Sola Olulode: Could You Be Love

Sapar Contemporary, New York, United States
28 Oct 2022 - 02 Dec 2022

Sola Olulode, Park Dates, 2020, Monoprint, ink, oil pastel and acrylic on paper. Copyright The Artist

Sola Olulode, Park Dates, 2020, Monoprint, ink, oil pastel and acrylic on paper. Copyright The Artist

Sapar Contemporary presents Could You Be Love, an exhibition of new paintings and drawings by Sola Olulode (UK). Olulode’s first solo show in New York inhabits a space of Black figuration that attends to the promise of love. Remaking the whole world, both natural and interior spaces, into a queer ecology of tenderness and intimacy. Wherein love is a cultural commons for Black queer social life.

Olulode’s signature monochromatic works express the emphatic nature of desire. Building toward a color imaginary for falling in love. Moving from works in hues of blue and yellow to her lawn series that fill the frame with a textured green landscape. Color production is a central scaffolding technology within her work. The cascading pigments and tones are not background to the figures. Olulode’s color choices radiate across the canvas, affectively marking and wrapping the characters in their warmth. Drawing the viewer into the voluminous energy of being close to another. Thick and heavy silhouette lines render the mechanics of emotion alive. Visceral and real. The shift from the monochromatic palette marks a new cradling of subjective social treatment within her work. Pulling forth changes in the styling of the figures’ hair, clothing and bedding. Experimenting with organic materials and employing complex but playful manipulations onto the canvas is important to Olulode. This is best transmitted through her use of indigo and batik wax. Exploring an array of adire dyeing practices and resistance methods that leave traces of her hand visible and uniquely legible. Particularly in the emergent contours of stichting elements, circular motifs, and floral patterns. Olulode approaches each canvas as a moment of progression, swiftly shifting her painting techniques to produce strong gestural imprints that interplay between the background and the foreground of the figures.

In addition to her sharply conceptual use of color and structural experimentation with the canvas, there is also an overt spatial articulation within Olulode’s work. Bodies stretched out on a lawn, snuggled together within a bed frame, in transit and traversing the city together. There is an organized spatial seduction across the minimalist monoprint drawings and color-filled paintings. The scenes are constructed in relation to the environment. Creating an unique orientation of queer relationality in space. One that mobilizes acts of kinship that are fecund and alluring. Illustrating the soft labor of everyday togetherness, from holding someone’s hand throughout the day to cuddling them warm at night. Opening the intersubjective dynamism of intimacy through quotidian scenes of mutual joy and care.

Curated by Ladi’Sasha Jones.




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