Devon Oder

January 23–March 8, 2015

Devon Oder’s photographic works explore landscapes and environments that exist at the intersection of the man-made and natural. Her work has been featured in exhibitions around the country, most recently Homing Pigeon, Gallery Lara, Tokyo and Chasm of the Supernova at The Eagle Rock Center for the Arts; Los Angeles, CA. This is Oder’s third solo exhibition with Fourteen30 Contemporary. Oder is a MFA graduate of the Art Center college of Design in Pasadena, California, and the co-founder of the new creative exhibition space The Pit in Glendale, CA.

The work presented in Vivarium explores Oder’s recent investigations into natural environments sculpted and constructed through human intervention. In conjunction with Vivarium, Fourteen30 Contemporary and The Pit have co-published a comprehensive précis featuring selected works by Oder and a commissioned essay by Gladys-Katherina Hernando, entitled “An Anthropology of Images.” The précis is available at the gallery and by request.

In an excerpt from her essay “An Anthropology of Images,” Hernando writes:

“In the collection of photographs by Devon Oder that are presented as the series titled Vivarium – literally a place where life is kept, as if a womb – Oder simultaneously captures the collision of nature, man, and the complex, unspoken relationships between them. Primarily through landscapes, she documents a variety of ancient and contemporary locations of which she examines using the logic of anthropology, patterns which allow for the study of humankind based on its remnants. Rather than considering the photograph as a literal document or recording of a place, Oder presents images that are animated by perception and experience. Her images resemble nomads, they are records of the rare and genuine places that she encounters in the search for the ineffable and the symbolic. They tow the line between fact and fiction in order to expose the interconnectedness of human experience, the real, and the spiritual that is found in the secret places of the psyche and the imagination. In her photographs, Oder seeks to captures the imprint of mankind while also exposing its inevitable failure. Sometimes these spaces represent the fine balance of perceived control or depict the potential and inevitable failure to control. They capture the desire of man to make a mark on the world and acknowledge that this desire is linked to the natural impermanence of life as a whole. Though figures do not appear in her work, they are ever present in her images. Oder retains a connection to the human body through the permanence of the mark, harnessing spirits through absence. These pictures that realize different types of bodies, ones that are ancestral, long past, and frozen in a precarious moment and place that might not exist for much longer or perhaps has already disappeared. The places appear to be alien, as if being seen for the first time. Her impossible landscapes depict the dependency that all forms of life carry and many times deny. Oder targets specific aspects of the image that allows for a reading of the work that opens from the microcosm to the macrocosm.”

Gladys-Katherina Hernando is a Los Angeles-based independent curator. She has curated exhibitions in Berlin, Los Angeles, and online at Light & Wire Gallery. Her writing has appeared in the Art Book Review, East of Borneo, San Francisco Arts Quarterly, monographic catalogues, and other publications.