Patrick Dodd

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"In essence, I have no nation, no nationality, or rather, I should say I am a citizen of the world."


I am a native of France, born to an African-American father and a French mother. My career as a painter started in France in the early 1990’s inspired by French painter Jean Dubuffet (1901-1985). In 1991, I immigrated to the United States to reunite with my father. I moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where I earned my B.A, M.A and Ph.D (on the literary work of Haitian-Québécois novelist Dany Laferrière) at the University of Michigan. My study of literature has influenced my painting, forming a symbiotic relationship with the visual art in new and unpredictable ways. Today I live in New York City, where I continue to work as a studio artist.

Series of paintings with words

These paintings are inspired by my experience as both insider and outsider in the United States. When  I came to the United States as an adult to get to know my African-American father and family, and I became conscious in a new way of what it means to be “Black.” Coming from a country where 'métissage' (being of mixed heritage) has concrete meaning – where you are neither black nor white, yet both, where you
are allowed to embody both your father and mother’s skin, I was paralyzed by American definitions. I understood that you do not choose who you are here. These paintings respond to this notion, insisting on choice: my color(s) are those beneath my skin, waiting simply to be seen, to be recognized but not feared. My series of geometrical word paintings tell the story of my introduction to race in the United States, entering as part of the African diaspora: they bare what is in front of our eyes, what many of us know, but are afraid to see. They are like billboards, purposefully composed with the vivid, fluorescent paint of road signs to ensure that we face these public secrets. I paint words in relief so that they can be read even by touching, to better allow recognition of words that are difficult to speak. They expose the statistical truths that make up our daily realities; so in each painting, I speak back to these numbers to ask why -- must it be this way? Framed as windows onto a different reality, I want viewers to feel the distance from society that was crucial in the conception of the painting, as I want them to face this reality.

Series of geometrical portraits 

These paintings continue this exploration of what is beneath and beyond race. Influenced both by my experiences in the United States, and by my years spent in Africa, I play with the trope of masks, but here, they reveal not what covers the face, but what is hidden under the skin. With all the colors that are not black and white, I paint faces not yet able to speak. These are the people waiting to become, yet they are also all of us as we already are, in our irreducible difference and refracted color. I use my fingers to paint their backgrounds, creating a safe space for them to appear as they genuinely are, both as individuals and in groups. I use colored pencils for the faces, relying on their simplicity and playfulness to engage the senses. With deep and provocative eyes, in finger-marked landscapes, they stare back, inquiring. As with the word paintings, they command the viewer to see them without guilt, shame or denial; to recognize their unique beauty.

Solo Exhibitions:

2011 -- Studio Opening, New York City, NY, USA

2009 -- Studio Opening, New York City, NY, USA

2007 -- Studio Opening, New York, NY, USA

2005 -- Red Apple Gallery, Detroit, MI, USA

2004 -- Red Apple Gallery, Detroit, MI, USA

2003 -- Red Apple Gallery, Detroit, MI, USA

2001 -- Johanson Charles Gallery, Detroit, MI, USA

2000 -- Michigan Guild Gallery, Ann Arbor, MI, USA

1999 -- Museum of Naïf Art (Halle St. Pierre), Paris, France

1998 -- Zeitgeist Gallery, Detroit, MI, USA

1997 -- Noah’s Gallery, Ann Arbor, MI, USA

Group Exhibitions (Selected list):

2006 -- Zeitgeist Gallery, Detroit, MI, USA

2006 -- Dell Pryor Gallery, Detroit, MI, USA

2005 -- Charles Wright Museum of African-American History, Detroit, MI, USA

2004 -- Red Apple Gallery, Detroit, MI, USA

2004 -- Gallery Space 237, Toledo, OH, USA

2003 -- N’Namdi Gallery, Detroit, MI, USA

2003 -- Red Apple Gallery, Detroit, MI, USA

2002 -- Zeitgeist Gallery, Detroit, MI, USA

2001 -- Noah’s Gallery, Detroit, MI, USA

2001 -- Galerie Claudine Ratié, Paris, France

2000 -- JLC Building, Detroit, MI, USA

1999 -- Zeitgeist Gallery, Detroit, MI, USA

1997 -- Museum of Naif Art (Halle St. Pierre), Paris, France

1996 -- Galerie Jacques, Ann Arbor, MI, USA