A person – perhaps an artist especially – cannot remain separate from their environment; they take it in; it becomes, quite literally, a part of them. When V Pendragon moved to West Virginia in 2009 she began working in art with more passion and devotion than she had since she’d been in college. She has been immersed an ongoing exploration of media and method that has ranged from collage through mixed-media into painting and then, within that context, exploring exactly what would satisfy her aesthetic and intellectual needs while also feeding her curiosity and satisfying her desire to be deeply involved in process, with things like the concept of controlled randomness, symmetrical asymmetry, responding to – as opposed to necessarily controlling – what the paint will do while simultaneously paying strict attention to composition.
Her current acrylic paintings have been very much inspired by local quiltmakers and their remarkable creations though her first introduction to the art of the quilt came in the summer of ’65 when she spent a full summer at the Penland School of Arts & Crafts in Ashville, NC in classes for weaving and vegetable dying.
Shortly after consulting on a quilting project early in 2018, she found that she had spontaneously generated a piece that very much echoed the structured format of a quilt yet was incorporating her inherent love of responding to the enthusiasm and drive of the paint itself… it was a series of small contained chaotic events. That work has currently expanded itself to become part of a visual metaphor for life on earth.
I grew up with art. My father’s best friend with a well-known Cuban artist, Luis Martinez Pedro. His work, on our walls; art was a part of our life and I have been making art for as long as I can remember. It was always assumed that I would go to art school and those lessons began when, as a child, I was signed up for Saturday classes at the Philadelphia Art Museum. I was an art major in high school and prepared a portfolio to apply to what was then the Philadelphia Museum College of Art. I was accepted.
In the late 80s my second husband and I worked together as the collaborative artist Victoria + Dodd. Our work was used for the opening graphics of the Introduction of the Bravo channel and a number of our larger pieces were purchased by the Children’s Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. During that time, however, I became ill with a disease that I was told would be fatal and, while it did not kill me, it did severely cripple my body which has now – except for my hands – recovered; my hands remain severely crippled.
The disease changed my outlook on working collaboratively and upon terminating my second marriage in 2008 I set out on my own. I began making art again, on my own. In 2009, I remarried and moved to West Virginia, where I had the great good fortune of being able to dedicate myself to my painting and, after all these years, becoming the painter that I had been expected to be.
My paintings have been a part of over 20 shows nationally, receiver two honorable mention awards, and are part of the corporate collections of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Moss Rehabilitation Hospital in Malvern, PA, and the Child Safe Center in Winchester, VA.
The series I am currently working on – Fish Out of Water – is an extended metaphor for our lives as humans on earth because we are, after all, as an old song once said, “spirits in the material world.