Inman Gallery is pleased to present Shaun O’Dell: More Love and the group exhibition I Won’t Let You Say Goodbye This Time, which includes work by Michael Jones McKean, Katrina Moorhead, Demetrius Oliver, Dario Robleto and Sigrid Sandström. Both exhibitions open on Friday, November 10, with a reception from 6-8pm, and continue through January 13, 2018.
At once investigations of surface and depth, representation and reality, Shaun O'Dell's newest body of works on paper are as much documents of broader philosophical inquiries as they are explorations of the physical and creative properties of volcanoes. The ten drawings included in More Love are part of a larger project and film titled At Last, in which two people travel along fault lines in Iceland, Greece, and California. Their pursuit of volcanoes charts a proposition about natural phenomena and authorship; that is, the project centers the volcano, with its earth-shaping eruptions as a formative progenitor of human concepts of meaning and representation. The volcano—and, by extension, the Earth—is a creative force.
"We are involved in these [geologic] processes, but also distanced from them," O'Dell says. In More Love, then, he pushes at the boundaries between these temporalities: the time of the human experience and the time of the shifting earth have their various speeds. In each, the momentum of change lends itself to narratives of emotional process, just at varying scales. Based on years of research on geologic time, water, and seismic and volcanic activity, the works might be understood as images of processes—both personal and geologic—as they unfold. More Love Two, for example, reads as a stratigraphic view of magma, a reflection on the relationship between volcanic activity and the movements of water as the origins of life on Earth, but it also reads as an abstract painting. In More Love Five, O'Dell overlaps various topographic silhouettes of volcanic forms, the repeating peaks and valleys divided by three horizontal lines. "The volcano produces a surface and a depth," he notes, suggesting a simultaneous relationship to abstractions of three-dimensionality. More Love Eight takes the specific outlines of the 1500 active volcanoes from around the world and describes them within a tightly choreographed rectangular shape, the tiny ink representations of volcanoes spiraling into a geometric form that vibrates in the viewer's eye, finding an uneasy tension between two- and three-dimensions.
Begun recently, as he was investigating the effects of the shift between the Pleistocene and Holocene eras during a trip to Iceland, O'Dell's volcano research sprang from his desire to understand the role volcanic activity has played in the production of the Earth's terrestrial surface and consequently the effect of deep geologic time on human consciousness. More Love Four, with its nod to the imagined spaces of Surrealist trompe-l'oeil, has a series of spidery lines emerging from the center of a deep gray square. These delicate white lines suggest a waterfall: behind it, the blackness of a solid block, and the edge of an iceberg-like blue protrusion. We see landscape forms in abstraction, as we see ourselves in clouds; the human and the natural orders are deeply intertwined, physically, psychologically, affectively, and productively, O'Dell reminds us.