Harry Dodge: Works of Love at JOAN

Shotgun Review

Harry Dodge: Works of Love at JOAN

By Olivia Leiter September 18, 2018

Shotgun Reviews are an open forum where we invite the international art community to contribute timely, short-format responses to an exhibition or event. If you are interested in submitting a Shotgun Review, please click this link for more information. In this Shotgun Review, Olivia Leiter reviews Harry Dodge: Works of Love at JOAN in Los Angeles, California.

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“Consenting not to be a single being” is a phrase borrowed from the cultural theorist and poet Édouard Glissant, who proposes that we can feel in solidarity with others only by accepting our irreducible differences.

Harry Dodge’s current show at JOANWorks of Love, begins with Accidental Megastructure (2018), a sculpture comprising aluminum, speed-rail joints, and a found carnival mask of the Incredible Hulk. In a society in which control operates through making bodies easily quantifiable, wearing a mask and preserving one’s unknowability or “right to opacity,”1 as Glissant terms it, is a form of resistance.

Dodge extends Glissant’s vision of solidarity to include our relationship to the nonhuman: smaller sculptures on pedestals, like Invisible Helpers (Works of Love #2) (2017), feel like gadgets on display while larger sculptures, like Pure Shit Hotdog Cake (2017), are anthropomorphically scaled. The work’s glossy, black enamel surfaces recall laptop screens while welding marks and drips of resin make the artist’s labor visible.

Harry Dodge. Black Transparency (The Cloud Polis draws revenue from the cognitive capital of its Users), 2017; polyethylene bucket, resin, aluminum, rocket-ship vent, aluminum, wood, paint, hardware, and speed-rail joints; 71 x 61 x 21 inches. Installation view, JOAN, Los Angeles, 2018. Courtesy of the Artist. Photo: Paul Salveson. 

There is a larger conversation at play about the mutability of the body. Each sculpture appears to be falling apart and being constructed simultaneously. In one piece, the action of paint spilling out of a bucket is frozen in time; in another, a steel rod is bent in such a way that it barely touches the ground. Containers and modular structures exist only to emphasize that materials have the possibility to ooze out of them. Of course, calculated effort is required to achieve the illusion that sculptures are on the verge of collapse. The contained precarity of Dodge’s sculptures calls attention to their very constructedness. 

The focus of Dodge’s show seems to be on finding points of connection. Dodge emphasizes the physical edges of things: the point of contact between an object and the floor, paint spilling over the lid of a container, joints and screws attaching parts together. When Glissant argues for “the right to opacity,” he does not advocate that individuals become hermetically sealed, but that they find new ways of interacting which allow for indeterminacy. Dodge’s sculptures present identity as contradictory, leaky, and defined by its relation to others. 

Harry Dodge: Works of Love is on view at JOAN in Los Angeles through September 30, 2018.

Notes

  1. Édouard Glissant, Poetics Of Relation (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1997), 189.

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