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Hood Museum of Art
Dartmouth College
Hanover, NH 03755

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Press Release


Magdalene Odundo, Vessel Series III, no. 3, 2005–6, red clay, carbonized and multi-fired. Collection of the artist. Courtesy of Anthony Slayter-Ralph.

June 21, 2007
Sharon Reed, Public Relations Coordinator
(603) 646-2426 

Hood Highlights Ceramicist Magdalene Odundo

HANOVER, N.H. -- The Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College announces Resonance and Inspiration, an exhibition of recent vessels and drawings by Magdalene Odundo. One of the most highly regarded ceramic artists today, Odundo is represented in major national and private collections worldwide and is renowned for her beautifully restrained ceramic forms. Organized by the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art, University of Florida, the exhibition will be on view from June 30 through October 14, 2007 and features Odundo's smooth and often perfectly symmetrical vessels. Through her art, Odundo explores the recurrent and celebrated theme of the vessel as a metaphor for the human body. These highly nuanced vessels have only hints of human features, yet suggest vital, animate beings. They evoke varied and colorful iconographies such as cinch-waisted Victorian women, African women with flaring hairdos, and pregnant women. Other vessel shapes recall the forms of gourds, horns, or other containers that are used to hold nourishing liquids, medicines, and sacred offerings for spirits and deities in many traditional cultural contexts. Still others, drawing on the aesthetic of mould-made wares or the crisply defined contours of metalwork, remind us of the many instances when clay has been used to imitate metals and other materials throughout history. Her lustrous thin-walled vessels, which are hand-built, are so difficult to make that she completes only a few each year.

Odundo was born in Kenya in 1950 and moved to England in 1973 to study art. She presently lives and teaches in Surrey. Over the course of her career, Odundo has worked with traditional women potters in Kenya and Nigeria, and with Pueblo potters of the American Southwest. Throughout her life, she has intensively studied ceramics of Asia, the Americas, and the Mediterranean. Informed by many of the world's ceramic traditions, Odundo has appropriated, hybridized, and abstracted selected elements to forge her own idiomatic style. She has exhibited her work all over the world including the British Museum, the Victoria & Albert Museum, The Fowler Museum, The National Museum of African Art, and the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, among others.

"Clay is a simple substance with a complex structure that plays havoc without and within our kilns, keeping us guessing and daring us to change its natural composition . . . And for all its challenging attributes, this 'clay' is still by far the most naturally seductive material to create, mould, model, carve, sculpt, and make objects with," states Odundo.

The artist will present a lecture about her work on Wednesday, July 18, at 5:30 p.m. in the Arthur M. Loew Auditorium. This exhibition was organized by the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art, University of Florida and made possible by the Harn Program Endowment. Its presentation at the Hood Museum of Art is generously funded by the William B. Jaffe and Evelyn A. Hall Fund. An illustrated catalogue is available in the Hood Museum Shop.

About the Hood

The Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College is an accredited member of the American Association of Museums (AAM) and is cited by AAM as a national model. The Hood is located in the heart of downtown Hanover, N.H., in an award-winning building designed by Charles Moore. The museum's outstanding and diverse collections include American portraits, paintings, watercolors, drawings, silver, and decorative arts, European Old Master prints and drawings, paintings, and sculpture, and ancient, Asian, African, Oceanic, and Native American collections from almost every period in history to the present. The Hood regularly displays its collections and organizes major traveling exhibitions while featuring major exhibitions from around the country. The museum provides a rich diversity of year-round public programs.

Admission is free of charge. Operating hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, 12 noon to 5 p.m. The Hood Museum of Art Gift Shop offers items inspired by the collections and exhibitions. The Hood is wheelchair accessible and offers assistive listening devices. For further accessibility requests, please contact the museum.


Last Updated: 6/28/07