Meet the Artist

Woody De Othello releases new edition, our glass, 2023, with Artspace and RxART

Woody De Othello releases new edition, our glass, 2023, with Artspace and RxART
Woody De Othello - our glass, 2023. Photograph by Rich Lomibao

For Woody De Othello, the home is alive. Like Salvador Dalí, Marcel Duchamp, or Felix Gonzalez-Torres before him, much of Othello’s fantastically engaging, thought-provoking work is situated in a domestic realm, anthropomorphizing the space we’re in, or a mundane everyday object we interact with; a telephone here, a clock or light switch there.

“I feel like those small everyday objects hold a lot of life metaphors,” he tells Artspace. “Right now my work is about representation, looking at everyday objects and transmuting them to have style and character and emotion.”


WOODY DE OTHELLO - our glass, 2023  (print)

Woody De Othello - our glass, 2023, (print). Archival pigment print with screen-printed fluorescent varnish on Entrada Rag Bright White 290 gsm 23 x 17 inches Edition of 30 plus 2 APs and 1PP Signed and numbered by the artist on verso $1,500 - photograph Rich Lomibao. Courtesy of the artist, Jessica Silverman, and Karma.


Othello also adores–and is very good at–color. The brighter the better, in fact. “Colors communicate so much. They set a mood. I feel like there are certain colors that affect your energy. They’re a healing thing. I’m intuitively attracted to brighter colors. It’s not often I wear all black.”

These elements of the Oakland-based artist’s multifaceted practice are strongly embedded in the new edition, our glass, 2023, which he’s created for Artspace and the New York-based non-profit RxART who, longtime Artspace readers will know, put great art into children’s hospitals.

This two-pronged edition includes a run of 35 fluorescent print editions, five of which are accompanied by handmade ceramic sculptures.


WOODY DE OTHELLO - our glass, 2023, (print and ceramic)

Woody De Othello - our glass, 2023, (print and ceramic). Archival pigment print with screen-printed fluorescent varnish on Entrada Rag Bright White 290 gsm 23 x 17 inches and stoneware, white slip, glaze, and mother of pearl luster Edition of 5 plus 1 AP and 1 FP Ceramic size: 4.5" L x 3.25" W x 1.5" D Signed and numbered on reverse $5,000 - photograph Rich LomibaoCourtesy of the artist, Jessica Silverman, and Karma.


Our glass, 2023, depicts a characteristically domestic scene, emboldened by Othello’s inclusion of dramatic plantlife, another key motif in his work.

“The print is about community, or close friends, gathering. I was thinking a lot about summer approaching and the energy of having friends over. The flowers are blossoming, and glasses are on the table. Things are ready to get poured. So that shared space is in the energy of this print.”

Othello says the inclusion of the flora in the work is a metaphor for caregiving.

“Plants give you an express version of life, the way that they go through their life cycle. It’s a kind of microcosm of our life cycle - being born and rebirthed and the different changes that occur throughout the years. I like that as a metaphor for the human experience. They help you to appreciate and to think about things more.”

“I always realize I’m stressing out if I’ve neglected my plants,” he tells Artspace. “They’re like, ‘Dude you’re not feeding or paying attention to me!’” 


Five editions are accompanied by handmade glazed stoneware sculptures stoneware, white slip, glaze, and mother-of-pearl luster - photograph Rich LomibaoCourtesy of the artist, Jessica Silverman, and Karma.


Born in Miami to Haitian immigrants, Othello settled in the Bay Area of San Francisco in 2015. He holds an MFA from the California College of Arts, San Francisco and a BFA from Florida Atlantic University.

His bold, bright, beautiful sculptures have put a contented smile on the faces of critics, curators and art lovers alike at Frieze, the Whitney Biennial, and Art Basel Miami.

He has exhibited at Karma in the East Village, New York, T293 in Rome, and London’s Hayward Gallery on the Southbank.

His electric-yellow box fan sculpture was a hit with Art Basel Miami visitors in 2019, and his work has been added to the permanent collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

In February 2022 at Frieze, LA his 10-foot installation of interlocking water spigots was displayed at the fair’s entrance; and in April of that year he debuted five ceramic vessels with hands at the Whitney Biennial.

