Lois Dodd: Catching the Light
First Museum Retrospective for the Artist Opens May 18 at Kansas City’s Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art
By Kellie Houx
New York- and Maine-based painter Lois Dodd is long overdue for a celebration of her artistic works. The exhibition Lois Dodd: Catching the Light is the first career retrospective for the painter, now in her mid-80s, and features more than 50 paintings from six decades. Dodd’s works will be at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art and then on to the Portland Museum of Art in Maine in early 2013.
Barbara O’Brien, chief curator and director of exhibitions and collections at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, organized the exhibition. Ironically, the day of the exhibition opening, May 18, also marks International Museum Day. The theme for 2012 is Museums in a Changing World: New Challenges, New Inspirations.
Rachael Blackburn Cozad, director and CEO of the Kemper Museum, says she likes to think of every day as International Museum Day. “This year it falls on this exhibition opening May 18. We open Lois Dodd: Catching the Light. Please join me that evening for the opening reception for Lois Dodd, the first museum retrospective for the painter who is now in her eighties. You will also have an opportunity to meet her that night too. It’s a great day to celebrate museums and the artwork of Lois Dodd, and I encourage you to add some art to your life everyday.”
According to the IMD website, “Today, the world is changing faster than ever. New technology delivers new ideas, gigabytes of information, news of an increasingly unstable climate, all shared by social media. Modern museums must compete for an audible voice against the furious pace of this background. Museums in a Changing World is recognition that institutions are faced with interpreting, and existing in, a field that is becoming increasingly fluid. Each may face a unique set of goals, interests and audiences. … But the necessity to thrive in the face of these changes is something that binds all institutions, large and small. Thus, IMD2012 is as much about museums growing and shaping their future, as it is about displaying and interpreting issues like climate change and new electronic media.”
Dodd is best known for her works in which she paints the world around her—the cityscapes of New York City and the woods and gardens of Maine and New Jersey. A key member of New York’s postwar art scene, she was a founding member of Tanager Gallery, one of the 10th Street cooperatives in New York City, and later taught at Brooklyn College for 25 years. Dodd was part of the wave of New York modernists to explore the coast of Maine in the later half of the 20th-century.
She often works en plein air, starting paintings on site in the woods or other location and finishing them in her studio. With a career that spans six decades, Dodd is currently a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the National Academy of Design, and a member of the board of governors for the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine.
PICTURE CAPTIONS: Lois Dodd, Men’s Shelter, April, 1968; oil on linen, 47 1/2 x 39 1/4 inches; Collection of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Bebe and Crosby Kemper Collection, Museum Purchase made possible by a gift from the Kemper Foundations, photo: D. James Dee
Lois Dodd, Self Portrait, 1989; oil on Masonite, 16 3/4 x 14 3/4 inches; Collection of Rebecca Mitchell and Benjamin Harris, photo: D. James Dee