Dani Dodge: PRIME
MOAH:CEDAR (Lancaster's Museum of Art & History Cedar Center for the Arts)
November 12, 2022 - January 22, 2023
PRIME is an exploration of place. An acknowledgment of the impact and power of location as an inspiration and means of transporting us beyond ourselves. Dani Dodge’s exhibition, PRIME, occupies each of MOAH: CEDAR’s three galleries. Works created by participants during Dodge’s 2019 residency at the Preserve are displayed in the lobby. In the North Gallery, Dodge constructs an interactive environment inspired by the Prime Desert Woodland Preserve and its sunrises. Imagery from her expeditions to the Preserve is created with gold leaf and pastels on layers of translucent curtains.
A 10-minute looping soundtrack of Dodge using her cello interspersed with the sound of animals at dawn accompanies the visual work to produce a dream-like environment. A metal mattrFess spring hangs in the center of the gallery as an artifact of a Mojave desert dig reminiscent of the one she saw in the Preserve. The twisted car mattress spring is emblematic of how human intrusion simultaneously modifies and is absorbed into the landscape. Visitors are invited to consider what locations bring them peace and to write those on slips of paper that they pin to the installation as they walk through.
In the South Gallery, Dodge shows three separate collections of work, and a second recovered metal mattress spring that was reshaped by nature after being discarded by humans into the desert. The collections include a video installation inspired by the images of animals at the Preserve captured on motion-sensor video cameras, a collection of paintings in gold leaf exploring her love of Joshua trees, and a collection of miniatures depicting Joshua tree sprouts that spell out nature’s cry for help in Morse Code.
Dani Dodge spent 2019 focused on the Prime Desert Woodland Preserve in Lancaster, California as an artist-in-residence. During her bi-weekly visits, she traversed the trails, connecting with the desert landscape and its residents. Unsure of how her presence might affect the wildlife, she installed motion-detecting video cameras to unobtrusively monitor the area when humans were not present. To serve as a counterbalance to her personal experience, she led monthly art activations at the Preserve that allowed participants to share their perspectives of the area through art. Although the residency concluded in December 2019, Dodge returned regularly to the Preserve to record the sounds and sights, and watch each New Year’s sunrise over the Joshua trees.