37 PRESIDENTS — prints by Lara Odell

Opening Reception Saturday, July 29, 2006 from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m.  Exhibition runs through September 15, 2006

Opening in the FLUX Gallery will be an exhibition by California photographer Lara Odell, a 2003 Exhibition Award winner, entitled 37 Presidents. These digital portraits of the American presidents from Washington to Nixon offer a view into contemporary mass-produced representation. These small, plastic figurines were created during the Nixon era and were sold in U.S. supermarkets as either a promotional keepsake or an educational toy for children and adults alike. With 37 Presidents, Odell is interested in the history of the portrait. The first portraits—the figurines themselves—were cheaply produced and somewhat poorly crafted. Although intended to be “fine art prints” on heavy archival paper, the portraits also utilize a technology that was designed for mass-production—digital printmaking. Odell says of the project, “In comparing the two processes of portraiture, my project can be seen as an extension of the first; however, I am interested in exaggerating the questions associated with the first portraits. For example, under what circumstances did these come to exist? What appeal did they have and do they have now? How does mass-produced portraiture affect or even make the subject?”

Odell has exhibited at the Robert Beck Memorial Cinema in New York City; the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art in Memphis, TN; the Kala Art Gallery in Berkeley, CA; the Silverlake Film Festival in Hollywood, CA; RAID Projects in Los Angeles, CA; Ladyfest Midwest, Chicago, IL; the Albright-Knox Art Museum, Buffalo, NY; Centro de Desarrollo de las Artes Visuales (CDAV) in Habana Viejo, Cuba; The Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, China; The Lux, London, England; the Festival of Actual Kino, Novosibirsk,  Russia, where she and Anya Lewin won the “Best Folklore Experiment” for their modern fable, Grandma Baba and Little Boris; and online, in the magazine How2: Contemporary Innovative Writing By Women. Odell has a BFA from Alfred University, and an interdisciplinary MAH in Media Study and English (Poetics Program) from SUNY Buffalo. She is currently working on an MFA in Studio Art at UC Irvine.