Monday, December 4, 2017

Winter News

I am pleased to announce that Heather Roy has re-opened Artana Gallery in Naples Florida and has brought my work into the new space that launched in November. If you are in the area, check out the Art and Design District, and see the work of the many talented artists she presents each month.

Left to Right: Brown Pelican, Elephant Princess, Rhino Man

Ongoing: Blue Hollomon Gallery in Anchorage, Alaska represents many gifted artists including Andy Moerlein and I. If you are in the area, drop by to see their current shows of contemporary art.

Left to Right: Red Winged Blackbird, Mama Duck, Panda Bear

Coming up at the Boston Sculptors Gallery Jan. 31st-Feb. 25th 2018 "HeART" a group exhibition and fundraiser members show featuring hot and steamy love charms for sale at affordable prices. Save the Date: Breath and Matter, a poetry and sculpture inspired group show, July-August 2018 at the Boston Sculptors Gallery featuring over 20 sculptors in collaboration with literary artist partners.

News from The Myth Makers:

“Every community has a story. Deep
in the forested wetlands of tupelo,
bald cypress, oak, and hickory is the
hidden world of the delta. Interlaced
with bayous, rivers, oxbow lakes and
sandy ridges the hardwood swamps
of the North American South
obscures one of the most persistent
extinction questions of the modern
world. Is there an elusive living ivory-
billed woodpecker to be found?”

The Myth Makers created a new work, "The Quest" for Crevasse 22 | River House, PS Satellite, a Project of Prospect 4 New Orleans. Migration: an exhibition of 25 contemporary and regional artists in the museum and sculpture garden, was curated by Jeanne Nathan, Executive Director of the Creative Alliance of New Orleans.

Also in New Orleans: The Widow's Walk joined the Avian Avatars for PS Satellite, a Project of Prospect 4 New Orleans on the Poydras Corridor Sculpture Exhibition Presented by the Helis Foundation a production of Sculpture for New Orleans.

Coming up in 2018: Look for the Myth Maker's new work in Florida, Missouri, Massachusetts and China. Look for Donna Dodson's solo work at the Noyes Museum of Art at Stockton University in New Jersey, June-Sept. 2018 and at the Boston Sculptors Gallery in Oct.-Nov. 2018.

Wishing a peaceful, prosperous, and joyful New Year to all. We are thankful for the many blessings we have received this year and we honor our dear artist friends who have passed: David Lang (1941-2017), Gary Haven Smith (1948-2017) and Boaz Vaadia (1951-2017).

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Autumn News

This summer was full of international travel and art making in Denmark and Taiwan. 

In June, The Myth Makers built the Widow's Walk in New Bedford, Massachusetts for the Seaport Art Walk. The concept for the Seaport Art Walk this year is Sustainable Oceans and it is curated by Jessica Bregoli. Our piece is called the Widow's Walk and it is a mythical cormorant figure of a widow contemplating the uncertain future of our oceans in much the same way as sailor's spouses used to anticipate their return. We used recycled black plastic to simulate to the cormorant's black feathers and to draw attention the gyre and the pollution of our oceans with plastic waste that threatens sea life and the sustainability of our fisheries. This piece is on view through October. 

The Widow's Walk, 20 ft tall 2017, bamboo, saplings, wire,
recycled plastic, wire mesh, zip ties

In July, Andy Moerlein and I went to Ringkobing Denmark to participate in the 2017 International Woodsculpture Symposium along with nine talented artists: Watch a timelapse of the project.

Mrs. Donna Dodson, USA
Mr. Janos Drienyovszki, Hungary

Mr. Thomas Lüscher, Switzerland
Mr. Nikolay Martinov, Bulgaria

Mrs. Laura Guzmàn Mèndez
Mr. Toomas Mitt, Estonia
Mr. Andy Moerlein. USA
Mr. Kuldar Moor, Estonia

Mr. Otto Pilgaard, Denmark
Mrs. Maria Christina Rommel, Argentina
Mr. Ormar Tamm, Estonia

Artscope featured my experiences in the current issue of the magazine, Andy Moerlein shared his experiences on the Boston Sculptors Gallery blog and we made an appearance on Danish TV!

