Baron and Ellin Gordon Art Galleries

Now On View

Jake McCord Gallery

Paintings from the Porch: Works by Jake McCord
On view Jan. 12 - May 4, 2024
Opening Reception: Jan. 11 at 6 p.m.

Jake McCord (1945 - 2009) of Thomson, Georgia grew up planting and picking crops on his family's farm. He later cut grass and drove a truck for that city, which recognized him as an exceptionally hard worker. In the mid-1980s McCord began to paint and took inspiration from his life and several television sets running simultaneously in his home. He installed paintings on his front porch for passersby to see and would allow them to be sold only after feeling they had been on view for the right amount of time. McCord described his depictions of people, animals, and scenes as jolly, which helped keep him company and which he hoped would help those who saw his work. This exhibition presents a number of those jolly paintings from the porch.

2024 Juried Student Exhibition

2024 Juried Student Exhibition
Opening Reception: February 29, 6 - 8 p.m.
On view: Mar. 1, 2024 - Apr. 6, 2024

Featuring artwork from students actively working in the ODU Art Department Studio Arts programs, and selected by a juror who is an active professional within the Visual Arts.

Recently On View

Feb. 3 - May 6, 2023

Sam Bartlett: Low Stakes, Plywood Cutouts & Everyday Comix

Opening Reception: Feb. 2, 6 - 8 p.m.

Sam Bartlett is an American folk artist, public-art instigator, cartoonist, performer, musician, and composer. 

As an artist, Sam specializes in painting and cutting sculptures from salvaged wood. He derives inspiration from the naturally low stakes involved in using free materials. 

Sam does virtually no planning or sketching for his artwork, preferring to try to harness the energy of a first take. Common themes in his work include complex physical relationships between people, things on top of other things, things being bitten and eaten, old-time and Irish music communities, and mortality. He has been strongly influenced by artists Peter Schumann, Howard Finster, and Gustav Vigeland.

2023 Juried Student Exhibition
Mar. 3 - Apr. 8

Opening Reception: Mar. 2, 6 - 8 p.m.

"In this exhibition of ODU's art students we can see an attention to material, a sensitivity towards ecology, and complex emotional registers. These works spin thread lines that tie to one another, engaging ideas of the self, environment, memories, commodities, shared anxieties, and longings. The work is looking outward at the broader world yet mediated through unique perspectives. Through this extreme interiority, we can see a sort of 'entangled precarity.' This phrase coined by anthropologist Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing explains the "open-ended assemblages of entangled ways of life" and particularly, the many ways we as humans live in vulnerability with one another and with non-human species. Chaos ensues all around us, evidenced by the extreme changes of climate, animal extinctions, and further spurned on by free-market capitalism. What we find despite these uncertainties is not a fragility, but a self-assertion. There is power in being vulnerable with each other. We can connect and create our own webs and networks of support the way these artists have done. These works seem to converse amongst themselves. In what ways do they speak to you?"

- Juror's statement by Chelsea Pierce, McKinnon Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Chrysler Museum of Art

Concrete Ocean

Concrete Ocean: Works by Leigh Merrill
On view Jan.12 through Feb 17, 2024
Opening Reception: Thursday, Jan. 11 at 6 p.m.

“Culling through thousands of individual photographs and videos I make of architecture and landscaping; I digitally assemble these sources to create my work. Some images have veracity, but more often, they suggest a visual hyperbole – an embellished scene circulating around a small object or detail. I am continually fascinated with photography’s ability to be evidence of existence – creating an image with seeming veracity – and simultaneously, a system to mediate and construct reality. I use photography to observe and then digitally combine my photographs to construct spaces that do not exist, allowing the creation of images that, through metaphor and illusion, reveal both the desire and simulacrum present around us and within photography itself.”

Gordon the Robot


Affectionately nicknamed "Gordon" after the art galleries' namesakes—Baron and Ellin Gordon—this innovative telepresence robot allows remote visits from around the world.

Gordon can move around the space, raise and lower height, and zoom in on art. The remote driver can interact live with staff in the galleries and also invite friends, colleagues, and students to join their visit.

Follow @oduarts on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for updates.

