Marking Collins Obijiaku’s inaugural solo presentation with Roberts Projects, “Unexpected Sittings” brings together a new group of portrait paintings created over the last year. “Unexpected Sittings” explores the potential behind every interaction, and how in these dynamic and – at times complicated – spaces, one can become inspired to an unfamiliar degree.
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As stated by the artist, “there is an unlimited wealth of ideas that are bound within the fabrics of chance conversations or interactions that unfold and progress naturally. And many of these ideas, or fresh perspectives, carry the potential to nudge us, as [either] individuals and groups, into the path of positive change.”
Obijiaku’s practice is recognizable for its distinct render, topographical linework, and emotive qualities. Working directly on the surface of either paper or canvas, he slowly builds out the contours of the face with considerable skill.
The effect is one not unlike silverpoint, a technique of drawing difficult to correct mastered by Albrecht Dürer. This embrace of both spontaneity and skill captures the intricacies of mark-making, as well as the intangible qualities of the depicted subject. The contrasting color and light, and rich textural quality of painted details, further highlight the artist’s hand.
About the Artist
Collins Obijiaku’s (b.1995 Kaduna, Nigeria; based in Abuja, Nigeria) elegant portraits of Black men and women gaze directly at the viewer. The artist uses various materials, often mixing oil, acrylic, and charcoal to achieve soft gradients, seductive texture, and beguiling linework; seen up close, the arrangements of his brushstrokes are almost cartographical in appearance. The artist’s subjects are both people close to him and strangers he meets on the street, which allows Obijiaku to create intimate records of his home and surrounding community. Obijiaku has exhibited internationally, including New York, London, Lagos, and Accra. He was an artist-in-residence at Black Rock Senegal, a multidisciplinary residency program founded in 2019 by Kehinde Wiley in Dakar, Senegal.
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