Jennifer Odem at Isaac Delgado Fine Art Gallery

Everyday Hybrid

November 11, 2010 - January 27, 2011
City Park Campus, Building 1 , 3rd floor,  
615 City Park Avenue 
Monday – Friday
9:00 am – 4:00 pm 

Until recently, daily life and its mundane surfaces and textures were generally considered the bane of artistic creation. A new generation of artists reconsiders how the unassuming lack of façade in quotidian life can lead to new realms of expression.  Everyday Hybrid at Isaac Delgado Fine Art Galley features seven artists from this new generation; Jennifer Odem is one of these artists.

Artist Statement:
The idea of vulnerability as strength underlies my investigation of forms and materials.

The industrialization of organic material inverts qualities of stability and fragility. Seemingly delicate sculptures, made from strong, durable materials expose a gap that exists between the permanent and impermanent, the feminine and masculine, and the natural and artificial.

“rootseries08”/  The Root Series, 2008 / Glass, water, roots, plaster and flocked fabric

Interplay between contradictory and exaggerated forms allow me to question social traditions and belief systems. Subverted meanings, humor and absurdity all play a role in my portrayals of gender issues, human relationships and our connection to the land.

A series of works titled “Opened Ground” (in reference to Seamus Heaney’s Selected Poems 1966-1996) aims to assimilate some of the varied qualities and formations that make up the earth, both surface and subterranean. Unenlightened ideas that nature can be synthesized, ‘fertilized’ and controlled are countered by mythologies about the earth holding histories, burial practices and regard for nature. Land use is ironically indicted by forms that allude physically and metaphorically to human characteristics.

My site-specific installations, narrative-poetic objects, or drawings look for ways to describe the space between memory and history, stability and impermanence. Clues extracted from architectural memory and collected cultural history guided my creation of a recent site-specific installation for The New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. A lost and forgotten community was reconstructed through my artistic intervention. I look for the poetic capacity of materials and their characteristics.

Cast plaster and cement become analogous to the foundations of our belief systems and ideologies. Representations of gender and landscape combined with material qualities create narratives that reflect human folly. Unrevealed or obscured histories are layered onto reinvented meanings and reconstructed memories just like the natural and artificial environments are layered in an uneasy fashion barely supporting our human need for shelter, security and significance.
-Jennifer Odem


Based in New Orleans, Jennifer Odem has exhibited her work both locally and abroad.  Odem’s most recent one-person exhibition entitled, “A Discourse In Abstraction: Jennifer Odem and NOMA’s Permanent Collection”, was organized by curator Miranda Lash at the New Orleans Museum of Art in March 2009 (   Her 2008 and 2009 exhibitions include a solo show at 511 Gallery in New York (  and group shows at the Winkleman Gallery in New York ( , the Front Gallery in New Orleans (, and Tulane University’s Newcomb Center for Women (  She has drawn a great deal of inspiration from her seven artist residencies abroad in locations including Ireland, England, Austria and Poland, as well as from her 2007 residency at NOCCA ( ).  Odem is the creator of several outdoor sculptural installations located in Louisiana, Utah, and Poland, and in October of 2008, Odem was the recipient of The Joan Mitchell Foundation’s New Orleans Career Opportunity grant (  

Her work has been written about in Sculpture Magazine (Dec. 2001) ( , ArtNews (Jan. 2003) (, and is also included in “Playa Works: The Myth of the Empty”, by William L. Fox, University of Nevada Press, 2002. (