Sprüth Magers is pleased to present a solo exhibition of new work by Lucy Dodd, her first with the gallery. In a practice driven by the possibilities of abstraction as a spiritual language, Dodd will present four paintings and a chair sculpture in a ritualised space in which both her work and their viewers will become protagonists in a highly complex theatre of signifiers.
The surfaces of Dodd’s canvases have a strong resemblance to geological formations, natural phenomena made two-dimensional, as though a cross section of the earth’s crust. They belong in an alternate cosmos that ranges from the microscopic to the macroscopic and across a whole schema of topographies within the universe, from fossil beds and coral growth to crystal formations and galactic constellations.
Dodd understands painting as an organic entity, which extends to her choice of materials, all of which are subject to the possibility of transformation. Works in the show contain, for example, squid ink, hematite, yerba mate, black lichen, and kombucha scobies. These substances are as familiar in a cultic ritual as they would be in a farmer’s market. They are rubbed, sprayed, smeared, stained or left in their natural state, resembling blooms of fungus or veil-like explosions in the sky, whilst simultaneously engaging with the gendered history of lyrical abstraction and action painting. Dodd’s performance is ritualised over several weeks on the floor of her studio as she observes the effects of her materials, organic chemical reactions between them often mysteriously unfolding through time. The surface effects are likewise as much the result of taking away as they are about adding; scobies for example are left on the canvas before being removed to reveal their traces.
Raw linen is evident throughout the canvases and the nature of their installation, often propped up and sewn neatly onto stretchers, causes a resemblance to animal pelts left for curing, the covers for tepees, or quilts and rugs. Despite the somewhat chaotic appearance of her work, there is a degree of restraint, as though each mark has been carefully thought through. This effect is enhanced by the notable use of symmetry that seems to undermine the free flowing nature of many of her materials.
Alongside the four paintings, Dodd will also present a woven chair sculpture, arranged in the space to further connote the sense of the exhibition space as a theatrical arena in flux, and one that can be inhabited. For Dodd, the exhibition format is a form of non-linear time, with the paintings within paying homage to a history of abstract painting that looks beyond formalism to a space of spirituality and mystery, with an authentic belief in the rituals of both producing and viewing.
Lucy Dodd (*1981 in New York) lives and works in Kingston, NY. She completed studies at Art Center College of Design, CA (2004), and Bard College, NY (2011). Selected solo shows include Open Plan: Lucy Dodd, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2016); Buttercut, Power Station, Dallas (2016); Guernika, Rubell Family Collection, Miami (2014) und Welcome to the White Bottom, Pro Choice, Vienna (2010). Recent group shows and performances include Dreaming Mirrors | Dreaming Screens, Sprüth Magers, Berlin (2016); Venganza (I Don’t Want to be Friends), Armada, Milan (2015); Maize Mantis with Sergei Tcherepnin, The Kitchen, New York (2015) and Tropical Year Zero, Church of Saint Luke and Saint Matthew, New York (2012).
The Berlin gallery is concurrently presenting solo exhibitions by Pamela Rosenkranz and Otto Piene.