Tomory Dodge

Tomory Dodge

Tomory Dodge

Tomory Dodge didn’t find his way to abstraction by steeping himself in theory and assembling a rigorous conceptual framework. Rather, as he tells it, a little sheepishly, “I sort of stumbled into abstract painting.” While a grad student at California Institute of the Arts in the early 2000s, he would drive out to the desert and take photographs for inspiration for his representational paintings. His snapshots weren’t very good—sometimes he wouldn’t even bother looking at them—so he’d resort to making up the image. The whole process began to feel like an “unnecessary burden,” he says, especially because the fun stuff was the abstraction, the little bits on the edges of the recognizable image. He’d save that for last, like the favorite part of a meal. His attention started to drift from the ostensible subject, say a Joshua tree or a tunnel. “The subject matter got pushed out until it wasn’t there anymore,” he recalls.

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