying text renders it ambiguous,” says Ojih Odutola. “With ‘Tell Me A Story, I Don’t Care If It’s True,’ I’m attempting to question proclivities towards interpretation and the degrees of bias that affect legibility.”
The show follows the artist’s journey to understanding what visual story-telling means to her and her audience. Throughout, Ojih Odutola uses drawing to guide her understanding of the world.