James Dodd's upcoming exhibition continues his investigations into the creativity that seeps out of our suburbs, alleyways, and backyards. He is particularly interested in the creative impulses that lie closely with DIY, power tools and the domestic. Dodd celebrates cultures of fixing, adapting or making-do, leaning into the notion of the 'kludge' - a term applied in engineering contexts, to describe a quick solution that might be clumsy, inelegant, inefficient or hard to maintain. The Kludger invests in this context as a place to play and to elevate objects, actions and outcomes from this to be considered in the strata of the art world.
Backwoods is excited to present the latest iteration of Dodd’s ongoing Painting Mill project. Revolving around a kind of mutant power tool contraption that appears as if it has tumbled out of a garden shed, this seemingly ramshackle conglomeration of bicycles, cordless drills and remote controls is used as a key component in the creation of paintings. The process is thrown open as a kind of performance as the artist wrestles with the unwieldy device, exploring outcomes that both give in to and embrace the limitations and cycles of the machine whilst seeking a fusion with the accumulated painting experience of the artist. At various points the paintings emphasise machine-like marks, resist the rigidity of digital processes and chase painterly viscera.
From June 27 the artist will undertake a two week open studio residence in the gallery during which audiences are invited to view the machine, process and action. The subsequent exhibition of resolved outcomes will be held on Friday July 12, concluding on July 21.
Since the early noughties, James Dodd has fostered a practice that straddles both gallery and public outcomes in an ongoing investigation of creativity in public space and expressions of suburbia. Early years spent marking and roaming the alleyways of Melbourne morphed into collection of scrawled graffiti and imagery as source components for text based paintings. This shifted into a specific interrogation of distinct scrawl from Australia’s Top End and other regional explorations. A youth spent riding BMX and doing skids, followed by years of wrenching in bike shops to support his art habit is the bedrock on which the artist shows us freak bikes, tall bike adventures as art and pedal powered tin boats. Adaptation, disassembly and disrepair as an everyday experience of growing up on a farm form the baseline of Dodd’s embrace of cobbling things together and making things work. It is James Dodd’s continued sifting through his experience to examine his own creative impulses and those inherently shared across communities that drive a radical curiosity and a constantly evolving visual arts practice that cannot be held in just one context.
This project has been supported by the Government of South Australia through Arts SA.
James Dodd exhibits regularly across Australia in publicly funded institutions, commercial galleries and artist-run spaces. He works across a range of mediums with particular interests in painting, machines as art, graffiti, adventure and public space. He maintains a curiosity in sheds, backyards suburbia and the creative activities and transgressions that occur in these spaces.
A recent significant and ongoing project is The Painting Mill; a contraption that is cobbled together from a range of household, shed-found and DIY parts such as cordless drills, rollerblades and bicycles, which are operated via remote control. The Painting Mill becomes somewhat performative in its presentation whilst also pursuing painted outcomes that can be engaging in their own right
Dodd is active as an educator at Adelaide Central School of Art and regularly delivers youth and community based arts programs across a range of outcomes. In the last 12 months James Dodd has been shortlisted for a number of prizes including the Advertiser Contemporary Art Award, the Sunshine Coast Art Prize, the Bruny Island Prize, the John Leslie Prize and the Heysen Prize for Landscape.
2009 Completed Masters of Visual Arts – South Australian School of Art, Uni SA
2000 Completed Bachelor of Visual Arts (Hons) – South Australian School of Art, Uni SA
SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS
2018 Adapter, Hanging Valley, Melbourne
2017 Miller, Hugo Michell Gallery, Adelaide
2016 Shed Wizard, Country Arts S.A. touring exhibition
Painting Mill, Bus Projects, Melbourne
A Chat with Fred, Artspace Gallery, Adelaide Festival Centre
2015 Pigment High, Hugo Michell Gallery, Adelaide
2014 A Hole in the Fence, Lindberg Galleries, Melbourne
Sabotage, Contemporary Art Centre of S.A., Adelaide
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS
2018 Climate Century, Vitalstatistix and Country Arts S.A., various sites
Fresh Blood, Backwoods Gallery, Melbourne
2017 Exercises for Lazy Eyes, Town Hall Gallery, Adelaide
Series of Unexpected Events, with OSCA Projects, City of Onkaparinga
Dream Machines, Hazelhurst Regional Gallery & Arts Centre
Snake Sessions, with Branch Nebula and Country Arts S.A.
2016 This is a Border (Town), with Country Arts S.A.
2015 CACSA Contemporary 2015, Various venues, Adelaide
do it, Anne & Gordon Samstag Museum of Art, Adelaide
Home and Away, Twenty Thirty Seven, Sydney
Paramor Prize, Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre
Colour is the Devil, Firstdraft Gallery, Sydney
University of Queensland Art Museum
National Gallery of Australia
Australian National Maratime Museum
Gold Coast City Art Gallery