by Nathaniel Mary Quinn
For Opacity focuses on three young artists—Elijah Burgher, Toyin Ojih Odutola, and Nathaniel Mary Quinn—who explore diverse identities through portraiture and who do so almost exclusively through the medium of drawing. These artists have entirely distinct stylistic approaches and personal backgrounds, but they are connected by the way in which they use drawing to investigate subjecthood as well as its resistance to depiction.
For each artist, Drawing Papers 138 features older drawings as well as work created expressly for The Drawing Center exhibition to foreground each artist’s sustained and developing dedication to their fields of inquiry. Also included is Édouard Glissant’s titular essay “For Opacity” from his book The Poetics of Relation (1990). A curatorial essay by Claire Gilman, Chief Curator, and contributions from artists Elijah Burgher, Toyin Ojih Odutola, and Nathaniel Mary Quinn each take Glissant’s notion of “opacity” to explore the relationship between insight and obscurity; what a drawn surface can reveal and what it necessarily withholds.