Austin artist, Jennifer Odem, created mixed media sculptures for an exhibition titled Opened Ground on view at Women & Their Work. Ms. Odem stated, “My current work explores feminine and masculine aspects of the earth related to natural and artificial land formations … these sculptures aim to assimilate some of the varied qualities and formations that make up the earth.” Odem explored the interrelationship between human agency and the natural world in her sculptural works by combining organic and industrial materials into self -sufficient structures. She strove to present connections between a now-forgotten reverence for the land and present-day interpretations.
Writer Alison Smith, the Senior Program Curator at the Tate Gallery in London explained, “Odem explores the land as an environment that is separate from culture but also receptive to human intervention and appropriation. Despite appearing contradictory, even absurd, her works are ultimately respectful of systems, relationships and locations.”
Odem’s work communicates on both a physical and metaphorical level, the intermixing of different cultural elements makes her sculpture resistant to one interpretation. Such divergent associations invite contradictory readings for the viewer.