Please Send Forsythia

Sarah Odens

February 25 – April 2, 2022

MSU Union Art Gallery

Sarah Odens is an artist, curator, and Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Exhibitions & Lectures at Auburn University, AL. She received her MFA with a concentration in painting from Michigan State University (2015), and her BA in Art and English from the University of Sioux Falls in Sioux Falls, SD (2012). After completing her MFA, she returned to Sioux Falls for a position as Assistant Curator of the Washington Pavilion Visual Arts Center, where she supervised docents and educational programming and was involved in mounting more than 45 exhibitions. In 2017, Odens was appointed Curator of the Visual Arts Center; she curated more than 25 exhibitions. In her creative research, Odens explores social media images and New Domesticity. Odens has exhibited her work throughout the Midwest at venues including the Sioux Falls Arts Council, and the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts in Grand Rapids, MI. Her work was featured in Studio Visit Magazine vol. 47 (2021). In Fall 2021, Odens was featured in a solo exhibition at Spring Hill College in Mobile, AL.

Sarah Odens, Floral Arrangement 8, Acrylic & Acrylic gouache on hardboard, 2021.

My paintings transform images of domestic perfection into abstracted musings on the joy and the futility of chasing that very perfection. As I paint, images of this tension between idealism and reality merge and melt into drips and dots of paint like confetti and snow. Humor, purpose, and pathos—by chance, accident, and some intent—inform droplets and smears of paint. Within my paintings, layers of marks form a palimpsest of artistic decisions. These marks, outside of my paintings, could appear untidy: flour spilled across the kitchen table, hot glue oozing from a clumsily executed project. An autumnal palette accentuates the fleeting nature of flawlessness and alludes to the potentially kitschy charm of seasonal décor. Bright pinks and yellows add levity to my exploration of trial and error, while dark shadows taunt aspirations of the ideal. Fragments from poems and online domestic sources filter into my work. Calligraphic letterforms shimmer on painted surfaces like wallpaper patterns. They conjure a diaristic space that alludes to the choices and expectations attendant on women in the shadow of competitive online domesticity-mania. My uneasy fascination with online domesticity—often false, rigid, staged, or idealized—permeates my paintings and speaks to the rough, undone edges of crumbling cakes and the dissolving fragments of floral arrangements.

Sarah Odens, Perfect for Getting the Hair Out of Your Face While Still Looking Adorable, Acrylic & Acryla gouache on hardboard, 2015. 35.75″ x 35.75″ x 0.9″.


Instagram: @sarahodens –