Jeff Dodd regularly travels from his home in northwestern Oklahoma to southwestern Kansas. His long journeys, which span 800 miles of prairieland, provide this self-described "obsessive painter" countless hours of inspiration. It was during these drives that each of the oil paintings included in this exhibit, titled On the Road: Midwestern Landscapes, was conceived.
Dodd's depictions of the rural landscapes are familiar to every Oklahoman. These small works pay tribute to Oklahoma's beauty from its magnificent sunsets with billowing clouds to the rolling hills of grain.
Dodd is an oil painter whose style of work does not fit into just one category. The landscapes in this exhibit exemplify many characteristics of the style of art known as Realism. This style is marked by the artist's authentic representation of what he or she sees, taking little or no artistic license in its interpretation. The paintings also show some characteristics of Impressionism, a 19th-century art movement known for its focus on the landscape as subject with an emphasis on light and the sun's passage of time. Dodd credits his greatest influences as Rembrandt, a renowned artist of Realism; Monet, the "father" of Impressionism; and Francis Bacon, an Abstract Expressionist painter.
"My art means everything to me," says Dodd. "Artists give a part of themselves to that which they create." Dodd also credits workmanship as a very important component in his work. Whether working on small-scale landscapes or large murals, superior workmanship is central to his artistic philosophy. As a result, Dodd was commissioned in the 1990s to create two murals, titled Oklahoma Black Gold and We Belong to the Land, to commemorate the oil and gas and agricultural industries of Oklahoma. These paintings are permanently on display on the fifth floor of the Capitol.
Besides his permanent art at the Capitol, Dodd's artwork has been commissioned and installed at the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa as well as the newly built Norman Regional Hospital HealthPlex. Although he began drawing as a child, he received his formal education from Southwestern Oklahoma Sate University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Art degree. He then moved on to graduate work at Wichita State University and then relocated to New York to study drawing at the Art Students League under distinguished teacher Tony Ryder. Dodd, who was born in Kingfisher, now lives and paints full-time in Enid, Oklahoma.