MARCH - MAY 2012
In the Fresno Art Museum Patnership Gallery:
Dos Amantes: The artwork of Adolf and Ella Odofer  
Guest-curated by Phil Bowers
 
Guest-curator Phil Bowers has assembled a collection of artwork by  internationally-acclaimed potter-sculptor Adolf Odorfer and his wife Ella.  In addition to a handful of familiar ceramic pieces, this exhibit also unveils dozens of works that the art community never knew existed.    Among these are several sketches of the bustling streets of Fresno in the late 1930s and early 1940s.
About the artists:

Adolf Odorfer followed a long and winding road to his artistic destiny. Born in Austria, Odorfer studied ceramics in Vienna, before emigrating to Brazil in the 1920s. He worked, briefly, designing pottery in Sao Paulo, then, set off on a cross-continental odyssey, lasting several years, which eventually took him to Tlaquepaque, Mexico in 1932. The resourceful Odorfer did a bit of everything along the way, cooking, herding goats, even dabbling in medicine.
In Tlaquepaque, Odorfer resumed ceramic work at the Arte Azteca pottery studio, where he met his future wife, Ella Moen, an art professor at Fresno State College in California, who was studying Mexican folk art. Odorfer followed Ella back to Fresno in 1935, set up a potter’s wheel and kiln, taught ceramics at the college (as well as false-teeth modeling to pre-dental students!) and made California his home.
Thanks to the untiring efforts of his wife, Odorfer became internationally known for his distinctive, sculptural-ceramic works in a Picasso-like, Mexican-Pre-Columbian style. A 24-foot metal statue of two cubistic figures embracing, designed by Odorfer, now stands in the Mariposa Mall in Downtown Fresno.
Ella and Adolf Odorfer were the perfect couple, totally dedicated to art-making and teaching. Their house in a forested plot in Fresno was more a museum-studio than living space, decorated on the outside with primitive white line figures and totemic sculptures. California Artist Phil Bowers, who curated exhibitions of Odorfer's work, often visited the widower artist in his later years, and found he had to navigate his way between wall-to-ceiling artifacts, collectibles, and Odorfer art pieces!
Odorfer was not religious in any conventional sense, but sacred themes often appear in his work. He told Bowers he liked Bible Stories for their “archetypal content and movement.” 
Odorfer was known for being a "compulsive sketcher."  He grabbed whatever slips of paper were at hand in moments of inspiration and made drawings on the backs of envelopes, military medical forms, and mimeographed letters.   


Ella Odorfer died in 1986, and her husband Adolf passed nine years later.