Shaun O'Dell (b. 1968, Beeville, TX) creates drawings, videos, music, and sculpture that explore the intertwining realities of human and natural orders and critique the destructive nature of the American myth of manifest destiny. Since 2018, O’Dell has been exploring his own settler colonial family history as a lens through which to view the roots of modern-day issues of environmental and climatological change. Among other things, O’Dells work laments the pillaging of Native American land, peoples, and resources at the hands of colonial settlers, whose attitudes and perilous practices set the stage for subsequent generations of racialized oppression and environmental neglect. Drawing from this history, the artist tries to step into the eyes of his ancestors and see what they might have seen, and also what they were blind to, arriving amid the colonial devastation of the people and forests of the region.
Shaun O'Dell received a BA from the New College of California, San Francisco, in 2002 and an MFA from Stanford University in 2004. His work has been exhibited widely in the US and internationally. He has won numerous awards and honors including the Tournesol Award (2009, Headlands Center for the Arts), Diebenkorn Teaching Fellowship (2006, SF Art Institute), Artadia Award (2005, San Francisco) and The Fleishhacker Foundation Award in 2002 His work is included in a number of permanent collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, NY, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Bronx Museum of Arts, the de Young Museum, Berkeley Art Museum and the DESTE Foundation of Contemporary Art in Athens, Greece.
O'Dell lives and works in San Francisco, CA.