“The signs of the zodiac are karmic patterns; the planets are the loom, the will is the weaver.”
– Edgar Cayce
Zodiac, Donna Dodson’s fourth solo exhibition at the Boston Sculptors Gallery, will be on view September 7 to October 9, 2016. In her newest body of sculptural work, Dodson has created two parallel series, referencing both the animal characters associated with the Chinese, or Eastern zodiac, as well as the sun signs of the Western zodiac. Dodson’s exhibition offers us a menagerie of compelling creatures carved in wood.
Based on birth years from the beginning of time to the present day, the Chinese zodiac assigns an animal to each year in a repeating twelve-year cycle. Each of the twelve animal characters is believed to possess distinct attributes. With roots in ancient Egypt and Greece, the Western zodiac is based on astrological constellations corresponding to the sun’s position at birth. Over time, each of these constellations has assumed their own unique mythological identity. Curiously, the zodiac has only rarely been the subject of contemporary art.
Carving has taken a new direction in Dodson’s work, and technical surprises and breakthroughs abound. Due to a windfall of wood, she has been able to experiment, creating sculpture in woods such as mulberry, apple, spalted maple, and cherry. The anthropomorphic deities in Dodson’s signature work have morphed into allegories, icons and symbols in which realism and representation play a greater role.
While some interpretations of the Western zodiac characters seem obvious, like Leo the Lion, Taurus the Bull, and Aries the Ram, others resist obvious characterizations. Would anyone associate Aquarius with a Beaver? Or Libra with a Falcon? Virgo with a Penguin? In Zodiac, Dodson takes on these peculiar associations and promises to engage the imagination of the casual viewer as well as that of the art connoisseur.
Boston Sculptors Gallery
September 7- October 9, 2016
Gallery Hours: Wed. – Sun. 12 – 6pm
Related programming and special events:
First Friday Receptions: Sept. 9 & Oct. 7, 5-8pm Featuring a world premiere of experimental electronic music by Blue Sky Catastrophe at each reception.
The Art of Collecting: A Forum & Luncheon: Sept.10, 12-2pm
Panelists include: Arlette Kayafas, Director of Gallery Kayafas, Toni Gaspard, Art Collector, Leah Triplett Harrington, Editor of Big, Red & Shiny and Kalimah Muhammad, Member of Boston Sculptors Gallery. Sponsored by Boston Art Dealers Association & Hosted by Boston Sculptors Gallery
United South End Artists Open Studios:
Sept. 24 & 25, 12-6pm
Global Mashup: A Roundtable Conversation About Aesthetics: Oct. 2, 2-4pm
Panelists include Kemin Hu, Collector and Expert on Chinese Scholar’s Rocks, James Kodera, Professor of Religion at Wellesley College and Al Miner, Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Sponsored by Artscope Magazine