Tag Archives: Eto Otitigbe

ETO OTITIGBE | “Materiel Remains” reviewed in The Washington Post

25 Jun

Eto Otitigbe

Review by Mark Jenkins

June 24, 2022 at 6:00 a.m. EDT

“Dr. Nova,” by Eto Otitigbe, in the exhibit “Materiel Remains: Consider This a Blueprint, a Series of Blueprints.” (Eto Otitigbe)

At first glance, the Eto Otitigbe paintings at Morton Fine Art don’t seem to have much connection with his best known ventures, which are public sculptures. But the swirling, inky facades of the artist’s “Materiel Remains: Consider This a Blueprint, a Series of Blueprints” are inscribed with intricate designs that have an architectural quality. These half-hidden forms do suggest blueprints, albeit for purely theoretical structures.

Otitigbe, who teaches sculpture at Brooklyn College, generally paints on valchromat, a variety of colored plywood introduced about 25 years ago. The artist buries the substance’s bright hues under mostly black paint, which contrasts the lines engraved by a computer-controlled process. The cleanly cut patterns are as precise as the applied pigment is loose and smeary.

The artist is a member of the design team for the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers at the University of Virginia, and his paintings do allude indirectly to hidden African American history. But they can also be seen as embodying the hidden structures that underlie a seemingly disordered universe. Trained as an engineer at MIT and Stanford, Otitigbe imposes structure even as he indulges painterly intuition.

Eto Otitigbe: Materiel Remains: Consider This a Blueprint, a Series of Blueprints Through June 28 at Morton Fine Art, 52 O St. NW, No. 302. Open by appointment.

Artist ETO OTITIGBE speaks on his piece “Cenotaph” at Morton Fine Art

15 Jun

Video credit: Jarrett Hendrix

I construct speculative objects that echo within a residual future and the reminiscent present. These objects interrupt urban spaces, appearing to be foreign bodies, parts of an unknown whole, or agents of change. – Eto Otitigbe

Washington, D.C. – Morton Fine Art is pleased to present Materiel Remains: Consider this a blueprint, a series of blueprints., a solo exhibition and a new series of works by the multidisciplinary artist Eto Otitigbe. A creator best known for his public art installations and site-specific interventions, Otitigbe’s work revolves around the recovery of lost or repressed historical narratives and their visual possibilities within the public eye. In his first solo exhibition with Morton Fine Art, Otitigbe reflects on the recent history of public art and its institutional deployment. Materiel Remains will be on view from May 28 – June 28, 2022 in MFA’s Washington, D.C. gallery.

ETO OTITIGBE | Surface Magazine | Artist Statement

13 Jun

ARTIST STATEMENT

Eto Otitigbe’s Blueprint for Excavating Unseen Histories

Seeking to bring history’s repressed narratives to light, the Philadelphia artist meticulously engraves remnants of his own public sculptures onto wood panels to create imaginative inquests for future archaeologists.

BY RYAN WADDOUPS

June 13, 2022

“Don’t You Know That Eye Can Read Your Eyes” (2022) by Eto Otitigbe. Courtesy of the artist and Morton Fine Art

Here, we ask an artist to frame the essential details behind one of their latest works.

Bio: Eto Otitigbe, 45, Brooklyn and Philadelphia (@etootitigbe)

Title of workDon’t You Know That Eye Can Read Your Eyes (2022).

Where to see it: “Materiel Remains” at Morton Fine Art Gallery (52 O St NW, #302, Washington, DC) until June 28.

Three words to describe it: Chemistry, polyvisual, medusa.

What was on your mind at the time: Rummaging through my past and trying to get out of my own way. I wanted to create an image that was about seeing through darkness.

An interesting feature that’s not immediately noticeable: Below many thin layers of acrylic paint is an engraved aluminum plate that was treated with a fluid wash of gun-blackener, which brings with it associations to industry and weaponry. There are a few areas where I removed the acrylic paint and you can see the base layer of metal along with subtle reflections of ambient color and light. The color palette is inspired by syntax highlighting color schemes that are used in software programming languages. This color scheme in particular favors green as a base color alongside other saturated colors that create a sort of electrified static against dark black computer screens. Each color is representative of a unique way that language functions while scripting computer code.

