Once a shipwright, Dodds’ paintings illustrate the anatomy of boats, revealing the materials and curves that underwrite the finished vessel. This aspect of his work is explored in Emily Harris’ film for Classic Yacht TV, ‘Shaped by the Sea’, which draws many parallels between the art of the boat builder and the painter of boats.
Yet his paintings go beyond retracing the shipwright’s logic. Rich in colour, tone and texture, they move beyond the literal and evoke sailing’s mythic and historic dimensions. Ethereal in light and tone, paintings of restored boats evoke a lifetime at sea, unearthing the layers of memory that shroud every vessel.
Ancestral lines also resurface in the artist’s new work. Following recent trips to Norfolk and Denmark, Dodds sheds new light on historic North Sea crossings, contending that all clinker-built boats around the British coastline derive from Viking vessels.
As Ian Collins writes: “[Dodds’] life and work are forever immersed in the spirit and spectacle of the sea.” Born in Brightlingsea, Dodds has built his studio a few miles upstream in Wivenhoe, in what was once a great boatyard on the River Colne. Before enrolling in the Royal College of Art he worked as a shipwright, rebuilding Thames barges on Britain’s east coast.
2015 Messum’s, London 2013 Messum’s, London 2013 Bircham Contemporary Arts, Holt, Norfolk 2012 Dowling Walsh, Rockland, Maine, USA 2012 Hayletts Gallery, Maldon, Essex 2012 Drang Gallery, Padstow 2011 Church Street Gallery, Saffron Walden, Essex 2011 Messum’s, London 2010 ‘James Dodds and the Jardine Press’, Lewis Elton Gallery, University of Surrey 2010 Dowling Walsh, Rockland, Maine USA 2010 Buckenham Galleries, Southwold 2009 ‘American Boats’, Messum’s, London 2009 ‘25 Years of Jardine Press’, Messum’s, London 2009 Bircham Gallery, Holt (two man show with Stephen Henderson) 2008 Haylett’s Gallery, Maldon 2007 Messum’s, London 2006 Messum’s, London 2005 Hartlepool Art Gallery 2005 ‘Time & Tide’, Great Yarmouth 2004 Messum’s, London 2003 National Maritime Museum, Greenwich 2003 National Maritime Museum of Cornwall 2002 Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, Durham 2002 Quay Art Centre, Isle of Wight 2002 Black Swan Arts, Frome, Somerset 2002 Herne Bay Museum & Art Gallery, Kent 2002 Whitstable Museum & Art Gallery, Kent 2001 firstsite @ The Minories, Colchester
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