With humour, formal innovation and an impeccably talented hand, Elliot Dodd’s work elucidates the pervasive yet surreptitious powers of masculinity, technology and consumerism.
Dodd warps dominant codes of male identity, technology and capital in order to better understand and, in many cases, belie them. His intrepid practice spans video, drawing, sculpture and VR technologies, while he has had a range of commissioned work, by institutions from the Royal Academy of the Arts to Vimeo’s Daata Editions. Throughout his works on paper and on screen, cars, corporate logos and other symbols of financial power and masculinity are subverted into fluid, rubbery forms.
- The Doctor for Daata Editions with Vimeo, 2018
- Group show, Semi-Self Reflections, at the Rockelmann &, Berlin, 2017
- Group show, Virtually Real, at the Royal Academy of the Arts with HTC Vive, London, 2017
- Solo Presentation Booth at SUNDAY Art Fair with Evelyn Yard, London, 2016
- Group show, Event Horizon at Gabriel Rolt Gallery, Amsterdam, 2014
In his digital works, the picture quality often falls in and out of pixelated landscapes, blurring on-screen and off-screen realities by recalling a digital interface or loading screen. Complicating these seductive popular formats and patriarchal symbols, Dodd exposes our personal desires as unavoidably wrapped up in power structures that are so pervasive that we often fail to see them.
Dodd’s work brings humour to an archetypal symbol of masculine power – the penis. His immensely detailed pencil drawings blend academic precision of tone and form with a childish sense of humour: a scrumpled scrotum holding giant bulbous eyes, phallic veiny tubes blown up like armbands, and disembodied smiles with the resilient flaccidity of a frankfurter sausage. Pewpew (VenomHex) is a long rectangular drawing that depicts a machine gun with absurd phallic modifications, floating in flat, fleshy negative space; Dodd’s signature eyeball is in place of the viewfinder on the gun and saggy folds of skin fall from the barrel.
As if digitally rendered, the image is incredibly robust. The highly-skilled drawing renders the technical means of the work’s creation as seemingly untraceable, mirroring the untraceable nature of the inherited roles of violent masculinity the work ridicules.
Dodd’s process performs the paradoxes that he deals with, as his work both relies on, yet simultaneously rejects the ideas that he explores. For example, in the video, Step to Aeration, he developed software that built digital characters through sliders that determined racial origin, height, and genitals. This placed Dodd in the position of god-like creator parallel to the societal norms that govern how identities are produced and portrayed.
For a number of works, Dodd incorporates factory fresh BMW cars and motorbikes, and workswith technologies such as Google’s 3D digital painting tool, Tilt Brush. Thus, Dodd finds himself directly engaging with the corporations that produce and perpetuate the modes of power he critiques: a nuanced act of negotiation with our moral compass that permeates everything we do. Funny, poignant and fastidiously astute, Dodd’s work elucidates intricate networks of power both ubiquitous and unseen, forcing his viewer to question the fundamentals upon which contemporary society is built.
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