How it reflects your practice as a whole: My process starts with drawing linear patterns-abstractions, or abstract-actions, of structural elements from my previous sculptures and public art projects. Rearranging or remixing prior blueprints expands the visual language of each project and conjoins them. Using software and digital fabrication, the drawings are carved into aluminum plates. I work with artists who run machine shops allowing for detours from the computational blueprints. During the engraving process, machines are stopped, and adjusted, toolpaths are changed; resulting in improvised variations. This process creates branches of work as the concept drawing is met with formal concerns raised by the material. Sanding occurs between each layer to create a sense of visual tension between the carved lines and liquid forms. Likened to a kind of excavation, the engraved lines fluctuate between visibility and invisibility among the layers of acrylic and gun blackened.

One song that captures its essence: I keep looking at and looking into this piece. Siba Dub Plate sets the tone for this kind of introspective journey.

Available Artwork by ETO OTITIGBE

ETO OTITIGBE | Materiel Remains

1 Jun
Materiel Remains : Consider this a blueprint, a series of blueprints.
A solo exhibition of new work by ETO OTITIGBE
May 28th – June 28th, 2022
Contact the gallery for viewing by appointment, price list, additional information and acquisition.(202) 628-2787 (call or text)
info@mortonfineart.com

Available Artwork by ETO OTITIGBE
Shadows, 2022, 36″x27″, aluminum and acrylic paint mounted on wood panel
About Materiel Remains
I construct speculative objects that echo within a residual future and the reminiscent present. These objects interrupt urban spaces, appearing to be foreign bodies, parts of an unknown whole, or agents of change. –  Eto OtitigbeMorton Fine Art is pleased to present Materiel Remains: Consider this a blueprint, a series of blueprints., a solo exhibition and a new series of works by the multidisciplinary artist Eto Otitigbe. A creator best known for his public art installations and site-specific interventions, Otitigbe’s work revolves around the recovery of lost or repressed historical narratives and their visual possibilities within the public eye. In his first solo exhibition with Morton Fine Art, Otitigbe reflects on the recent history of public art and its institutional deployment. Materiel Remains will be on view from May 28 – June 28, 2022 in MFA’s Washington, D.C. gallery.
In his work as a painter, sculptor, curator and fabricator, Otitigbe distorts the materialist distinction between blueprint and artifact, as well as the functional and contextual differences between monuments for posterity and temporary obstructions. Assuming a temporal framework that unravels intent and disaggregates historical coherence, the artist recognizes history as a grand artifice formed from the selective privileging of facts. In this conceptual vision, the role of the monument becomes a manifestation of historical record, visualizing and physically implementing preconceived narratives into present public space while making room for echoes of the past to take shape. Otitigbe’s thoughtful, tactile inversions take on the parlance and pose of public art while tacitly alienating in their collective messaging, creating specific objects that are both recognizable and not, and which play around themes of race, imperialism and historical teleology to excavate forgotten pasts and evoke new futures.
Group installation of new works from 2022, 20″x16″, valchromat & acrylic paint mounted on panel

Materiel (sometimes, matériel) refers to equipment, apparatuses, or supplies which are strategically deployed by an institution or group. Primarily a military term, the artist’s co-option of the word in reference to his own work draws attention to the tactility and provenance of his gallery works, as well as the specific geographies of the sites they refer to. Through the incision of engravature, and in traces of paint which stipple each work like a remnant, Otitigbe explores hidden sides of the same artifacts – rummaging through the residue of the large-scale public sculpture projects he’s made over the past four years to rememorialize them from ambiguous perspectives. His fusion of mixed media drawings, sculptural objects, and plate engravings create a new form in turn, somewhere between an object’s schematic conception and its material realization.

Dr. Nova (diptych), 2022, 60″x72″, aluminum and acrylic paint mounted on wood panel
By placing in dialogue the conceptual frameworks, design blueprints, specific histories and local landscapes which led to the realization of each work of public art as a discrete interactive form, Otitigbe unearths a profoundly materialist study of modern signifiers in public space. In his current public projects – including his work as a member of the Design Team for the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville – Otitigbe has been involved in what theorists of Afrofuturism might term “countermemory”: assemblages which contest the colonial archive to establish the historical character of Black culture. In this current exhibition, Otitigbe collects the remains of these projects for a study of the materiel in the imaginative inquest of a future archaeologist: attempting to both trace and fuse the phenomena of recent history into a blueprint for the previously unseen, as well as to posit new futurist perspectives from which to study and critique the recent past. 
Available artwork by ETO OTITIGBE

Eto Otitigbe is interested in recovering buried narratives and giving form to the unseen. He is a polymedia artist whose interdisciplinary practice includes sculpture, performance, installation, and public art. Otitigbe’s public works includes temporary installations in Socrates Sculpture Park (Queens, NY) and Randall’s Island Park (New York, NY). His current public commissions include: Peaceful Journey (Mt. Vernon, NY, 2022); Cascode (Philadelphia, PA); Emanativ (Harlem, NY); Passing Point (Alexandria, VA). He was a member of the Design Team for the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers at UVA (Charlottesville, VA) where he contributed to the creative expression on the memorial’s exterior surface.

