Two Sculptors in Two Dimensions

Two Sculptors in Two Dimensions
Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein

Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein are creative forces to be reckoned with, and 119 Gallery is pleased to rein a portion of their individual and collective energies into the gallery this spring. Two Sculptors in Two Dimensions is a multi-media look at the converging and diverging paths, sensibilities, and media of these two artists, whose work runs the gamut from monumental outdoor sculpture to intimate statues, and compositions. Energy and composure proliferate in Dodson’s and Moerlein’s individual and collaborative work. –Mary Ann Kearns, curator

Both sculptors in wood, Dodson and Moerlein began working together several years ago. Since that time, they have shared artistic goals to realize their individual and joint creative efforts. Energized by their merger, they have undertaken large, public works, as well as individual series of prints and sculptures with corresponding themes. Their jointly created outdoor moose sculptures of wood saplings can be viewed towering majestically in downtown Nashua and Portsmouth, New Hampshire. This public art project was followed by simultaneous residencies by the artists in the Swiss Alps. In Verbier, Switzerland, Dodson and Moerlien each created their own monumental sculptures. Listening to nature and their intuition, their pieces are as much a part of their environment, as in it. At the same time, these sculptures are intrinsically connected to each artist’s own body of work.

The experimental nature of Dodson’s two dimensional works represents uncharted paths for the sculptor. Dodson’s totemic animal goddess sculptures result from the methodical decisions and actions she makes wielding chainsaw and chisel to shape the wood, while interacting with its grain to create her forms in a fluid fashion. Her spontaneous prints and drawings allow viewers a unique glimpse into her sculptural process. This series of abstracted animal figures reveals her process of using two-dimensional works to explore various possibilities of form and color normally restricted by sculptural materials.

The natural forces found in Moerlein’s sculptures and prints are universal and powerful. Using earthy and spiritual elements, his organic creations are vessels of personal symbolism. Upon close examination his message reveals stories of personal conflict and perseverance. Juxtaposing mass and color, his prints are tenuously balanced with the same finesse as his gravity challenging constructions. Suspended in tenuous and powerful arrangements, they remind us of the strength and frailty which we find in our lives and the universe.

The different approaches and shared paths of Dodson and Moerlein’s art reveal a mystical unity they channel from the cosmos, as well as from the natural and animal world. With attuned intuition and inspiration, their art is balanced in natural harmony. “Birds of a feather,” the artists take wing in divergent, intersecting, and parallel directions. They will host a panel discussion about collaboration, shared effort, and individual vision prior to the exhibit reception, on Sat April 14, at 2 pm.

Dodson and Moerlein are exhibiting in Boston Sculptors Celebrates Its 20th Anniversary, in the University Gallery at UMASS Lowell, April 2 – 26. Reception: April 4, 5 – 7 pm.

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