ExhibitionsUniversal and Sublime: The Vessels of Magdalene Odundo
Past Exhibition

Universal and Sublime: The Vessels of Magdalene Odundo

June 24 – October 15, 2017


Magdalene Odundo (British, born Kenya, 1950)
Vessel Series II, no.1, 2005–2006
Burnished and carbonized terracotta.
Maxine and Stuart Frankel Foundation for Art, Bloomfield Hills, MI.

The High Museum of Art is pleased to present an extraordinary group of terracotta vessels and related works by Magdalene Odundo (British, born Kenya, 1950). This exhibition traces the trajectory of Odundo’s work over the course of three decades, from its genesis in the early 1980s through her most recent innovations, including new works created especially for the exhibition.

Over the years, Odundo’s art has become immediately recognizable for its distinctive, sensuous forms. Her ceramics synthesize artistic traditions ranging from Greek and Roman pottery, to Elizabethan costumes, to the art of modern masters Henri Matisse and Amedeo Modigliani, to the spherical vessels African women have made throughout the centuries to carry and store water.

Odundo builds her vessels by hand and often fires them repeatedly, which results in colors ranging from bright, bold orange to smoky, iridescent black. Rather than glazing her pots, Odundo uses an ancient method called terra sigillata. She coats the pieces in colloidal slip (refined, watered-down clay) and burnishes them after firing to achieve smooth, polished surfaces. This exhibition presents Odundo’s ceramics alongside some of the artist’s works on paper, including sketchbooks she made while visiting the High Museum of Art in 1991 and 2011.

Universal and Sublime: The Vessels of Magdalene Odundo is organized by the High Museum of Art, Atlanta.
This exhibition is made possible by

Major Funding

Contributing Exhibition Series SupportersBarbara and Ron Balser, Corporate Environments, Peggy Foreman, James F. Kelly Charitable Trust, Jane Smith Turner Foundation, The Lubo Fund, Margot and Danny McCaul, Joyce and Henry Schwob
Generous support is also provided byAlfred and Adele Davis Exhibition Endowment Fund, Anne Cox Chambers Exhibition Fund, Barbara Stewart Exhibition Fund, Dorothy Smith Hopkins Exhibition Endowment Fund, Eleanor McDonald Storza Exhibition Endowment Fund, Forward Arts Foundation Exhibition Endowment Fund, Helen S. Lanier Endowment Fund, Howell Exhibition Fund, John H. and Wilhelmina D. Harland Exhibition Endowment Fund