Offramp Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition, Where Am I Today? Self Portraits by Jayme Odgers, from December 6, 2015 - January 3, 2016. There will be an opening reception for the artist on Sunday, December 6 from 2-5pm and a closing reception on Sunday, January 3 from 2-5pm.
A few months ago, a series of striking self-portraits began to appear on Facebook. The subject, Jayme Odgers, was no stranger to me. Indeed, Offramp Gallery had shown his work in the past. But this work was different – emotionally raw self-portraits with a complete lack of artifice or conceit. It seemed as if Jayme were on a deep search for basic existential meaning. And it wasn't just me -- many others on Facebook were responding excitedly to the self-portraits as well, as evidenced by the rapidly rising number of "likes." Intrigued, I contacted Jayme and went to his studio to see what was going on.
Everything fell into place as Jayme explained to me that he was battling a life-threatening illness and dealing with the accompanying storm of emotions by making art. In Odgers' own words:
“The self-portraits are divided into two categories: pre-surgery and post-surgery. My conceit in doing them comes from suddenly facing a serious, life-threatening illness. From the shock of the initial diagnosis and subsequent surgery, I felt the need to visually track my progress in a manner that I, as an artist, could best understand—by drawing myself. How am I really feeling on any particular day?
"My titles are not the matter-of-fact titles of traditional self-portraits, like Self Portrait With Green Chair. They are titles that reveal a specific and deep emotional source—Shock, Turmoil or Doubt. My experience of my medical condition seems better described in pictures rather than words. Each self-portrait starts with the questions, “Where am I today? Am I improving?” In the process of drawing, my state of being is revealed to me.
"Periodically drawing myself and exploring a deeper presence within allows me the opportunity to not only look searchingly into how am I doing on a particular day, it also provides me a visual history so I can see my progress over time.”
Jayme Odgers is a painter and graphic designer. With a B.A. from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, Jayme is the recipient of numerous awards including a Fulbright Scholarship to Switzerland and over one hundred awards of excellence in graphic design. He was also selected to create an official poster for the 1984 XXIIIrd Olympiad held in Los Angeles along with such distinguished artists as David Hockney, Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein, Jonathan Borfosky, and John Baldessari.
Jayme has successfully taught at many renowned art departments in the Los Angeles area including Art Center College of Design, California Institute of the Arts and Otis College of Art and Design. At the invitation of the Tokyo Gakuin, he has recently toured Japan as a guest speaker, lecturing in Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka.
In addition to his studio practice Jayme also has completed a public art commission designing two water fountains for the Metropolitan Water District's Headquarters Building at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles. Numerous books and articles have included Odgers' work, most significantly: The 20th Century Poster, Design of the Avant Garde (Abbeville Press, New York); and POSTMODERISM, Style and Subversion 1970–1990 at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London 2012. His work is included in the latest Dictionary of Graphic Design and Designer by Thames & Hudson and Megg's History of Graphic Design.
His work has been exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum, The San Francisco Museum of Art, Arco Center for the Visual Arts, The Albright Knox Museum, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, and The Victoria & Albert Museum, London, England, with inclusion in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt Museum in New York City and The White House in Washington, D.C.
Jayme Odgers lives and works in downtown Los Angeles.