Sola Olulode “Could You be Love”

Sapar Contemporary

poster for Sola Olulode “Could You be Love”

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Curated by Ladi’Sasha Jones

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 a 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.
We love.

We play.

We embrace.

We recover together. Encounter constellations of tenderness between one another.
These are the poetics generated from Olulode’s work.

Sola Olulode’s dreamy queer visions explore embodiments of British Black Womxn and Non-Binary Folx. Working with various mediums of natural dyeing, batik, wax, ink, pastel, oil bar, and impasto she develops textural canvases that explore the fluidities of identities. Drawing inspiration from lived experience, friends, and cultural reference points to centre Black Queer Womxn, Olulode emphasizes the integral need of representation and celebration of queer intimacies. Her utopian scenes celebrate relationships that transcend crude notions of queer sexuality, her figures exemplify the warm embrace of queer love, a temporal space to bathe in memories of intimacies abundant with scenes of profoundly deep tender connections. Envisaging a world reflective of the celebration of her own identities Olulode brings to life representation and visibility of Black Queer lived experiences. Her figures represent multifaceted complex individuals and the energy they hold in their bodies relishing in a boundless temporality of self-validation and joy.

Sola Olulode is a British-Nigerian London based artist who works across the medium of paint and textile influenced by Yoruba Adire textiles designs. She reinterprets images of Black Womxn expressed through diverse reflections of feminine energies. Olulode received a BA in Fine Art Painting from the University of Brighton in 2018. She has exhibited works in the UK and internationally.

Ladi’Sasha Jones is a writer and curator whose research-based practice explores Black cultural and spatial histories through text, design and public engagement. She has written for Aperture, Avery Review, Arts.Black, Houston Center for Photography, Art X Lagos, Temporary Art Review, Art-Agenda, The Art Momentum, and Recess among others. Her project, Black Interior Space / Spatial Thought was commissioned by THE SHED (NYC) as a part of Open Call 2021 and was the recipient of a 2021 Research and Development award from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. Jones is currently a PhD student in Architecture at Princeton University.



from October 28, 2022 to December 02, 2022

Opening Reception on 2022-10-28 from 18:00 to 20:00


Sola Olulode

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