Double whistles, flower-adorned baseball mitts, baby blue satin-lined football pads; these hybrid sporting accessories suggest the softer, prettier, and more ambiguously sexual side of organized competitive games. In Sis Boom Bah, Betsy Odom investigates the possibility of organized sports as a way to defy social constructions of gender, identity and sexuality. Drawing from the tradition of extreme craft – or the mixing of craft techniques like leather tooling, airbrushing, and stitching with art formats of sculpture, painting or drawing – Odom produces objects that aim to subvert gender roles and question how we stereotype queer culture. This merging of Americana and contemporary issues, much like her re-appropriation of materials, is a way to question the phenomenon of sameness and difference that pervades American society. The work calls attention to the notion that women can move past their social boundaries and blur the lines defining gender expectations. Sport is an appropriate venue for this because, according to Odom, “no one is really watching in the big scheme of things, so women can behave in sometimes shockingly and inspiringly un-ladylike ways.” Odom presents us with organized sports as a realm in which gender defiance is encouraged and entertaining.
About Betsy Odom
Betsy Odom completed a Master of Fine Art degree in Sculpture at Yale University School of Art and has been the recipient of numerous awards and grants. Her work has been exhibited across the US since 2001, and has been the subject of solo exhibitions at venues such as Rudolph Projects and Lawndale Art Center in Houston (TX), and Barry Whistler Gallery in Dallas (TX) . An exhibition of her work will be shown concurrently at ThreeWalls (Chicago) in May 2011. Betsy currently lives and works in Chicago, Illinois.