“Knowing when to stop is the hardest thing.” —LD
After painting bright, expressionistic works for years, Lillian Dodson suddenly, somewhat accidentally, “fell in love with clay and my life changed when I touched it…but I don’t think I can explain what that was.” It was a sea change that might be considered an extension of the artist’s belief that her work is less about there being a typical and more about “a slow evolution.”
The pottery process was an immediate catch for an artist who enjoys to “continue to move…the ideas and the process—it doesn’t stand still.” The clay challenged her to have fun and at first she recreated elements of Renaissance paintings by Miranda and Cezanne for the ability to hold on to her connection to them. But the real appeal was the lack of repetition—that no two pieces could be alike.
Quickly, her unconventional spirit moved towards the abstract and the “freedom to explore shapes.” Works in unglazed clay became less about mimicking actual subjects and more about the unconscious. “I loved the movement of the clay and how it would fold and flop down. And I’d listen to the clay and what it would tell me.”
The organic approach of the artist—and the natural process of pottery—is the beginning, middle and end of her work, which often incorporates organic matter in individual pieces as well as collectively. Overall, the works relate more in character than in aesthetic—none are didactic translations of the artist’s passions. Instead, they are sweet and sturdy objects that quietly control their space and vibrate the artist’s sense of peace as she developed them. The beauty is the unique connection a viewer makes with a piece, and how that changes over time as we come to “see what we need to see.”