This is the last week to see the Lois Dodd exhibition at the Pollock Gallery. It closes on Saturday, March 31.
I think these are the first of her paintings I have actually seen, but I have always known her as a name. I think I got announcements of her exhibitions at Fischbach Gallery over the years. (This work is all courtesy of Alexandre Gallery.) The hazy impression I have had or her was as one of the many stylized realist painters that Fischbach championed. Actually seeing the work has been a delight.
Dodd turns eighty this year, and for most of her adult life she has taken a small piece of masonite, plywood, or aluminum flashing into her backyard or some nearby piece of land and painted what she found there. Her matter-of-fact titles give a good sense of her work: Rhubarb Leaves and Shadow. Echinacea and Dragonfly. The Edge of Beaver Pond. She likes to get in close and avoids horizons. The work is as much about drawing as painting, and when you look at it you see her think her way through the compositions. She paints with confidence and even a sense of authority – but of course she has been at it for some time. I would say that she has earned the occasional missteps in this show that includes work that goes back as far as 1970. The figure studies are not as good as the landscapes, and five paintings of a lunar eclipse come off as too “high concept” for the overall project. The paintings are about light and what it reveals. Dodd is at her best with spiderwebs. She turns them into white picnic blankets spread on the grass.
The show is beautifully installed at the Pollock Gallery, which has a very unpromising location in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center at Southern Methodist University. There are forty paintings on 5 x 7 inch aluminum flashing grouped in sets of five and propped against the wall on narrow shelves. There are suites of framed drawings, the small panel paintings, and three large, for Dodd, works on canvas. The gallery publishes a conversation with the artists they exhibit. The title of this blog entry comes from the conversation Dodd had with SMU professor Mary Vernon. It's good talk that makes you want to know the artist better. She is smart, down-to-earth, and loves what she does – all qualities that come through in the paintings.
(Here are some parking strategies for SMU. Use the underground lot at the Meadows Museum. You might have to lie and claim that you are there for the Balenciaga show. On Saturday faculty lots may be open to visitors.)