Explorers Doing Exploring
This dream-like painting imagines bodies engaging in sexual acts with a landscape. The composition playfully explores the trope of triumphant explorers gazing, or even planting their flag, upon a conquered land. The work asks viewers to consider: what is this tendency to lay claim, and how can we shift our perspective on this behavior with humor and empathy?
The artist's painting uses an abstracted narrative language to articulate points of tension and unease. The artist begins each of her compositions with decisive subjects and actions, and then dispels them and their relationships within a dreamy realm. These elusive spaces often retain a single identifiable object, such as a chair, a window or a vessel. Other figures float in the picture plane, ungrounded and suspended in place with possibility.
Odessa Straub paintings articulate unease and points of tension through abstraction. Drawing from both her own personal history and a persistent cultural anxiety, the artist creates elusive spaces and dreamy realms where fictionalized narratives unfold. Embracing human fallibility, Straub’s work features loosely articulated figures that project transitory states—like drift, suspension and dissolution.
Odessa Straub was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1989. The artist received a BFA from the Cooper Union in New York City (2013) and is an MFA candidate at the Chicago Art Institute in Chicago, Illinois.
Solo exhibitions of Straub’s work include: Odessa Straub, with Jeffrey Stark at NADA in Miami, Florida; Puss Palace Panic Room at Cooper Cole in Toronto, Canada; Migrating Contents at ALAC in Los Angeles, California; Tennis Elbow at The Journal Gallery in Brooklyn, New York; Real Puss Technologies at SEPTEMBER in Hudson, New York; Odessa Straub at NADA in New York City; Tears in Housebreaking Letting the Gold at Acappella in Napoli, Italy; Necrotizing Woos at Jeffrey Stark in New York City; and Seasonings on Precipice Perception at Mier Gallery in Los Angeles, California.
Straub’s work has been shown in two and three-person exhibitions, including: Jaywalkers: Eddie Martinez, Rafael Delacruz and Odessa Straub at Loyal Gallery in Stockholm, Switzerland; and Viewing Room: Agathe Snow and Odessa Straub at Marlborough Contemporary in Chelsea, New York.
Group exhibitions that have shown Straub’s work include: Well/Being at University at Albany Art Museum in Albany, New York; Earthly at College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York; American Women, curated by Marie Maertens at La Patinoire Royale in Brussels, Belgium; Untitled at As It Stands in Los Angeles, California; Yellow at SEPTEMBER in Hudson, New York; Inflatable Dolls at the Women’s History Museum at Springsteen Gallery in Baltimore, Maryland; Peanuts at Eighteen Gallery in Copenhagen, Denmark; NADA with Cooper Cole in Miami, Florida; Simili Stone, organized by Jacques Vidal at LA KAJAE in Brooklyn, New York; night walk at Inman Gallery in Houston, Texas; Summerfest, curated by Lauren Taschen at Max Hetzler in Berlin, Germany; Fresh Cuts at Eric Firestone in Hamptons, New York; Blue Jean Baby at SEPTEMBER in Hudson, New York; Perfect Present: Three Generations of Painting at Jeffrey Stark in New York City; Present Conditional at Mier in Los Angeles, California; and That’s The Neighbor, Always Dressing These Boulders In The Yard at The Suzanne Geiss Company in New York, New York.
In 2019, Straub’s zine was published by innen (Zürich, Switzerland).
Straub’s work has been covered by various publications, including Artforum, where it was featured as a Critics' Pick, and a review in The Brooklyn Rail.
From 2019–2012, Straub was an artist-in-residence at Art Cake in Brooklyn, New York.
Straub lives and works in Brooklyn, New York and Chicago, Illinois.