September 07

UNIVERSAL & SUBLIME: THE VESSELS OF MAGDALENE ODUNDO

The High Museum of Art is pleased to present an extraordinary group of terracotta vessels and related works by Magdalene Odundo (British, born Kenya, 1950). This exhibition traces the trajectory of Odundo’s work over the course of three decades, from its genesis in the early 1980s through her most recent innovations, including new works created especially for the exhibition.

Over the years, Odundo’s art has become immediately recognizable for its distinctive, sensuous forms. Her ceramics synthesize artistic traditions ranging from Greek and Roman pottery, to Elizabethan costumes, to the art of modern masters Henri Matisse and Amedeo Modigliani, to the spherical vessels African women have made throughout the centuries to carry and store water.

Odundo builds her vessels by hand and often fires them repeatedly, which results in colors ranging from bright, bold orange to smoky, iridescent black. Rather than glazing her pots, Odundo uses an ancient method called terra sigillata. She coats the pieces in colloidal slip (refined, watered-down clay) and burnishes them after firing to achieve smooth, polished surfaces. This exhibition presents Odundo’s ceramics alongside some of the artist’s works on paper, including sketchbooks she made while visiting the High Museum of Art in 1991 and 2011.

TEXT: Courtesy of http://www.high.org

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