Craftsperson · Painter · Sculptor
Born August 14, 1939, Newburyport, Massachusetts
The activity of making works is important to me. I work every day. It is my way of processing the world around me.
Painting on paper and wood, sculpting in wood and mirrors, various woods, acrylic paint and gold leaf, Robert Dodge creates an imaginative mix of abstract styling with architectural references. By arranging colors and patterns in unique ways, Dodge attempts to avoid repeating what nature has already done.
A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Dodge was a professor of fine arts at Bucks County Community College from 1967 through 2005. He earned a degree in political science in 1963, and an MFA in 1966. He began working in painting, but has gained much recognition for his sculpture as well, including his winning of the Rome Prize Fellowship for two years' study in Italy. Dodge has exhibited locally and nationally, including at the James A. Michener Art Museum, and the Chrysler Museum of Art, Virginia. He has also had his work featured in publications such as The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Art Matters and American Craft Magazine.
Recently, Dodge has focused on recreating and redefining the chair:
“I have always been interested in architecture, and by extension, furniture. The chair sculptures play off of our myriad human connections to real chairs; our own favorite chair; a dining chair, the boss's chair, the king's throne, a dental chair, a child's chair. We look at a chair and make judgments; too hard, too soft, too high, too low, too wobbly, too elegant, too big, too small, just right. The chair sculptures take on an anthropomorphic quality. With personalities of their own they stand alone or interact in small groups; warmly dysfunctional, sometimes funny.”
In 2003 Dodge had an exhibition at the Philadelphia International Airport showcasing 500 chairs, approximately 2” – 6” high. His usage of a large quantity of chairs communicates the diversity to the viewer. In addition to creating full size, nonfunctional chairs, Dodge has been incorporating them into paintings. They are in a variety of positions and layers creating the illusion that there is no beginning or end, just a great, limitless expanse.
Robert Dodge's works are included in the James A. Michener Art Museum’s new permanent installation, Intelligent Design which opened in February, 2012.