The Danish Baby Bringer, 9ft tall, oak, 2017

Andy Moerlein's "Scholar's Rock" 9 ft tall, oak, 2017

In August, The Myth Makers were invited to be the Artists in Residence at the Keelung National Museum of Marine Science & Technology in Taiwan. Organized by Jane Ingram Allen, this International Marine Environment Art Project invites artists from the USA, Europe and Taiwan to complete monumental public works that connect art and science. 

We worked with three groups of volunteers to complete our project on site. We also worked with the local students at the Keelung National Senior High School and shared our process of art making. We used a puppet making curriculum where each student made two animal headed avatars, one representing their favorite animal self and one representing a secret animal self. Then the students wrote myths and stories and acted out plays with their puppet avatars. On the last day we worked in teams demonstrating bamboo techniques and the students built a bamboo environment at the center of their school campus.

During the month long residency, our own sculpture transformed from its original idea into something new and site specific. We arrived eager to learn more about bamboo as a sculpture medium. We had visions of continuing our globe embracing mission to advocate for sustainable ocean resources. We expected to build a twin to our New Bedford MA Widow's Walk. 

We began conversations about fishermen and our American whaling traditions. We talked about the architecture and dress of 18th Century America with our Taiwanese hosts and friends. We could not seem to reach a clear understanding. When we mentioned cormorants, they were puzzled. This was not a familiar bird. We found ourselves with a lot of ideas that perhaps did not belong.

We built a majestic female figure using bamboo techniques learned from Keelung's 85 year old Bamboo Master. We asked everyone we encountered in the ocean side fishing village,"What bird symbolizes the vast ocean ecology?" The Albatross stood out. The albatross is sometimes used metaphorically to mean a psychological burden that feels like a curse. This is an allusion to Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1798). The albatross is a natural anomaly - a bird that flies all the world's oceans on wings that are up to 12 feet (3.3 meters). The albatross chick can stay at sea for up to five years before finding their way home to begin a lifelong mating. Birds that lose their mates do not breed again. A majestic and storied bird, the albatross was just the poetic symbol we sought for our work at NMMST in Keelung Taiwan: Watch the brief project video.

The Intrepid Albatross, 20 ft tall, 2017
bamboo, wire ties, recycled rubber, mirrors

She stands facing the sea, like generations of sailor's wives. The Intrepid Albatross is optimistic for the ocean's future bounty, yet she feels uncertain about the sustainability of this massive rich resource. Like the Myth Makers, she believes in a world where all nations contract together to protect and celebrate the sea's vitality. This is one of a series of monumental temporary sculptures in a globe embracing project by The Myth Makers.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Spring and Summer News

The Myth Makers are pleased to announce their current project:

Jason Middlebrook

Art Complex Museum, 189 Alden St, Duxbury, MA 02332
May 7th – September 3rd 2017

Opening Reception: Sunday May 21st 1:30p-3:30p Curator's talk at 2p : Andy Moerlein & Donna Dodson will lead a walk through of the exhibition and introduce the artists present who will each make brief remarks followed by a film screening of Night and Day, the collaborative film and sculpture project by Pat Keck and Peter Anthony at 2:30p. Free and Open to the Public. Pat Keck's creations blend perfectly with Peter Anthony's story about his uncle. Together they tell this coming out story, uniquely and eloquently, about a man who would have been forgotten.
Vanessa German

Artist Talk: Pat Keck Thursday May 25th 10:30a coffee reception, 11am artist talk followed by a film screening of Night and Day, the collaborative film and sculpture project by Pat Keck and Peter Anthony at 11:30a

Pat Keck and Peter Anthony

Artist Talk: Amy Archambault Saturday June 24th 2pm 

Amy Archambault

Artist Talk and Workshop: Mike Wright Saturday July 15th 1:30p

Mike Wright

This summer the Art Complex Museum presents an exhibit of eleven sculptors who make art using wood. The work selected is a broad overview of both the medium of wood and contemporary approaches to art making. This exhibition brings an unmistakable attention to art of the moment without overlooking the curators’ respect for the craft of an object.

Breon Dunigan

“Making art with wood is not an arbitrary decision. For the artists in this show, wood is their muse and a source of their inspiration. Each artist has an affection for wood that comes from a very personal place. In fine art, the mastery of materials and craft must serve the aesthetics of the work. We selected contemporary art for this exhibition that speaks through wood as its medium. We placed several different approaches to using wood in juxtaposition, bringing individual voices into focus. We see wood, as a medium, in the true sense of the word — ‘an intervening substance or agency for transmitting or producing an effect.’ Each artist in the show approaches wood from a conceptual framework that yields surprising and divergent results.” Guest Curators: Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein.

