Lois Dodd: Windows and Reflections
Lois Dodd: Windows and Reflections
Donald J. Gordon Visiting Artist
November 3 – December 15, 2016
Lois Dodd, one of America’s most admired figurative artists, served as the Donald J. Gordon Visiting Artist during the 2016-17 academic year. Curated by Andrea Packard, the List Gallery exhibition, Lois Dodd: Windows and Reflections focuses on a subject that has fascinated Dodd for nearly fifty years. Her images of windows, as well as natural apertures such as ponds and intersecting tree limbs, call attention to the way we variously frame and focus our attention. The exhibition was accompanied by a 32-page exhibition catalog with essays by Andrea Packard and Barry Schwabsky, chief art critic for The Nation.
Dodd’s nearly 70-year career as an artist has been distinguished by the excellence and authenticity of her vision, her refusal to pander to art trends, and her gift for distilling the world’s cacophony of color, texture and detail into essential forms. Considered a “painter’s painter,” she elaborates the storied traditions of observational painting fostered by masters such as Camille Corot, Paul Cezanne, and American figurative painters such as Fairfield Porter and Rackstraw Downes. Most often, Dodd paints views from the window of her apartment on East 2nd street in lower Manhattan, landscapes surrounding her weekend home at the Delaware Water Gap, and the gardens and woods surrounding her summer home on the St. George River in Maine. Her subjects seem simple at first: a shed surrounded by flowering trees, a pine forest tangled with broken limbs, or a falling window sash with trees reflected in its skewed panes of glass. But upon closer study, we become aware of how Dodd arranges shapes in space with a pitch-perfect sense of harmony. Whether she portrays a ladder leaning against a house in disrepair or the shape of a window obscured by a sheet blowing on a clothesline, Dodd captures ephemeral moments as enduring archetypes.
Lois Dodd was born in 1927 and raised in Montclair, New Jersey. After three years of study at Cooper Union, she became part of a circle of artists that continued to champion the practice of painting from observation during the heyday of abstract expressionism. In 1952, she was one of the five founding artists of Tanager Gallery, one of the first artist cooperative galleries in New York City. By 1953, she began regularly summering in Maine which also attracted a number of distinguished painters that included Rackstraw Downes, Yvonne Jacquette, Alex Katz, and Neil Welliver. Dodd bought her own property in Cushing, Maine in 1963 and she has continued to find endless sources of inspiration in the house, garden, surrounding woods, and nearby rock quarries.
Dodd’s art has been the subject of more than 50 one-person exhibitions including retrospective exhibition organized in 2012 by the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City. The exhibition travelled to the Portland Museum of Art in Portland, Maine in 2013. Other distinguished institutions have have exhibited her work including The Hudson River Museum, the Noyes Museum of Art, the University of Maine Museum of Art, Tucson Museum of Art, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, Albright Knox Art Gallery, Queens Museum of Art, and more. Dodd has taught extensively over the years, including at the Vermont Studio Center, Brooklyn College (1971–1992), and Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.
An elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the National Academy of Design, her many awards include the Benjamin West Clinedinst Medal and Artists’ Fellowship from the National Academy, the Augustus St. Gaudens Distinguished Alumni Award from Cooper Union, an honorary degree from Old Lyme Academy, the Speicher, Betts and Symons Purchase Prize from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, the Longview Foundation Purchase Award, and grants from the Ingram Merrill Foundation and the Italian government. Her work is held in major museum and corporate collections including Cooper Hewitt, National Design Museum, Dartmouth College Art Museum, Farnsworth Art Museum, National Academy of Design, Wadsworth Atheneum, and Whitney Museum Print Collection. She is represented by Alexandre Gallery, New York City.