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 I moved to West Virginia in 2009 I began working in art with more passion and devotion than I had since I’d been in college. Since then it’s been 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 my various aesthetic and intellectual needs while also feeding my curiosity and satisfying my desire to be deeply involved in process, things like the concept of controlled randomness, symmetrical asymmetry, loving not knowing what the paint will do and then how do I then respond to that to bring everything else into balance. It seems so much a reflection of living life.
My current acrylic paintings have been very much inspired by local quiltmakers and their remarkable creations though my first introduction to the art of the quilt came in the summer of ’65 when I 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, I found that I had produced a piece that very much echoed the structured format of a quilt yet was incorporating my inherent love of responding to the enthusiasm and drive of the paint itself… it was a series of small contained chaotic events. That work is currently expanding itself.
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.
I loved painting, and one of my teachers, Eugene Baguskas, urged me to transfer to the Academy of Art Philadelphia, telling me that I was a painter. I may have been, but I lacked confidence and after much hamming and hawing ended up in fabric design. Only a full summer spent the Penland school of arts and crafts saved me from having to spend five years in college.
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 on my second marriage and 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 was expected to be.