All of the Suddens
Northern White Rhino Brought to Life at PGC
October 5 - January 22, 2019
It happened so fast. What can I do now? A new exhibition by Seattle glass artist Kelly O’Dell opens at PGC on Friday, October 5.
"All of the Suddens" is an exploration of existence and extinction, of preservation and decay. Inspired by the changing of the seasons in the Pacific Northwest after growing up in the perpetual summer of the Hawaiian Islands, O’Dell’s work shines a light on the devastating impact of the human race on species in the wild and embodies the Latin phrase “memento mori,” meaning “remember death.”
The focal point of the exhibit will be a piece entitled “Critical Masse.” Comprised of over 10 endangered species mounted on the wall in clusters, these “Ghost Animals” including the tiger, elephant, panda, rhino and more mimic hunting trophies displayed in a game room and are intended to highlight the 100 to 1,000 species that are lost per million per year, primarily due to human-caused habitat destruction and climate change.
Sudan, the last male Northern White Rhino who died in March 2018, is represented in this collection. His likeness appears ghostly white and incorporates a mirrored element. When people see the sculpture of Sudan and take a close look, they will be able to see themselves reflected.
“I want us to be able to see ourselves in him, not to feel blame for his extinction but to feel a sense of responsibility,” said O’Dell.
In an effort to inspire daily habits that are forward-thinking and environmentally-mindful, O’Dell seeks to bring attention to the transience and vulnerability of the earth and all who live upon it through the fragility and translucency of the glass used to create the ghost-like animal heads.
”It’s how I feel when I realize that happened so fast. The last male Northern White Rhino is gone and it happened in my lifetime, all of a sudden,” O’Dell said when referring to the title “All of the Suddens."
This exhibition is presented in partnership with Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium and the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.
Kelly O'Dell's residency and exhibition are supported, in part, by the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass.