Lucy Dodd’s new paintings teem with life and movement, relaying moments of liveliness, chaotic action and alchemical energy. A panoply of forms – orbs, arches, streaks, bodily imprints – coalesce and morph from one edge of the composition to another, at times at a monumental scale as in works such as Birth of a Living Heart (2021) and Heart’s Recovery (2021). In all their exuberance and diversity, the paintings in Heart Overture – Dodd’s latest exhibition with Sprüth Magers and her first at the Los Angeles gallery – also hold within them a sense of evolution and becoming.
The artist has always taken an unconventional approach to the shapes and presentations of her paintings, and the installation in Heart Overture is no exception: its layout represents a concerted, cyclical journey from the smallest painting in the exhibition, What the World Needs Now (2021), to the show’s largest work and the last to be completed, Love’s Discovery (2021), whose scale and dimensions have seeded the rest of the installation.
An ‘overture’ is a proposal, a prelude; it invokes a beginning, like a curtain opening at the start of a performance. This body of work is the culmination of a seven-year cycle of paintings that, at the same time, introduces a new collaborative method of picture-making for the artist – one that has pushed her canvases into fresh aesthetic territories. Wanting to breakaway from painterly processes that she had come to master, Dodd called in the people closest to her, including her children, to help reinvent her approach and, in the process, to embark on a more vulnerable and open-ended means of working.