Otitigbe’s work has been in solo and group exhibitions that include 2013 Bronx Calling: The Second AIM Biennial, organized by the Bronx Museum and Wave Hill; Abandoned Orchestra, Sound Sculpture installation and performance with Zane Rodulfo, Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY; The Golden Hour, Oakland Cemetery, Atlanta, GA, curated by Oshun D. Layne; and Bronx: Africa, Longwood Gallery, Bronx, NY, curated by Atim Oton and Leronn P. Brooks. 

Otitigbe’s fellowships and awards include the CEC Artslink Project Award for travel and cultural projects in Egypt and the Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship at the National Museum of African Art where he explored the intersection of Urhobo language and historical objects. 

His curatorial projects include directing the es ORO Gallery in Jersey City, NJ (2007-09) and co-curating, alongside Amanda Kerdahi, the Topophilia Exhibition in Nees, Denmark (2017) as part of the ET4U Meetings Festival in Denmark.

He is an Assistant Professor of Sculpture in the Art Department at Brooklyn College. He received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from MIT, an M.S. in Product Design from Stanford University (M.S.) and an MFA in Creative Practice from the University of Plymouth. 

He has been represented by Morton Fine Art since 2022.

Eto Otitigbe is interested in recovering buried narratives and giving form to the unseen. He is a polymedia artist whose interdisciplinary practice includes sculpture, performance, installation, and public art. Otitigbe’s public works includes temporary installations in Socrates Sculpture Park (Queens, NY) and Randall’s Island Park (New York, NY). His current public commissions include: Peaceful Journey (Mt. Vernon, NY, 2022); Cascode (Philadelphia, PA); Emanativ (Harlem, NY); Passing Point (Alexandria, VA). He was a member of the Design Team for the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers at UVA (Charlottesville, VA) where he contributed to the creative expression on the memorial’s exterior surface.

Otitigbe’s work has been in solo and group exhibitions that include 2013 Bronx Calling: The Second AIM Biennial, organized by the Bronx Museum and Wave Hill; Abandoned Orchestra, Sound Sculpture installation and performance with Zane Rodulfo, Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY; The Golden Hour, Oakland Cemetery, Atlanta, GA, curated by Oshun D. Layne; and Bronx: Africa, Longwood Gallery, Bronx, NY, curated by Atim Oton and Leronn P. Brooks. 

Otitigbe’s fellowships and awards include the CEC Artslink Project Award for travel and cultural projects in Egypt and the Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship at the National Museum of African Art where he explored the intersection of Urhobo language and historical objects. 

His curatorial projects include directing the es ORO Gallery in Jersey City, NJ (2007-09) and co-curating, alongside Amanda Kerdahi, the Topophilia Exhibition in Nees, Denmark (2017) as part of the ET4U Meetings Festival in Denmark.

He is an Assistant Professor of Sculpture in the Art Department at Brooklyn College. He received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from MIT, an M.S. in Product Design from Stanford University (M.S.) and an MFA in Creative Practice from the University of Plymouth. 

He has been represented by Morton Fine Art since 2022.

About Morton Fine Art
Founded in 2010 in Washington, DC by curator Amy Morton, Morton Fine Art (MFA) is a fine art gallery and curatorial group that collaborates with art collectors and visual artists to inspire fresh ways of acquiring contemporary art. Firmly committed to the belief that art collecting can be cultivated through an educational stance, MFA’s mission is to provide accessibility to museum-quality contemporary art through a combination of substantive exhibitions and a welcoming platform for dialogue and exchange of original voice. Morton Fine Art specializes in a stellar roster of nationally and internationally renowned artists as well as has an additional focus on artwork of the African Diaspora.

Morton Fine Art founded the trademark *a pop-up project in 2010. *a pop-up project is MFA’s mobile gallery component which hosts temporary curated exhibitions nationally.

Gallery hours:
By appointment only. Mask still required.

Morton Fine Art
52 O St NW #302
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 628-2787
info@mortonfineart.com
www.mortonfineart.com