About Paul Dodgson
Paul Dodgson uses natural materials and humour to tell tragicomic stories about people doing things.
The desire to tell stories has lead to filmmaking, animation, puppetry, live action, scripted dialogue, performance and ritual. Many of Paul Dodgson’s pieces are made of carved and painted wood or glazed pottery. He believes traditional materials and techniques do not confuse or alienate people but rather encourage familiarity and acceptance of the artwork. Everyone has a teapot or a wooden spoon. The traditional forms, materials and techniques of folk and religious art tell stories that people are ready to go along with. This is a strategy for delivering a subversive message.
Driven by a deep distrust of those who pretend to power, Dodgson highlights the ambivalence of heroic figures, often subverting them with an absurd gesture or miniaturizing them to the size of dolls. Business Model (2013) consists of 6 carved and painted wooden figures of business men genuflecting, crawling and posing. This is a satirical critique of the perfidious men in suits.
From a theatrical family, Paul Dodgson’s earliest experiences were of acting; prop, costume and scenery making. He has created an array of absurd characters including characters based upon himself. In the video piece Fe(O)OH (2016) Dodgson casts himself as the artist on a semi-comic quest into the wilderness to seek a type of red mud to make a body print with. It is like low budget homage to the kind of tacky body art popular in the 1960’s.
The artist, in a collaboration with writer Ben Watts and filmmaker Matthew L Bamber made the short film Black Allen (2016). The main character, played by Dodgson, “becomes the unwitting champion of a workers revolt as a shipyard is brought to its knees over its foul tasting tea. A nine minute film of found footage, live action and puppetry to visualize an absurd narrated poem. The resulting work sits somewhere between German expressionism and a 1970s British public service broadcast…”
A great admirer of physical theatre and the great clowns: the mock-serious tone of this film sets the keynote for much of Dodgson’s work where the stereotype is countered by humanity and a message of empowerment is shared with a joke.
Paul Dodgson was born in Manchester, England in 1963 and lives in Stockport, Cheshire, England. He gained an MA Sculpture from the Royal College of Art. London, England in 1994. Since 2001 he has worked as Senior Technician at the Whitworth Art Gallery, University of Manchester, Manchester. England. He was also a Lecturer in Fine Art Sculpture, BA Fine Art at the University Centre Blackburn from 2001 to 2013.
Recent one person exhibitions in the UK include Who’s Who (2011), Central Art Gallery and Library, Ashton under Lyne. Paul Dodgson, Recent Sculptures and Drawings (2012), Doncaster Museum and Art Gallery, Doncaster.
Recent group exhibitions in the UK include: Android (2012), 4a Piccadilly Place, Manchester. “Chapel Gallery Open” (2012), Chapel Gallery, Ormskirk. Discerning Eye (2012), Mall Gallery, London. If Not Now, When? (2014), Didsbury Parsonage, Manchester. A6 Dialogues (2014), 3rd floor gallery, Crusader House, Manchester.
Sculpture Open (2014), Royal Birmingham Society of Artists, Birmingham.
Open Call (2015), Bankley Studios and Art Gallery, Manchester.
A6 Dialogues (2015), Bankley Studios and Art Gallery, Manchester.
Process (2016), Bankley Studios and Art Gallery, Manchester.
Singing Oscilloscope (2016), Short film category, Winnipeg Underground Film Festival, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Mono (2017), PS Mirabel, Manchester.
5D (2017) SLOE Gallery, Manchester
Play (2017) Bankley Studios and Gallery, Manchester
Residencies at Grizedale Arts in the Grizedale Forest, Cumbria. England in 1999 and 2000 resulted in 2 sculptures permanently sited on the Grizedale Forest Sculpture Trail.
After graduating from the RCA, Paul Dodgson made a series of large abstract structures, like theatrical scenery or environments, including two works in 2000 that are permanently sited in Grizedale Forest.
The problems experienced constructing large sculptures with brick clay on a residency at a brick factory in the Czech Republic forced him to make small, intimate figures. After this, he inverted his thinking and instead of making the scenery, he started making the actors.