Lois Dodd | Ellen Siebers
1326 South Boyle Avenue
Saturday, June 1 at 6:00 PM 8:00 PM
Ends Jul 3, 2024
parrasch heijnen is pleased to present Lois Dodd | Ellen Siebers, a cross-generational exhibition of recent works by Maine- and New York City-based painter Lois Dodd and new works by Hudson, NY-based painter Ellen Siebers. Lois Dodd (b. 1927, Montclair, NJ) is known for her potent paintings, made en plein air, of the natural world - most often of specimens encountered throughout her Mid-Coast Maine property. In Dodd’s works, trees and branches are framed against the sky, cutting and darting across tonal grounds (Elm Tree in December, 2020); flowering plants stand at attention in bud and bloom (Mayberry, 2023 and Apple Tree in Bloom - May, 2021); seed pods and pine cones are depicted at close range, a study of their natural geometries (Dried Pods, 2022 and Pine Cone, 2023). The artist’s long-term pursuit of beauty is depicted in each work through a series of the quick-succession decisions necessitated by her single-sitting, plein air methodology. Dodd’s palette is fantastical, barely: each image seems to be rendered to express what she feels as much as what she sees during her deeply observational process. In a 2007 conversation with Bill Maynes, Dodd described her experience employing this strategy, “Not everybody seems to see the world that they’re living in… and it’s such a kick, really seeing things.” Impossibly fluorescent greens, luminous mauve, and porous aqua resonate in a harmonious evocation of the richness, the lushness, of the living world. Dodd’s paintings, encapsulations of a painter’s view of her world, put plain beauty on full display. Ellen Siebers (b. 1986, Madison, WI) makes highly atmospheric, evocative paintings, with an eye, too, toward life, nature, and quotidian phenomena. In Siebers’ works and process, memory plays a central role; rather than employing a strict plein air strategy, as Dodd does, Siebers’ paintings are often descriptions of scenes or experiences which she studied and reflected upon at length. Siebers has described this process as one which demands practice: looking and seeing - two related but distinct acts - come before rehearsing and testing her memory, all in anticipation of returning to the studio to develop and render her paintings. In works like dusk, 2024, a J.M.W. Turner-esque image of a glowing sun setting over its own reflection, Siebers’ palette calls to mind a recollection of a vista; Payne’s grey and burnt umber set the dusky stage, and a raw sienna orb floats downward, toward its counterpart below. Much as in Dodd’s works, Siebers’ paintings call a feeling to mind. In plums, 2024, cool light illuminates round fruits on an indeterminate surface, recalling the preciousness of stone fruit before spring’s arrival - a balm, and reminder of anticipated plentitude, in the barren winter months. Similarly, two moths, 2024, uses strategies of illumination - imagine a candle, excluded in Siebers’ framing, brightening the forms from below, as in Georges de la Tour’s baroque works; and, above, consider the rich, warm, evening light, “magic hour” - to evoke a sensation of awe. Siebers’ unique, trademark mode of painterly looseness, most readily visualized by conspicuous brushstrokes and striations of her brushes’ fibers, allows a viewer a moment’s glimpse into the pull of her forearm or flick of her wrist through the developing image, wrought with feeling engendered by the distance of observational memory. As Siebers considers her long standing appreciation for Dodd’s works and practice, she notes that “Observation gives way to the importance of each brush stroke, in devotion to process.” Lois Dodd and Ellen Siebers undeniably share a mutual interest in not just the fundamentals of painting but the beauty of their earthly surroundings. With an eye toward this affinity, Siebers has noted: “The impulse to create work that relates to the concept of beauty has at times felt vulnerable. Unlike historically male counterparts, when a woman is interested in beauty it is often linked to femininity or sentimentality…. However, historically when they are tied to women artists, those concepts lack intellectual rigor. For me, [Lois Dodd’s] work challenges this, never paying it any mind. This helped inspire me to consider the idea of beauty as a serious conceptual conceit.” To that end, in both Dodd’s and Siebers’ works, images of life – animal, vegetable, mineral – are rendered, often transforming the quotidian into something extraordinary. At the root, both Ellen Siebers and Lois Dodd are engaged with and participating in the millenias-long tradition of their media. Their works revel in the possibility of beauty and visual poetry - and the capacity to depict a fleeting experience or sensation - in each lived moment. Lois Dodd has dedicated over seven decades to capturing her immediate surroundings at home in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, rural Mid-Coast Maine, and the Delaware Water Gap. Dodd studied at the Cooper Union in the late 1940s. She was one of the five founding members of the legendary Tanager Gallery, among the first artist-run cooperative galleries in New York, and is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the National Academy. Since 1954, her work has been the subject of over seventy one-person exhibitions. Her small, intimate paintings are typically completed in a single plein-air sitting, featuring varied subjects like New England outbuildings, vibrant summer gardens, dried plants, moonlit skies, and interior window views. Dodd revisits familiar motifs throughout the year, yielding dramatically different results. As Lucy R. Lippard emphasizes, Dodd’s paintings are “like small poems composed with deceptively simple words,” resonating with viewers long after the initial encounter. Lois Dodd's exhibition is presented in cooperation with Alexandre Gallery, New York. Ellen Siebers is a painter based in Hudson, NY. She received her BFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2008 and her MFA from the University of Iowa in 2012. Siebers was awarded the Elizabeth Greenshields Grant (2023), Vermont Studio Center Grant (2014), the University of Iowa Quarter-time Teaching Assistantship (2009-12), the Iowa Quarter-time Fellowship (2009), and the Mildred Pelzer Lynch Fellowship (2011-12). Her recent solo and group exhibitions include: parrasch heijnen (Los Angeles, CA); The Approach (London, UK); Dans les yeux D’Elsa (Paris, FR); Harper’s Gallery (East Hampton, NY); MARCH (New York, NY), among others. parrasch heijnen held the gallery’s first solo exhibition of Siebers’ work entitled dream song, in 2023. Ellen Siebers is represented by parrasch heijnen.
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