Dodd retrospective opens at PMA

Jan 09, 2013
Lois Dodd’s “Self-Portrait in Green Window,” a 1971 oil on linen that was purchased by Portland Museum of Art with support from the Contemporary Art Fund in memory of Bernice McIlhenny Wintersteen, is part of the Cushing artist’s retrospective at the Portland museum.

Portland — The first career museum retrospective for American painter Lois Dodd, a longtime seasonal resident of Cushing, will feature paintings that define the places and subjects that have mattered most in her nearly 60-year career — views of New York City’s Lower East Side from her apartment windows; paintings of the woods and gardens of Midcoast Maine; and wintery scenes near her family home in New Jersey.

The night before the exhibition opens, the museum will host An Evening with Lois Dodd featuring Dodd in conversation with art critic Karen Wilkin, a regular contributor to The New Criterion, Art in America, and the Wall Street Journal and contributing editor for Art for the Hudson Review. The two will discuss the evolution of the art scene in New York and Maine, and the ways the two locations continue to inspire the artist. The event will place Wednesday, Jan. 16, from 5 to 6 p.m. at Holiday Inn By the Bay. Tickets are $10, free for museum members, and may be purchased at portlandmuseum.org.

“Lois Dodd: Catching the Light” will open Thursday, Jan. 17 and remain on view through April 7 at the downtown Portland Museum of Art, 7 Congress Square. Hours are Tuesdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., open to 9 p.m. Fridays.

Dodd was a key member of New York’s postwar art scene and part of the wave of modern artists who explored the coast of Maine in the latter half of the 20th century. The exhibition features 51 works ranging in date from 1955’s “Pasture” to 2010’s self-portrait “Shadow with Easel.” Born in 1927 in Montclair, N.J., Dodd first moved to New York as a student at the Cooper Union. She studied there from 1945 to 1948, a time when New York emerged as the postwar art capital of the world and Abstract Expressionism flourished. In 1952, she was the only female co-founder of the Tanager Gallery, along with artists Philip Pearlstein and Charles Cajori, among others. Rather than turn to abstraction, minimalism or Pop, Dodd has remained faithful to painting her immediate surroundings throughout her career, whether it be a country landscape or an interior view of her apartment.

Dodd later taught at Brooklyn College for 25 years. She also found a second home in Maine and became associated with the Lincolnville artists including Alex Katz and Neil Welliver, before moving to Cushing where she has lived and painted for several decades. She often works en plein air, starting paintings on site in the woods or other location and finishing them in her studio. She often returns to the same location and views to explore at different times of day and times of year.

Dodd is 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. Among many honors, she was awarded the Benjamin West Clinedinist Memorial Medal in 2007 from the Artists’ Fellowship, Inc. and Cooper Union’s Augustus Saint-Gaudens Award for professional achievement in art in 2005. Her works can be found in museums including New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Mo., and Portland Museum of Art,  among others. She currently resides in both New York and Maine.

This exhibition is curated by Barbara O’Brien, director and chief curator at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, and installed by Jessica May, Kemper’s curator of contemporary and modern art. A scholarly catalog accompanies the exhibition, available for $40 in the PMA Store.

PMA admission is $12; $10 for senior citizens and students with ID; $6 for youth age 13 to 17; and free for younger children. Admission is free for all Fridays from 5 to 9 p.m. For more information, call 775-6148 or visit portlandmuseum.org.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115 or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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