Eric O’Dell lives in Macon, Georgia, where he teaches art at
Mercer University along with being an instructor in the Great
Books and Philosophy and Art Study Abroad Programs.
He was previously a curator and the Director of Exhibitions and Collections at Macon's Museum of Arts and Sciences.
He maintains a rigorous studio life and his paintings and drawings are in several private and public collections.
For a long time I painted landscapes derived from places I had lived and visited in the American south. Not too long ago, while overseas, I began a series of drawings I call ‘light rubbings’ done from cast shadows. They are akin to texture rubbings, a two-dimensional version of plaster casts from the footprints of light and shadow. They are pinhole fingerprints in charcoal.
These drawings have pushed their way into and are influencing my painting.
The cast patterns of light and shadow, a lace curtain in a new studio, stencils, spray paint - these are folded into my work now.
I still play with observed images and am leaning more and more into improvisation. I worry less about how the paintings will turn out. I like painting things and enjoy the narrative pieces suggest to me while also being open the live and often unexpected processes of painting and composition. A piece used to be complete if it was a poignant echo of the world. Nowadays I’m ok if they turn out as surprises, somewhat weird or strange, as long as they stand on their own visual merit. I’m not sure what they mean, but I know they are as good as I can make them.