My work consists of bright, gooey and decrepit large scale sculptures and paintings that refer to forms such as amphoras, columns or arches. I am using these forms as a trope for our inherited western attitudes such as our perceptions of humanity and our role on the world. This includes the idealization of mankind and the desire to monopolize and control the natural world. This work is inspired by my own experience of looking at ancient ruins and artifacts and my feelings of both awe towards the triumphs of ancient civilization and terror of the violence and entitlement when reflecting on these histories. I am curious about how we can balance the duality of both celebrating the gift of being a human while also upholding the social and environmental responsibility that comes with it.
In my work, I am trying to disrupt the idealization of these forms and mankind through my use of exuberant color, non-sacred material and natural processes, such as weathering, deteriorations, morphing, crumbling, oozing or pooling. Bright color is my interpretation of the flamboyant expression of human impulses, longings and vigor. My non-sacred material choices, such as styrofoam, acrylic paint, plaster and ceramic reflect both the human exploitation of nature to produce these materials and the detriment to nature to decompose them.
Many of the works are made using casting, meaning they originate from a single mold. With each rendition, I am able to play with mutation, regeneration, repatching and reworking that occurs beyond my control throughout the process. The casting process is a method which I consider our inherited qualities, our connection to the past and our potential for change. This work is motivated by my own existential quest to orient myself in the present day with what it means to come from a western lineage, how to sit with the dualities of being a human and to consider potential for positive change in the midst of threats such as wars, plagues and global warming.
Courtney I. Odell is a painter and sculptor from Seattle, Washington. She received her BFA in 2015 from Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA. Using artifact, monument, bright colors and household material, Odell’s work investigates and critiques the idealism of mankind. She will be receiving her masters from California College of the Arts in May of 2020.