Proceeds support arts programming and educational opportunities at ODU.

Past Exhibitions


Muhammad Ansi, 2016, Untitled (Hands Holding Flowers through Bars), Acrylic on paper. 8.5 x 11 inches

Jan. 21 - May 7, 2022

Art from Guantánamo Bay

RESCHEDULED Opening Reception Jan. 27, 6 - 8 p.m.

Detainees at the United States military prison camp known as Guantánamo Bay have made art from the time they arrived. The Art from Guantánamo Bay exhibition features 101 of these evocative works, made by men held without trial, some for more than 15 years. The six artists include both current (Moath Al Alwi and Ahmed Rabbani) and former (Muhammad Ansi, Abdualmalik (Alrahabi) Abud, Sabri Al Qurashi, Mansoor Adayfi) detainees, none of whom have been charged with committing a crime.

Most pieces in the exhibition were taken from Guantánamo by the detainees' attorneys for this showing and following a laborious process of searching, scanning, and analysis for hidden messages by Guantánamo officials. A stamp reading "Approved by US Forces" signals that a work has been cleared, and the stamp's ink often bleeds through to the image on the other side, creating a ghostly mix of art and authority.

Art from Guantánamo Bay includes drawings and paintings as well as sculptures crafted with the few materials permitted to detainees, including model ships made from shirt scraps, prayer caps, razors, and mops. As former detainee Mansoor Adayfi explains in his New York Times essay "In Our Prison on the Sea," the sea "means freedom that no one can control or own, freedom for everyone." Although detainees were held close to the sea, tarps blocked their view until they were removed for four days in 2014 in anticipation of a hurricane; after that, Adayfi recalls, "all of those who could draw made drawings about the sea."

Follow @oduarts on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for forthcoming public programming.

DesignHer: Works by Contemporary Women Graphic Designers

Aug. 30 - Nov. 12, 2022

DesignHer: Works by Contemporary Women Graphic Designers

Closing Reception Nov. 10, 6 - 8 p.m.

DesignHer is an exhibition of contemporary graphic design focusing on women practitioners. Highlighting how women have been at the forefront of defining and challenging the conceptions of design, the exhibition presents a sampling of the various purposes design is put to in our culture and the motivations that prompted its use. Participants range from younger artists building a reputation to internationally renowned leaders in the discipline, and works range from individually crafted objects to mass media campaigns.


Apr. 28 - May 7, 2022

Best If Used By

Opening Reception Apr. 28, 6 - 8 p.m.

The Baron and Ellin Gordon Galleries present Best If Used By, an exhibition of works by the Spring 2022 graduating class of Bachelor of Fine Arts majors at Old Dominion University.

A work of art can last forever, yet every exhibition has an expiration date. As our time at ODU comes to an end, we are conscious of time passing, and can sometimes feel like items on a shelf. An expiration date is a reminder of our finiteness. Our wide variety of media, including paintings, photographs, drawings, and screen/ relief prints explores themes of nostalgia, personal development, and the experience of life itself. As we begin a new chapter, we encourage viewers to celebrate this transition.

Participating artists are:

  • Mylahn Parsons
  • Eric Smith
  • Roger Evans
  • Grace McCrery
  • Holly Castle
  • Emily Vassar
  • Cheryl Cushing-Oman
  • Gabby Barnett
  • Shemeka Daniels
  • Akira Barnes
  • Dominick Bellamy
  • Jada Wilson

Follow @bestifusedby22 on Instagram for information on upcoming virtual events.

Recent Program

Gain insight from juror Carl Floyd Medley III and students of the 2021 Juried Student Exhibition in this in-depth look at the show! Congratulations to students Lyn Dowling ('21), Andre Jacobs ('21), and Korrine Maher ('21) whose artwork has been selected by the ODU President and First Lady from the Juried Student Exhibition for display in the Jacobson House presidential residence for the 2021-2022 academic year!

About the Baron and Ellin Gordon Art Galleries

The Baron and Ellin Gordon Art Galleries exhibit works by nationally and internationally recognized self-taught artists, contemporary artists working in all media, and local and regional artists connected with Old Dominion University.