Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Boston Sculptors Gallery

Donna Dodson: Elephant Tribe
November 11-December 20, 2009*
* Extended until December 24, 2009
Opening reception: Saturday November 14th, 3-5pm
SOWA First Friday Reception: December 4th, 5-8pm
Gallery hours: Wednesday-Sunday, 12pm-6pm

Boston Sculptors Gallery is pleased to present ‘Elephant Tribe:’ Donna Dodson’s first solo exhibition of her carved wooden sculptures. This show presents 16 different interpretations of an elephant headed female form. For Dodson, the elephant represents power, sensitivity, strength, and wisdom. These feminine archetypes or goddess figures represent her vision of womankind.

The Hindu elephant god Ganesh inspires Dodson’s work but all of her figures are female. Her studies of African sculptures and Native American totems inform her elephants. In the process of carving, the ears are developed realistically but in the form, Dodson implies headdresses, helmets and hair-dos. Dodson’s monolithic and serene sculptures are enhanced by the use of paint whereby color transforms wood sections into objects such as tusks, gloves and hair. Dodson is inspired by Jessica Stockholder’s interplay of color and form in her art work as well as Cynthia Moss’s field studies of African elephants. The sculptures of Deborah Butterfield, Daisy Youngblood, Magdalena Abakanowicz, Elizabeth Catlett and Rona Pondick influence her style.

Dodson uses logs of osage orange from her grandfather’s farm in Illinois, and ash, pine, and maple from New England. Each piece of wood speaks to the artist in a different voice. She sculpts with a chainsaw and a belt sander as well as chisels, rasps, and files. The wood’s surfaces are smoothed out with sandpaper, colored with paint or pigment and finished in varnish and wax. Her pieces range from one to four feet tall, and one to two feet in diameter. These iconic goddesses are crafted in the manner of fine woodworking similar to the sculptures of Brancusi, Moore, and Puryear. They are unique objects and each piece has a magical presence.

Donna Dodson graduated cum laude from Wellesley College in 1990 with a Bachelor of Arts. Her pre-med studies and her passion for Egyptian art led her to study wood sculpture with Joseph Wheelwright at his studio in Boston in 1995 and then stone sculpture at the Carving Studio in Vermont. She continued her studies in sculpture with Peter Haines at his studio in Cambridge where she learned how to abstract and resolve bronze forms. Since 2000, Dodson has been honored with solo shows in New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, Kansas, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Dodson enjoys public speaking, and has been a guest speaker in conferences, panels and forums at the Boston Public Library, University of Rhode Island, School of Visual Art and Stonehill College. In May 2007 she started the Art Salon Boston at her studio to meet artists of all disciplines and host monthly conversations on topics of interest to artists in Boston and beyond.

Elephant tribe will be shown concurrently with the sculpture of Peter DeCamp Haines.

Trumpeting Elephant, 39" tall, osage orange wood, pigment & paint, 2009