Shaun O'Dell


The paintings and drawings of Stanford University graduate Shaun O’Dell are rooted in autobiographical and historical narratives. The artist employs a complex iconography to investigate ideas of imperialism and nationalism as well as racism and environmental blunders that are often associated with America’s governing parties and social elite. Some of the visual icons found in the work are buffalos, bald eagles, liberty bells and skulls, all contained within flat, abstractly rendered landscapes. In the artist’s current exhibition with the James Harris Gallery in Seattle, O’Dell has created several ink and gouache drawings that contain a similar symbolic language as found in previous works. However, in this recent body of work, the artist has further developed the fictional narratives that attempt to recreate a new American story, casting greater light on societal conditions and their inherent consequences. O’Dell’s work has recently been acquired by the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and has been featured in “How to Build A Universe That Doesn’t Fall Apart Two Days Later,” a group show at the Watts Institute in San Francisco. In 2005, O’Dell became a recipient of the SECA Art Award from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and, in 2006, the artist exhibited with the Jack Hanley Gallery in Los Angeles.