A public garden & cultural center

Eto Otitigbe

Eto Otitigbe
Situations, Specifics, Attenuation

Sunroom Project Space | June 7 –July 19, 2015

Situations, Specifics, Attenuation, 2015, concrete, aluminum and wood, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Ken Goebel.

Eto Otitigbe is a multi-media artist whose practice encompasses sculpture, performance and installation. He describes himself in the poly-hyphenated terms of today’s culturally and socially engaged artists as Nigerian-American-Artist-Engineer-DJ-Designer, to name but a few aspects of his identity. Investigating issues of race, power and technology, Otitigbe sees his art variously as creative protest, cultural artifact or shared experience. At times, he makes politically charged work in response to current events; on other occasions, he experiments with process and abstraction. His most recent work shows how deftly he can merge political subject matter with graphical, skillfully produced forms.

To make the pieces in Situations, Specifics, Attenuation, Otitigbe took photographs in Wave Hill’s Conservatory, and then used a software algorithm to convert areas of light and dark into a cutting pattern for a computer-controlled router, which engraved the surface of concrete slabs. He considers the resulting images to be highly textural photographs. In the greenhouse, Otitigbe was drawn to the succulent Haworthia tessellata because of its distinct, mosaic-like pattern and its African origins. Finding something African in the Bronx prompted the artist to contemplate questions about migration and how the African Diaspora includes not just its people, but also its physical resources.

The square markings on the plant’s leaves reminded him of digital technology—like pixels or matrices, multiple operators acting simultaneously. To investigate how far a fixed set of conditions can transform or abstract a subject from its original form, the artist took the same plant images and further abstracted them by creating two additional geometric drawings, this time etched into aluminum plates. Finally, Otitigbe processed the picture of the leaves again with digital software, giving them the form of sculptural seating and locating them in the center of the Sunroom. Although the piece allows visitors to sit, its odd shape makes the experience awkward, and both furniture and person seem out of place.

Situations, Specifics, Attenuation, 2015, concrete, aluminum and wood, dimensions variable. Photo: Ken Goebel.

Situations, Specifics, Attenuation, 2015, engraved aluminum, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the Artist.

Situations, Specifics, Attenuation, 2015, engraved aluminum, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the Artist.

Artist Website

The Arts at Wave Hill are supported by Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc., Milton & Sally Avery Arts Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and by the Cathy and Stephen Weinroth Commissioning Fund for the Arts. 
 

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