Artist Gray S. Dodson, Tidewater born and bred, moved to the meadows and mountains of Nelson County in 1995. Dodson’s wide array of “en plein air” oil paintings now reflect her Virginia journey as well as scenes painted onsite throughout the U.S., Canada, Curacao, France, Italy and Mexico. Fifteen of her works illustrate SUNDAY DRIVES, Cruising the Back Road of Amherst and Nelson Counties by Margaret Myers and Ann Rucker.
“Nature captured me from the moment I stood before it with easel and paints and wondered how in the world I could do it justice,” Dodson recalls. “I actually started painting seascapes after moving to the mountains. I’ve worked with the figure and will probably go back to it, incorporating it in nature. Yet for the most part, I paint on the site as painting from photographs feels very static to me. Working on site, I feel an energy exchange from the place and the light that I hope to transfer into the painting. I work off that initial impact and even though the light changes within several hours, I keep the memory of that impact in mind. I’ve learned to trust it over the years.”
Dodson received her BFA in studio art in 1981 from Old Dominion College in Norfolk. “My first heroes were the Impressionists, mainly for their use of color,” she says. “For mood and depth, I look at George Innes, Albert Pinkham Ryder and the American Tonalists. For mark making (brush strokes, smudges, scratches, scribbles – how paint is applied), I look at Abbot Thayer, John Henry Twachtman, Wolf Kahn and Joan Mitchell.”
Dodson sees her evolution as an artist from “first feeling fraught, an urgency to express on paper on canvas, what I had to say. I now feel less constrained by compositional factors. My subject matter has not significantly changed although I feel I’m moving more in the direction of the abstract. I feel freest when painting skies with their abstract and elusive qualities.
“Art, for me is a great metaphor for life, a means of communication,” she says, “It’s like going in the back door, seeing beyond the “public’ face into the mess of life.”
Anything but messy, Dodson’s luminous land and seascapes have been exhibited in galleries throughout the state as well as in numerous corporate and private collections across the country including the U. S. State Department and U.S. Embassies in Panama and Guyana. During September, her paintings will be featured at the Signature 9 Gallery in Roanoke. signature9gallery.com
Dodson will also participate in the Bath County Plein Air Paint Out Festival October 1-6. The Festival is sponsored by Warm Springs Gallery where the artists’ works will be displayed at www.warmspringsgallery.com. In March 2014, Dodson’s paintings will be exhibited in the main lobby of the University of Virginia Medical Center. See additional work by Gray Dodson at www.graysdodson.com
ALSO OF INTEREST…
Mixed media artist Frankie Slaughter, a resident of Richmond and Hong Kong, will show her latest body of work, “Unravel” at Glave Kocen Gallery, Richmond, October 4-23rd. “This collection is a process-based investigation that finds form in color, paper, clay and video – threading together the textures and patterns of collective histories. Substrates of my life experiences: East and West, line and swath, gathered and untethered,” says Slaughter, well known for her imaginative jackets layered with many patterns and textures. “‘Unravel’ captures fleeting moments using structurally challenged materials, manipulating their dual characteristics. As I unravel the layers typically obscured by our daily existence, I stitch together textures and patterns of my own and our collective histories. I embrace the imperfections as I move closer to the center.”
B.J. Kocen, co-director of the Glave Kocen Gallery adds, “This is easily one of the most ambitious exhibits we’ve ever mounted. Jenn and I are very inspired by it.” The Glave Kocen Gallery is at 1620 Main Street, Richmond, Va.
–Elizabeth Howard, art editor
Featured immage: Above the Rye, Gray Dodson,Share this post with your friends.