Northern White Rhino Brought to Life at PGC 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…
Pittsburgh Glass Center welcomed Kelly O'Dell as artist in residence in 2018. Her 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.” Her residence resulted in a new exhibition at PGC called, "All of the Suddens" on view October 5, 2018 to January 22, 2019.
The focal point of the exhibit is an installation 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."
Kelly also worked closely with Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium and the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy to present this exhibition and associated programs.
About Kelly O'Dell
Kelly O’Dell was born in Seattle in 1973, raised in Hawai’i, and now lives in the Pacific Northwest. When she was very young, her artistic parents made their living using stained glass, furnace glass, and pressed flowers. While seeking her college education years later, Kelly discovered glass as her primary focus at the University of Hawai’i. The program offered her many opportunities to study at Pilchuck Glass School, and she eventually relocated there as a member of the William Morris Winter Crew. Her work mainly explores themes of extinction, preservation, and human impact on the natural world. She resides in Stanwood, WA with her husband Raven Skyriver and their 7 year-old son Wren.