Portrait by: Gene Sasse 2012
Detail from - You Always Sleep Alone | Installation 2012

Stories from the Art: Dani Dodge

"Some of my work may not hang well over a couch, but I'm OK with that. Often my intention is to tell a deeper, more complex story than would fit well in an average living room." 

Her current work is intentionally rugged and real, and as she searches for her own truth Dani Dodge is compelled to create. Her creations can be bigger than life, her reality layered repeatedly upon itself to reveal a truth, to touch a nerve, to make people think, to cause them to react.

“My pieces all have rawness to them. The edges are raw, the paint is raw, I don’t want precision. I try very hard to avoid precision, because I think that there are a lot of unraveled edges when you are exploring the truth. You have to be willing to explore things that are messy and be willing to stop trying to be perfect. There is no perfection: but there is truth.”

Straight forward and frank, she creates from a place of self awareness that few of us can claim to have. Her history as a journalist and war correspondent suites her well in her current endeavours; though now writing with paint, with material, and with installations, she is still recording people’s lives and reporting on communal tales of tragedy, romance, intimacy and reality. “I’ve always been a story teller” she says.

Dani speaks from a place of experience as well as intuition, and though her words take various forms, her imaginings always come back to issues of truth, beauty, and justice. Dani puts forth a challenge to the viewer to see more, to see their own experiences, to layer their lives over her art and search for the depth of understanding that comes from fully knowing yourself.

The architectural elements she uses have touched her in some way. Found in thrift stores or stumbled upon on the street, in an alley or attic, they have a sense of history to them – and Dani creates a visual narrative that might have occurred in the life of the object – situations that the items may have witnessed before being discarded. Her compelling images, paintings and collages are based on the struggles we find within ourselves. Struggles within Dani as well as her viewers.

“I am satisfied when I can tell the story. When I can tell the story I need to tell. I am satisfied when I can pull together elements that are so innovative and unique that people have to look and then see something of themselves.”

She makes art because it's a part of who she is, a part of her essence to put together these pieces; abstract line, human form, symbolic gesture or in-your-face images, she strikes a nerve in all of us and calls us to examine the truth with a vulnerability that can be as frightening as it is beautiful.

Paper Planes | Mixed-Media 2012
Bedspread Biography | Mixed-Media 2012
Curator: Gene Sasse
Writer: Laurie Morrison
©2013 Inland Empire Museum of Art
All Art © by The Artist