Kathy Sullivan on Landscape as an abstraction (October 1999)


If you are familiar with the work of Dodi, you know that her inspiration often comes from nature, in all its forms.
“ in my daily walks in the countryside near our village of Mahes, I encounter the muted or bright combinations of colours which combine for the dynamic : wild and agitated, an experience I seek ,” she explains.
In the paintings selected for this exhibition, she says she tried to expand the idea of landscape by presenting a variety of approaches and a broad spectrum of moods, ranging from peaceful to forceful.

Some of the work blurs the line between representation and abstraction, creating through colour and shapes alone, with very few details. Closer inspection of certain works reveals shimmering palm branches which are nothing more than freely rendered brush and ink lines, images that somehow emerge out in relief. Others mold indefinable organic forms. In yet another set, there are golden touches that could be Chinese lacquer or even beaten metal, seemingly anything but simple paint.

She has also tried to create some especially lush and interesting compositions, which she refers to as disciplined structure enlivened by confrontations of anonymously rich mixed colours. Handmade iraq-al-ameer and Japanese papers add subtle irregularities, reinforced by these unexpected colour combinations.

The interior worlds of these abstracted landscapes are sometimes in harmony and sometimes in conflict. Yet always, they are self possessed despite their wholly unnatural hues or irrational colour relationships.

We can sense the strong spiritual roots in these works, inspired by the blue sky, rich earth browns, sap green trees, magenta flora, and ochre rocks. Meditation on her sources and interaction with her materials create something new : landscapes whose unusual points of view and unconventional colours feel like abstractions, and abstractions that feel like landscapes.

This exhibition demonstrates increasing mastery of sophisticated colour blending and ability to cleverly manage multiple layers of paper and pigment, transparent and opaque surfaces or metallic touches in the same piece. In certain works, her strong linear and spatial sense of rhythm, developed in previous periods, continues to dominate.

In the body of work shown here, we see a highly technical yet still playfully experimental artist who remains inspired by nature but is unafraid to push beyond its natural limits.

Kathy Sullivan Amman October 1999