SEPTEMBER is pleased to present Odessa Straub’s second solo exhibition with the gallery, There’s my chair I put it there, opening Saturday, November 23, 2019, running through January 12, 2020. The exhibition is a culmination of mixed media paintings and sculptures created within the last year.
Fictionalized narratives are derived both from the artist’s own personal history and a persistent cultural unease. Odessa’s ability to embrace human fallibility without attributing blame injects a stark and empathetic humanity into her subjects. Loose figures project transitory states of ease, drift, suspension, and dissolution, serving as stand-ins for the viewer. Ultimately, what binds Odessa’s work together is an underbelly of hope—here most present in the form of actual life. Braced by human-scale structures and requiring care, glass tanks are filled with cultivated water and living plants. There’s my chair and I put it there is an activation of individual space and an incantation of collective humanity.
This room is humid with an ambiance of electrical whirring and water churning. It smells like cooking and a cat. It’s my house and I live here. There’s my chair I put it there.* My plant corner is delineated by the pink glow of a UV light that hangs from the ceiling.
I grew up in and currently live in a home that has objects staged in vignettes. This house has custom furniture for each iteration of my persona, cradling and positioning my body to communicate all of the shades of my character, to show the reality of it through the totality of my real and theoretical collections of things. My apartment is infested with moths that love my late great aunt’s sable stole. I have come to figure that the only way for me to successfully wear it the way I want is to take a page from my one-time neighbor’s book and shakily circle my mouth repeatedly with red lipstick completely ignoring the boundaries of my lips. There is this dichotomy of inclusion: It’s the pelt, the absence of an animal, literally an empty animal vessel, an empty fish tank. It is an animal; it is the opposite of an animal. Either way it points to a living thing.
There is cruelty and some sort of blasphemy in throwing away something that is alive. I tortured a large trash-rescued palm tree with a slow death in this second floor apartment lit by a narrow airshaft. It is now a shriveled stump on the roof with dried palm fronds laid in my studio as a reminder. Plant Corner has a hardy little crew of houseplants with ambiguous origins. An intercepted gift-beta-fish sparked an obsession with aquariums. Two small teardrop tanks hang from the ceiling and a large rectangular tank sits on a side table. I don’t think I want children.
People seem to believe fish die spontaneously all the time and that the occasion does not suggest an inability to foster life. When the canary in the mine dies, it marks the crossing of a line. We realize we have reached the limit of the amount of toxicity we can tolerate in our environment.
The small hanging fish tanks in Plant Corner dangle from the ceiling like oxygen masks on a plane. Vessels containing water, bacteria, algae, plants, a sample of the primordial ooze. Living water placed in the arm of this chaise lounge so that your hand dips into it, relaxed, receiving dialysis for the humors. All the basic activities of life occur in water filled cells bounded by water, tiny containers whose insides are remnants of the seas. ** Fostering life in this domestic space, they exist as a testament to my ability to nurture. Tenuously proving that yes I did put my mask on myself and even remembered to put one on the child next to me.
*Diana Ross, It’s My House, written by Diana Ross, composed and produced by Ashford & Simpson, released by Motown, 1979
** Peter Godfrey-Smith, Other Minds/The Octopus, The Sea, and The Deep Origins of Consciousness, by Peter Godfrey-Smith, published by William Collins, 2016
Odessa Straub (b. 1989, Brooklyn, NY) graduated with a BFA from The Cooper Union (2013). Solo exhibitions include, Puss Palace Panic Room, Cooper Cole, Toronto, Canada (2019); Migrating Contents, ALAC, Los Angeles, CA (2018), Tennis Elbow, The Journal Gallery, Brooklyn, NY (2017); Real Puss Technologies, SEPTEMBER, Hudson, NY (2017); Odessa Straub, NADA, NY (2017); Tears in Housebreaking Letting the Gold, Acappella, Napoli, Italy (2016); Necrotizing Woos, Jeffrey Stark, New York, NY (2016); Seasonings on Precipice Perception, Mier Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (2015). Two and three person exhibitions include, Jaywalkers: Eddie Martinez, Rafael Delacruz, and Odessa Straub, Loyal Gallery, Stockholm, Switzerland (2019); Viewing Room: Agathe Snow and Odessa Straub, Marlborough Contemporary, Chelsea, NY (2017). Group exhibitions include, Yellow, SEPTEMBER, Hudson, NY (2019), Inflatable Dolls, Women’s History Museum at Springsteen Gallery, Baltimore, MD (2019); Peanuts, Eighteen Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark (2019); NADA Miami, Cooper Cole (2018); Simili Stone, organized by Jacques Vidal, LA KAJAE, Brooklyn, New York (2018); night walk, Inman Gallery, Houston, Texas (2018); Summerfest, curated by Lauren Taschen, Max Hetzler, Berlin, Germany (2017); Fresh Cuts, Eric Firestone, Hamptons, NY (2016); Blue Jean Baby, SEPTEMBER, Hudson, NY (2016); Perfect Present: Three Generations of Painting, Jeffrey Stark, New York, NY (2015); Present Conditional, Mier, Los Angeles, CA (2015); That’s The Neighbor, Always Dressing These Boulders In The Yard, The Suzanne Geiss Company, New York, NY (2014); In 2019, Odessa’s zine is published by innen, Zürich, Switzerland, and is carried by Printed Matter. She was selected for the studio residency program at Art Cake, Brooklyn, NY, founded by Cordy Ryman and Ethan Ryman. Odessa Straub lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
For more information, please visit the gallery, browse septembergallery.com, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.