Lake in the Sky
April 29–June 17, 2017
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, works on paper, 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.
Framing the entrance to the exhibition is one 12-foot square canvas, almost reaching the ceiling, which functions both as a portal and grand entrance to the environment she has created beyond, asserting its status as a character in her drama. 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 SCOBYs. 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; SCOBYs for example are left on the canvas before being removed to reveal their traces.