OSI AUDU, Self-Portrait II, 2015, graphite and pastel on paper mounted on canvas, 56.5 x 76.5 ins



OSI AUDU in the Village Voice, New York

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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

"Osi Audu was born in Nigeria in 1956, and his shape-shifting drawings derive partly from the Yoruba concept that the human head encompasses a duality of spirit and matter, mind and body. Combining layered graphite and fathomless black pastel edged with sleek white lines, each of Audu’s renderings oscillates between a depiction of an empty and oddly shaped container — imagine a hatbox with tendrils — and a space-warping geometric abstraction. The graphite planes shimmer like sheet metal, seemingly enclosing dark expanses rimmed with light.

Segueing between three-dimensional representation and vivid graphic design, Audu’s work encourages mind games that summon unexpected allusions. With its cartoonish curves, Self-Portrait No. 57 (2015) recalls the line drawing Alfred Hitchcock made of himself for his television show, which, during the opening titles, would be filled with the director’s own shadow. Audu delivers a similar sense of disembodied animation, flummoxing the brain as his velvety surfaces dazzle the eye. Some future production of Hamlet could up the metaphysical ante by using one of these drawings as a stand-in for Yorick’s skull."

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