Betsy Odom Fainting Goats

March 18, 2005 – April 30, 2005 Gracie R. Cavnar Gallery

Artist Statement

“This series is based on images of fainting goats, a breed of goats with a genetic condition that causes them to stiffen and “faint” when startled. My interest in the fainting goat stems from a fascination with the ways we as a species change the evolution of other species. Farmers originally bred fainting goats as a food source and a means of protecting sheep. With a fainting goat in the herd, if a predator threatened the sheep, the sheep could run away while the fainting goat fell over, providing the predator with an easy meal while the sheep escaped. In this way, farmers found an innovative yet somewhat cruel use for a condition that could not have thrived in nature alone.This work taps into both the wonder and chaos of our relationship to nature. The forms are awkward and sometimes ambiguous, pointing to an existence that could be interpreted as both sweet and garish. As well, their reflective-tape coating gives them an aire of commonality until the moments when they light up. It is during this temporary illumination that the fainting goats transcend their helplessness, and reflect a more dynamic presence. These sculptures illuminate the boundaries between nature and the man-made, humor and sadness, function and aesthetics. The fainting goats represent a stillness in the space between these dichotomies.”