Jennifer Maestre

Wood as Muse features eleven very different sculptors whose connection is wood. With three to eight pieces from each artist this is a deep introduction to the concept and the participants. This selection of artists is diverse in their approaches, yet they are delightfully connected by the artistry and craft of working with this iconic medium. Several of the artists are regionally based and familiar, all of the artists have national and many have international reputations.

Martin Ulman

Amy Archambault’s work addresses wood as a consumer product, using store lumber in playful contraptions. Furniture parts and upholstery become trophy heads with a designer’s attitude in Breon Dunigan’s work. Working with pencils as medium, Jennifer Maestre confounds our perceptions of this commonplace object. As she says, she uses “what is normally a tool to create art into the art itself.” Vanessa German, Mike Wright and Martin Ulman all use discovered wood product that they repurpose. In their art the original use or story the object contains is rebirthed into a new plot.

Andy Moerlein

For the lover of woodcarving and rich grain, this show does not disappoint. Jason Middlebrook, trained as a painter, uses exquisite slab wood as his canvas, layering patterns and colors in conversation with the vivid wood grain. Donna Dodson, Thomas Beale and Andy Moerlein similarly reveal wood’s natural colors yet each of these artists engage art making from a very different personal vocabulary. Dodson’s political feminism is not obscured by her lush wood choices, Beale’s swelling forms belie the many fragmentary parts of their creation, and Moerlein’s surface treatments confound the viewer with suggestions of stone and landscape.

Thomas Beale

Many of these artists flirt with story telling, but Pat Keck finds inspiration in carousel and cigar store figures, puppets and dummies. Her wood carved figures are vital. They will surprise and start a conversation with you. This show has much to offer. It should not be missed.

Update: Martha Himes Riegelhaupt covered this story in the Duxbury Clipper on May 17, 2017, "Wood as Muse now on display at the Art Complex Museum." Jared Bowen covered this show on Open Studio for WGBH Boston on Friday June 9, 2017. Don Wilkinson covered this show for South Coast today on August 17, 2017, " Exhibit brings together stunning and diverse wood works."

In other news: 

I recently published two catalogs of my work: Zodiac and Monumental Works. (Click on the titles to view them online) Zodiac features my intimate wood carvings and Monumental works features my large scale outdoor sculptures.

The Myth Makers published a new catalog of their public art projects. (Click on their name to view the catalog online)

Andy Moerlein recently published two catalogs of his work: Misunderstanding Geology and Gathering(Click on the titles to view them online) Geology features Andy's sculptural homages to ancient Chinese scholar's rocks and Gathering highlights his signature narrative ceramic bird and natural branch sculptures.

Coming up:

Andy Moerlein and I were BOTH selected to participate in the 2017 International Woodsculpture Symposium in Ringkobing Denmark in July along with many talented artists:
Mr. Jorge Schröder, Brazil
Mr. Thomas Lüscher, Switzerland
Mrs. Donna Dodson, USA
Mr. Martijn Smith, Netherland
Mr. Janos Drienyovszki, Hungary
Mr. Andy Moerlein. USA
Mr. Nikolay Martinov, Bulgaria
Mr. Kuldar Moor, Estonia
Mrs. Laura Guzmàn Mèndez
Mr. Ormar Tamm, Estonia
Mr. Toomas Mitt, Estonia
Mr. Otto Pilgaard, Denmark

And in August... The Myth Makers are going to be working on two continents this summer to build their newest Avian Avatar. The Widow's Walk will be part of the New Bedford Seaport Art Walk in Mass. USA and the Keelung National Museum of Marine Science & Technology International Marine Environment Art Project in Taiwan! 

Read more about both of these exciting projects below:

"The artists selected for the 2017 Keelung National Museum of Marine Science & Technology International Marine Environment Art Project have been announced. This year we had an overwhelming 231 applications from artists in many different countries. The following international artists have been selected for 2017 artist-in-residency projects at the National Museum of Marine Science & Technology in Keelung, Taiwan:"

Foreign Artists:
Patrick Demazeau│France
Susanne Ruoff│Germany
Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein (the Mythmakers)│USA
Debbie Fish│New Zealand
Irene Hoppenberg│Germany

Taiwanese Artists:
Chen Chih Yang 楊金池
Chien Chih Chen 陳建智
Yoroe Lin 林猷柔

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Winter News

At the end of year, it is a time to reflect- to look back and also to look ahead... 

