A few years ago, I stumbled across Donna Dodson's work while researching female characters. Dodson sculpts supernatural beings that fuse animal spirits with potent, yet gracious female archetypes. Her work also has a subtle sense of humor: These appear to be women of power, and yet the simplified animal heads gives them a mysterious sense of appeal, and even playfulness.
(Art copyright Donna Dodson, photographer unknown.)
Most of Dodson's figures seemed dressed for important social occasions. They wear long gloves, and the way Dodson works with the
natural flow of the wood grain suggests they are wearing sophisticated, well
tailored evening gowns. Even though they seem to come from some distant past,
their supernatural poise puts them in touch with contemporary style and classic
fashions. If they were entering a hotel or restaurant, I would be sure to hold the door open for them.
Dodson's sculptures are also, well, voluptuous. I gather that Dodson's aim is to show that humanity needs to reconnect with nature and sensuality. It's somewhat suggestive yes, but I can see a Joseph
Campbell flavor running throughout her work. The sculptures remind me of native American art with just a little
Vogue magazine blended in.The bold shapes and stony
silence of the pieces may make Dodson's work disturbing to some people. But I think the concept of cultured, powerful, yet vulnerable female beings is what our society needs to pause and reflect. Especially now in our violent and power hungry culture.