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Penumbra: Watercolors by H. C. Dodd

1990-2007


Penumbra, 1998, 22" x 30"

Helen Carolyn Dodd (nee Glenzing), “Glen” was born in 1924 in Greenwich, Connecticut, and died in Houston, Texas, four days before her 90th birthday. She married Dr. Gerald D. Dodd in 1947, and they had seven children.  Whatever early aspirations she may have had towards pursuing a career in the arts were eclipsed by the responsibilities of lovingly caring for her growing family.  It wasn’t until 1990 (at 67) that she enrolled in watercolor classes at the Art League of Houston and the Glassell School of Art.  Her early mastery of this difficult medium is already evident in “Untitled Man” (1990), the Wyeth-inspired “Winter Haven” (1992), and “Scarf” (1992). Dodd’s formidable control of line and color are clear in these images already impressive for their precision, clarity, grace and charm. The portraits in particular are testaments to the power and importance of observation, revealing in their accuracy essential truths about the lives of the people portrayed.

The mid 1990’s were transitional years for Dodd’s work. She was beginning to move towards the abstraction that would define her mature work, but the lure and the evocative possibilities of “real” subjects remained primary sources for her during this process of transformation.   Throughout the remaining years of her life as an active artist, Dodd employed a uniquely idiosyncratic process in making her paintings. The compositions always originated from the construction of a collage which then served as a model for the painting. She says, “The forms aren’t anything in particular; they’re simply shapes. The design is entirely intuitive.  I rearrange bits of paper until I like the arrangement and then transfer the design to my watercolor sheet.” In essence Dodd remained a “realist” of sorts – reproducing in watercolor, with painstaking veracity, an object she created which subsequently exists in the world. The intuition and spontaneity, the emotively charged gesture, the internal logic that links colors and shapes – the qualities that we’ve come to associate with abstraction are expressed by Dodd in the collage that precedes the painting.

With measured refinement and utmost precision, Dodd’s paintings treat formalist concerns such as placement, edge, surface and structure with both fine-tuned ease and careful tautness. Works such as “Longitude” (1997), “Sound of Red” (1998), “Prelude” (2000), and the more recent “Out of the Ashes” (2006) are outstanding examples of her tightly balanced and classically wrought compositions which, in spite of their calculated handling, depend on quirky twists of construction. Geometries are skewered, circles are spliced, lines converge into stiletto points. Despite the fine-tuned control that characterizes Dodd’s paintings her aesthetic wit peeps through so many of them.

It is our intention and hope that this exhibition adequately serves to introduce the vibrantly intelligent and affectively poetic work of H. C. Dodd to a fresh, wide audience.  We are grateful to Dr. Gerald Dodd, H. C. Dodd’s son, for making her work available and for his patient assistance in crafting every aspect of this exhibition.                                     

                                                                                                     Simon Zalkind, Curator of Exhibitions

 

 Photos from Opening Reception on April 25, 2019

 
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​​On display through June 13th, 2019.

Art Gallery at the Fulginiti Pavilion
13080 E. 19th Ave., Aurora, CO  80045
Hours: Monday-Friday from 9:00am-5:00pm
Free and open to the public.​​​​                                                                  Read the exhibition catalog>>