In brief, 2016 was a great year for my studio practice. I had four solo shows: one of which was my first solo museum  show at the New Bedford Art Museum. In addition, I participated in three museum shows in Michigan, Maryland and The Netherlands. One of my public art projects became the subject of a controversy that went viral and spawned several petitions, a town proclamation, a welcome home parade and a traveling pop-up show that raised over $1000 to help breast cancer patients and their caregivers. At the end of the day, Seagull Cinderella was named the Unsung Hero by Kristen Pacheco and the People of New Bedford. And last but not least, one of my sculptures stood proudly through one of the most difficult and historic elections in modern history: Madam President, A Monument to the First Woman President of the United States and to the Dream that Every Girl Can Become the President of the USA. 

The Myth Makers (Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein) also had a great year. In April, we built The Wildwood Phoenix in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. In May, we moved The Avian Avatars, our national traveling art project, from Muskegon Michigan to New Orleans, Louisiana for a two year loan. In June we built The Dance, a pair of Sandhill Cranes at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, Wisconsin. And in October we built The Mighty Merganser at the Academy Art Museum in Easton, Maryland. Thank you to all of the generous sponsors, donors and funders of our public art projects. We are so lucky to do this work and to connect with individuals and communities through art.

On a more personal note, I lost a hero of mine, my mentor and friend Joseph Wheelwright (1948-2016). He was a great artist, a family man and one of the founding members of the Boston Sculptors Gallery.

Coming up in 2017: we will be publishing new catalogs for myself, Andy Moerlein and the Myth Makers. If you would like to receive one in the mail, please send me your mailing address. Also coming up in 2017:  Only from Maynard, Jan 18th-Feb 25th at Artspace Maynard: a group show featuring the artists in my new hometown, Love/Lust, Feb 8th-26th at the Boston Sculptors Gallery, a members group show and Valentine's inspired fundraiser, 31 Women, March 3rd-31st, a group show at the James Library & Center for the Arts in Norwell in honor of Women's History Month and The Forest Through the Trees, April 18th-May 27th at 6 Bridges Gallery in Maynard, a three person show with nature photographs by Brent Mathison and wood sculptures by Andy Moerlein and I.

Jan. 20-Feb. 5, 2016 "Mermaids," New Bedford Art Museum, New Bedford MA

Feb 24-March 25, 2016 “Zodiac: Donna Dodson,” The St. Botolph Club, Boston MA

July 10-30, 2016 "Avian Heroines," Colo Colo Gallery, New Bedford MA

Sept 7-Oct 9, 2016 "Donna Dodson: Zodiac," Boston Sculptors Gallery, Boston MA

Nov 19, 2016-Feb 26, 2017 "Avian Inspirations: Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein" Academy Art Museum, Easton MD.


Thursday, October 6, 2016

Autumn News

Now on view:
Feature Creatures: On the Loose from the Permanent Collection

Blue Hippo (above) was recently acquired by the Fuller Craft Museum .
Bequest of Steve and BJ Andrus

Seagull Cinderella 
Returns to Maynard
October 15, 2016, 3-6 pm
Parade, Art Show and Reception

On October 15 Seagull Cinderella returns to Maynard and will be feted with a parade in downtown Maynard starting at 3:00 pm. Follow her from the Maynard Library to 6 Bridges gallery at 77 Main Street where she will disembark from her carriage and stand proudly outside 6 Bridges Gallery.  A pop-up art show inspired by our courageous gull awaits her fans and supporters inside with a reception from 4p-6p.  See the Call to Artists below for more information on this event.
Update: On Aug 30, 2016 The Stow Wicked Local News posted this story, 'Seagull Cinderella' art piece to return to Maynard.' On October 6, 2016 Denise Shea posted this story to The Maynard Grapevine, Living in a Creative Arts Community and Jacquelyn Jarnagin posted this story to The Beacon Villager, Maynard parade to honor Seagull Cinderella. On October 17, 2016 Holly Camero posted this story to Wicked Local, Seagull Cinderella Paraded Home to Maynard

The Backstory:

Donna Dodson created a small wood sculpture of a seagull headed female figure in 2002 that she named “Seagull Cinderella.” Her inspiration for the piece was Marilla from Anne of Green Gables who was corseted and bound by the sweet virtues of her character. The piece was about how we are conditioned by that American mythic princess story, and how we act on it in our lives or how that myth acts on us and how we view women in our society through the lens of the princess myth. 

