Elliot Dodd’s art is rich in cultural references, includes opposites and spans different mediums. It is distinctively of its time.
The assumption lies close that his point of view is not only grounded in time but equally tied to the influence of a specific socio-geographic location: London. The UK’s capital is where the artist lives and has been studying, finishing his fine art degree at the acclaimed Slade School of Fine Art in 2002. It is a city of contrasts, of flying financiers and world-renowned art institutions, of Charles Dickens and the smelly Thames, of chicken shops and Gordon Ramsay, of the east end and never ending gentrification.
In short, it is a city which contains worlds, and Elliot Dodd seems to move through them being keenly aware.
In his show at the Royal Academy of Art, one of London’s most prestigious museums and schools, a 3D printed sculpture made of plaster stands on a plinth facing a Constable canvas of respectable size.
Dodd’s works are colourful and exaggerated, often resembling figures or faces detached from their physical reality. They have a caricature-like appearance, voluminous and inflated, remarkably unfitting for the world they are made for.
In his 4k movies and animated films the characters disrupt the sleek language of consumerism and dominant behavioural models, often driven by stereotypes of masculinity. In ‘Limpid and Salubrious’ (2016) the glossy cinematic character of luxury advertising is disrupted by two protagonists replaying a poly-gendered discussion from Jane Eyre.
Their faces are covered by Dodd’s Blender-animated drawings which are colourful, surreal and naive. In them, playful bodies seems to meet a mind sharply aware of its political and economic surroundings.
Whether displayed by help of analogue or digital technology, there is an unmissable aesthetic which cuts through on both paper and screen.
The critical view of contemporary culture is accompanied by Dodd’s use of and experimentation with the newest technology accessible, making him as much a critic as a participant who skilfully oscillates between the two. In a collaboration between HTC Vive and the Royal Academy of Arts he drew sculptures in virtual reality software which allowed for the file to be swiftly processed to print-ready. The objects were then printed by a 3D printer using coloured plaster as a material.
“The drawings I make and, in a very similar way, the 3D print from this exhibition, are all attempts to diagramatise a mind state through making a logo-like reduction of bodily or psychological forces which I’m feeling.”