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.
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
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.
Curator of Exhibitions
On display through June 13th, 2019.
Art Gallery at the Fulginiti Pavilion