Odili Donald Odita (b. 1966, Enugu, Nigeria) brings heightened awareness to color and space in paintings where abstraction is an optically, physically, and culturally-felt phenomenon. Though they are rooted in a broad range of historical lineages—Africanist approaches to pattern; modernist painting and design; and contemporary conceptual positions, to name a few—his compositions make immediate appeals to the senses in the here and now. Odita's take on non-objective art is suffused with connectivity to the world around him, and arises from memories, philosophical reflections, and meditations on the ways in which political forces shape relationships between perception and form. His primary stance is one of constant engagement, as evidenced by Odita's interest in creating both discrete works and large-scale, site-specific installations. In both cases, he decenters figure-ground relationships to generate palpable experiences of the horizon and the periphery. These, in turn, become metaphorical carriers of possibility and surprise, as well as symbols of openness in the visual and social worlds alike.
Odili Donald Odita has been the subject of solo exhibitions at institutions including the Philadelphia Museum of Art (2021); Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Virginia (2020); Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami (2019); and Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina (2015). Notable group exhibitions include New Grit: Art & Philly Now, Philadelphia Museum of Art (2021); Generations: A History of Black and Abstract Art, Baltimore Museum of Art (2019); How We See: Materiality of Color, Laumeier Sculpture Park, St. Louis (2019); Front International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art: An American City, Cleveland (2018); Prospect 4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp, New Orleans (2017); Think with the Senses – Feel with the Mind: Art in the Present Tense, 52nd Venice Biennale, Italy (2007). Odita’s work is in the permanent collections of numerous museums, including the Baltimore Museum of Art; Pérez Art Museum, Miami; Philadelphia Museum of Art; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York. Odita lives and works in Philadelphia.