Career artist, Lois Dodd, has been actively painting for decades, but up to now much of her work has been relatively under-appreciated. The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art’s exhibition, Lois Dodd: Catching the Light amends that this summer with the artist’s first career retrospective, opening in mid-May. Chief curator, Barbara O’Brien, worked closely with Dodd, in her 80s, to plan the exhibition, highlighting her New York cityscapes, Maine landscapes, and her telling observations of the everyday. Influenced by the ethos of Modernism so prominent in the mid-twentieth century New York City, calling for painting to be true to itself, Dodd did not reject figuration, but took interest in place, change over time, and the interaction of the materials of humanity with the stuff of nature. With over 50 paintings, the exhibition is a comprehensive look at an artist who has lived through countless art movements and ideals, but has remained true to her own style.
Dodd’s style is direct. She is a keen observer. That said, her work is often simplified and details left out, bringing our attention more to forms, shapes, and colors, which is, of course, a Modernist in approach. However, Dodd’s work supersedes a distinct label, bringing to mind Minimalism, Realism and Precisionism. Night Sky Loft (1972-73), above, blends the familiarities of the domestic with the bigness and anonymous quality of the city, shown through the dark window. Night Sky Loft’s rendering of the city as something of simplified verticals, and lights and darks, reminds me of Georgia O’Keefe’s painting, Manhattan (1932), a rare city-image for the painter. Dodd is talented at fusing the experience of art and of everyday, of objects and of nature, of precise and pared-down in an almost reverential way.
Find yourself in Kansas City this May, June, July, or August? Stop by and take a look!
Lois Dodd: Catching the Light runs at The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art from 18 May – 26 August, 2012. The Kemper is located at 4420 Warwick Blvd, Kansas City, MO. The museum is open Tuesday-Thursday, 10-4, 10-9 Friday-Saturday and 11-5 on Sunday. Admission and parking are free.