Consistently pushing the boundaries of printmaking, Alex Dodge’s work often elicits a “how did he do that?” followed by an in-depth explanation of their creation and the various technical feats used to achieve it. Dodge’s most recent prints with Flying Horse Editions are no exception, with the images screenprinted on aluminum plates using epoxy inks and then embossed using 300 tons of pressure in a hydraulic press. Dodge used a CNC machine to create the embossing die and employed 3D software to simulate the eventual appearance of the surface of the print.
The allure of Dodge’s prints, however, extends beyond his technical virtuosity. For the last few years, he has experimented with depictions of cloth draped over an unknown object [see interview with the artist, Art in Print Jan–Feb 2019]. Dream Eater depicts yellow polka-dotted fabric draped over an ambiguous form, with the illusion of folds and gathered areas of fabric pooling at the base. The title is an oblique reference to baku, supernatural creatures from Japanese folklore that eats children’s bad dreams, but if summoned too frequently will also eat all dreams, good and bad. The visually similar Fear Not a Brooding Sky, but a Clouded Mind ups the ante by incorporating the title text as though printed on fabric banners draped over the polka-dotted textile. Dodge’s exploration of the folds and undulations of fabric translates beautifully to Twilight in the Moon Room, an image of a crumpled dollar bill.
Dodge’s inspirations vary widely, yet serve as parallels to contemporary concepts or situations. A baku, for example, is generally a figure of good, but can become a negative force with overuse, which led Dodge to consider “a creature…that ate bad news or lies, but if left unchecked, begins eating all the news indiscriminately.”1 Likewise, the fabric banner in Fear Not recalls the sashes worn by suffragettes in the early 20th century and brings to mind the visual identity of political protest then and now.2 The title Twilight in the Moon Room refers to the 1944 Bretton Woods conference, and more specifically the basement bar called the Moon Room, in which the U.S. dollar was made the standard for international exchange, a decision that contributed to the postwar rise of the United States as a hegemonic world leader, a position now in question on many fronts. Dodge’s work consistently rewards the curious viewer—those who want to know how it’s made, what’s under the cloth, or the meaning or symbolism of a text or reference.
- Email from the artist , 14 Nov 2018.