In 2012, Dodson was invited to submit a proposal for a public art project in Brooklyn and she chose to make a monumental version of the small wood sculpture “Seagull Cinderella.” She used the same color palette of soft pink for the wings and soft yellow on the beak. She stood proud for one whole summer facing the East River and then she moved to Gallery Ehva in Provincetown.

The owner, Ewa Nogiec is known for encouraging artists to take risks and complete work in residence. Since the piece was up through the fall, winter, spring and summer, Ewa grew familiar with the piece and in preparation for the July 4th parade in P’town, suggested that Dodson paint a red white and blue bikini on the sculpture. Dodson did not share her vision for the bikini, but she did imagine seeing neon daisies on the piece instead. So Dodson re-worked the piece on site with neon colors and a daisy chain around the waist.

When the piece came home in 2013, Dodson had another pending invitation for the piece from the Krasl Art Center 2014 Biennial Sculpture Invitational in St Joseph Michigan. Dodson extended the daisy chain from the waist to the floor, giving the mythic American princess a full length gown of neon daisies. When she came home from Michigan in 2015, Dodson decided to install her on her front lawn of her new home on Summer St. She became much adored by her neighbors and served as a landmark until she left to spend the summer in New Bedford in 2016. 

Open Call to Artists to submit creations of all mediums in homage to this glorious sculpture by Donna Dodson of Maynard.

Drop off work on Friday, October 14, 4-6 pm or Saturday, October 15, 10-11 am. Please bring work ready to display on pedestals and tables. Wall space is not available.

Work for this event will be for sale with a portion of the proceeds going to help women with breast cancer at the Virginia Thurston Healing Garden.

6 Bridges Gallery was established in 2014 by a group of artists to create a retail and display gallery in the heart of Maynard, Massachusetts. The ever-changing work in our gallery includes a diverse range of media and artistic styles. All of our artisans are local; many—including our founding members—are residents of the ArtSpace Maynard studios.  

77 Main Street
Maynard, MA 01754


Join The Myth Makers: Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein on Thursday October 20th from 6p-8p in New Orleans at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art for an artist talk and hands on workshop during Ogden After Hours. 

We will be sharing our experiences of building the Avian Avatars that are currently installed in downtown New Orleans, Louisiana in the Poydras Corridor Sculpture Exhibition presented by The Helis Foundation. A very special thank you to Michael Manjarris for selecting our work to be included in this city wide public art project: Sculpture for New Orleans.


Join the Myth Makers: Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein at the Academy Art Museum in Maryland October 28th-November 5th.


Members' Reception and Meet the Artists: Friday, November 18, 5:30 - 7:30pm

Artists Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein (aka the Myth Makers), will be present in Easton, MD, from October 29 to November 5, 2016, during which time they will build one of their iconic sapling sculptures on the Museum’s grounds. Literally speaking, the bird sculpture will be based on the Hooded Merganser, a bird which is common in Maryland. Figuratively, however, the artists’ intent is to create a bird sculpture which represents a proud monument to independent thinking and bravery, referencing Eastern Shore native Frederick Douglass, who said, “I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.”

Although monumental in scale, the ephemeral works of the Myth Makers are temporary in nature. Made from natural materials, they are site specific and respond to their local audience. Meaning to last 3 to 5 years, they appear, fade, and disappear, adding a chapter to the life stories in their communities.

The Mighty Merganser bird sculpture will be constructed with the help of many volunteers (see Call for Volunteers). The large sculpture will stand over 16 feet high and ll a generous space in the Museum’s front yard.

Based in Boston, the Myth Makers have worked in Peru, Switzerland, Canada and China. They have shown their monumental sculptures the “Avian Avatars,” on Broadway in New York, NY; Muskegon, MI; New Orleans, and in many museums in New England.

In the galleries at the Academy Art Museum:


This two person show of Dodson's intimate wood goddess figures and Moerlein's narrative ceramic bird and natural stick figures features over a dozen avian themed works from each artist. This exhibition will give insight into the solo work of two individual sculptors and how they collaborate as the Myth Makers.