Transitive states, simultaneous multiplicities, and the trouble with (or the troubling of) definition are central concerns in Harry Dodge’s interdisciplinary practice. Continental philosophy, stand-up comedy, the politics of representation (what can be, and is “represented”), natural science, and queer theory constitute the spasmodic mix of conventions, influences, and obsessions that inform MEATY BEATY BIG AND BOUNCY, an exhibition that, as its title suggests, communicates weighty ideas betwixt and between buoyantly fleshy drawings, sculptures, and videos.
The two videos Unkillable (2012), presented in the Camera Obscura, and THE ASS AND THE LAP DOG, presented in the Sound Gallery, physically bracket the profusion of drawings and sculptures installed across the floor and walls of the Opatrny Gallery. Dodge’s narratives create purposefully unstable situations; the videos jump from the real to the surreal, and act as a catalyst for fluidity, wherein protagonist, antagonist, audience, main plot, sub-plot, and script ceaselessly meander, intertwine, and flip around. Artist, performers, and viewer are interwoven points of origin and departure in his intricately folded and contoured stories.
A predilection for fluidity over fixity also pervades the sculptures. Everything Shouts Together (2013) has an overall figurative affect, containing hard and soft edges, locked as well as flexible appendages, and elements which signify solids and liquids. This sculpture, like all those on view, is resolutely non-binary; it presents a (complicated) situation of flux, a renegotiation of the available options. The variously sized drawings on paper, canvas, and board, which complete the exhibition’s trilogy of media, puzzle through the space between presence and absence, the named and the undefined, and investigate the contours of that which defies categorization— what may not be visible or valued, but is present nevertheless, often hovering at the threshold of what can be seen.
A threshold, like an edge, is both within and without, a rim over which contents spill, a boundary (of nature, the body, the mind) whose apparent limits can be pushed, tested, and potentially transgressed. The gaps produced by the videos, the elements of flux and flow in the sculptures, and the hybrid space of the drawings, are each transitive zones that Dodge beckons the viewer into—indeterminate spaces that allow us, for however long we can bear it, to be more than the sum of our parts.
Kelly Taxter, Curator.