BRATTLEBORO — “Lois Dodd is a wonder, working happily and productively still at 93,” says Eric Aho of his friend and fellow artist. “When you meet Lois, you will see she's in no rush. She sets a deliberate pace, and you can see it in the unhurried nature of her painting.”
Dodd will speak with Aho in an online conversation about her life and work on Tuesday, Jan. 19, at 7 p.m.
This event is presented in connection with the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center (BMAC) exhibit “Figuration Never Died: New York Painterly Painting, 1950–1970,” curated by Karen Wilkin and featuring the work of Dodd and nine of her contemporaries. The exhibition focuses on artists from this sometimes-overlooked countermovement. For more information, visit brattleboromuseum.org.
“Lois has long been admired by painters, both for her teaching and for her artwork,” Aho said in a news release. “She's achieved something of a cult following.”
Aho attributed Dodd's acclaim in large part to her long career and also to what Wilkin calls her “young-looking paintings.”
“No gimmicks,” Aho said. “No concern for fashion. No overreaching. Just her honest painterly response to visual curiosity - marked by a rare and special clarity.”
Dodd's works are in permanent collections throughout the United States, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Cooper Union.
In 1952, she was one of the five founding members of the Tanager Gallery, an artist-run exhibition space on 10th Street in New York City.
“Since that time, she's been an important part of the New York scene,” Aho said, “aligned especially among those painters who took on figuration at the height of abstract expressionism.”
“Dodd paints her everyday surroundings in the places where she lives and works - the Lower East Side, rural Maine, and the Delaware Water Gap,” said Wilkin, the exhibition's curator. “Her paintings are usually intimately scaled and are almost always completed in one plein-air sitting.”
Aho looks forward to a “lively and engaging conversation.”
“We'll likely talk about various kinds of shadows, windows, trees, winter, and the nocturne motif,” he said. “We'll also discuss Lois's childhood during the Great Depression, the art scene in New York City in the 1950s, and artists important to her development as a painter.”
BMAC has exhibited Aho's work on numerous occasions, most recently in a 2009–2010 solo show, “Ice Box.” His work is in the permanent collections of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, among others, and has been exhibited at Dartmouth College's Hood Museum, the New Britain Museum of American Art, the Currier Museum of Art, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Aho and Dodd first met at the National Academy Museum and School in 1998.
“When Lois and I visit in Maine, most summers, it's typically on a rainy day over a piece of blueberry pie,” Aho said. “Sadly, we were unable to get together this past summer, though we've chatted on the phone a few times.”
“I'm looking forward to sharing our conversation with a wider audience - Lois is just one of the nicest people in the world, a generous spirit,” he said. “She's a marvel of a painter.”
“We'll all just have to imagine the pie.”