By GRACE KOOK-ANDERSON
Wangechi Mutu: The Hybrid Human at PNCA’s 511 Gallery is a succinct presentation of Mutu’s works, borrowed from the collection of Jordan D. Schnitzer. Anchored by two series, Histology of Different Classes of Uterine Tumors and The Original Nine Daughters, the exhibition highlights Mutu’s continued exploration of a visual language associated with femaleness and blackness. Mutu’s first solo exhibition in the Pacific Northwest—she was born in Nairobi and has lived in New York since the 1990s—is also the inaugural exhibition of the annual Jordan D. Schnitzer Exhibition and Visiting Artist Series, and will feature her talk on March 10.
Twelve works from Histology of Different Classes of Uterine Tumors, a direct reference to a historical medical textbook of the same name, occupy one wall of the gallery. Mutu distorts the medical illustrations of ovarian cysts, tumors of the uterus, and ectopic pregnancy with a collage of grotesque and disproportioned faces. In Histology of Different Classes of Uterine Tumors: Cancer of the Uterus, wide set eyes and luscious red lips shape a face covered in black glitter, reminiscent of astronomic images of the sky speckled in stars and planets. Small tufts of white fur frame the face, creating a tactile collage that is at once visually alluring and malformed.