January 17 – March 31 / 2019
Bulldog 27: Batting Helmet, 2018. Leather, paint, face guard. Courtesy of the artist
Butchcraft is the
preferred term Betsy Odom (American, b. 1980) uses to describe her subversion
of traditional craft practices. Utilizing skills ranging from leather tooling,
woodworking and ceramics to airbrushing, sewing, and metalworking, Odom creates
intricately crafted objects that appear functional, yet are purely aesthetic. She
embraces the tension created by familiar shapes and forms that are slightly off— a
mouth guard is precisely recreated in graphite or gym shorts are meticulously
crafted out of rigid leather. Odom employs techniques that are often associated
with masculinity and plays with stereotypical associations around gender,
sexuality, and sports.
The layout of Butchcraft
was designed by the artist to evoke memories of a garage or thrift store,
where objects are at once organized but randomly juxtaposed. Odom subtly
interjects humor through unexpected materials, visual jokes, and deliberately
invoking lesbian stereotypes. Her works challenge perceptions that craft is
decorative or lacking in conceptual rigor, and instead complicate how gender
and identity are projected onto materials, objects, and ideas.
Betsy Odom: Butchcraft
was curated by Julie Rodrigues Widholm, DePaul Art Museum Director and Chief
Curator, and Mia Lopez, Assistant Curator.