His work also features in the permanent collections of ICA, Miami; SFMOMA, San Francisco; Seattle Art Museum; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; San José Museum of Art, CA; John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI; and MAXXI National Museum of 21st Century Art, Rome, Italy, and many more. He is represented by Jessica Silverman, San Francisco; KARMA, New York; and Stephen Friedman, London.


Woody De Othello signing our glass, 2023 - photograph Rich LomibaoCourtesy of the artist, Jessica Silverman, and Karma.


In 2018, Othello was commissioned by the San Francisco Arts Commission to create a permanent outdoor installation at the airport. Othello says it’s surreal to be part of a collection that he used to be fascinated by.

“That’s something I’m still processing. I was at the airport last year, going to London, and I got to see that commission again for the first time since it was installed, and it was an out of body experience. It’s wild.”

Although he’s renowned for both his paintings and his sculptures, the Artspace edition actually marks the first time he’s combined the two disciplines.

“I feel like the sculptural element of the light switch is a recurring motif in my work. It’s one of those objects that holds a lot of meaning for me. It’s a reference toward light. Light is a positive force; light is a healing force like the sun, so it’s just a little nod to that. I wanted the print to feel optimistic, bright, and hopeful.”


Woody De Othello signing our glass, 2023 - photograph Rich LomibaoCourtesy of the artist, Jessica Silverman, and Karma.



Because there are so many things going on in Othello’s work, it’s sometimes easy to overlook the humor. One of the more unusual objects in his studio visitors have remarked on is a ceramic bust he calls Patty - named after mashed potato patties.

He admits humor is a big part of his character. “I’m joking 80 percent of the time, so it comes out in my artwork, whether I like it or not,” he has said in the past.

In keeping with this, the title of the edition, our glass, also comes with a wry smile.

“It’s a play on the word hourglass,” he tells Artspace. “I love punny titles. Sometimes they can be a little bit cheeky, but I feel like there’s something that brings about a sense of joy and light-heartedness in cheeky titles.”

“I thought it was appropriate for the context of the print, the context of what the print is trying to achieve, and also kind of borrowing from what the folks at RxART are doing.”

“I wanted all aspects of this piece to feel very light-hearted and positive and open. We’re just coming together to share a moment in time and share a couple of refreshments and hang out together.”


Woody De Othello - photograph Rich Lomibao

When he was making work for the Whitney Biennial in 2022, he was listening to Horace Silver’s "Song For My Father," alongside music by Alice Coltrane and Donald Byrd which he described at the time as “spiritual, spacey, huge, and universal, but intimate.”

This time around, an afro-futurism soundtrack provided positive inspiration.

“I was listening to a ton of jazz records, and a lot of Nigerian rock music, Eva Taylor, Tony Allen, there’s a revolutionary spirit to it, a strong Afro-centric energy which is really incredible.”

“Looking at African indigenous rituals and practices is a way for me to reclaim that ancestral healing, and to really pay homage to our ancestors in a way that’s not just about the suffering that took place.”

“It’s becoming important to me to not characterise the ideas that I have. Just go with them. There’s no hierarchy in the way I approach things.

“Art is very constructive in that way. It’s a blessing that people are connecting with the work and wanting to spend time with the work. I feel very fortunate. I have a lot of gratitude for the opportunity to wake up every day and to have the propensity to make art at the capacity that I’m making it.”


Woody De Othello signing our glass, 2023 - photograph Rich LomibaoCourtesy of the artist, Jessica Silverman, and Karma.


You can see more of the two edition versions of our glass, 2023, here. The edition marks Artspace’s third collaboration with New York-based nonprofit RxART . Proceeds from sales of the editions support RxART ’s mission to help children heal through the extraordinary power of visual art. RxART commissions established contemporary artists to transform children's hospitals into engaging and inspiring healing environments full of beauty, humor, and comfort at no cost to the hospitals. RxART has completed 56 projects with 65 artists in almost 40 hospitals across 20 cities in the U.S. since it first launched in 2000. Find out more here. 


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