Biography for James Dodds RCA (1957)
James Dodds b.1957 is a British artist who lives and works in North Essex. His paintings and prints are inspired by boats and the craft of boat building. After being apprenticed as a shipwright at Walter Cook and Sons, Maldon, Essex, he studied at Colchester School of Art, Chelsea School of Art and the Royal College of Art. His work follows the coastal variations of the simple workboat.
Arguably East Anglia’s most celebrated national and international contemporary artist, James Dodds only recently was enjoying a huge solo exhibition titled, “Wood to Water”, at The National Maritime Museum in Falmouth, Cornwall, and depicting Cornish boats. This exhibition opened in 2019 and although currently closed, hopes to re-open again. The exhibition was featured on Radio 4’s culture show, Front Row.
Our exhibition at Hayletts Gallery consists of a number of paintings reflecting both the rich subtle colours of various traditional boats and their alluring shapes and inner structure. We shall also be showing a broad selection of hand printed, new and recent limited edition linocuts. A form of printmaking ideally suited to Dodd’s style of sweeping dramatic lines emphasizing the physical contours and curved perspectives of boats alongside the flowing patterns of the sea. Each picture has its own gentle narrative of an artist intrigued by how the craft of the past meets the present and the way various boat designs are built to suit regional shore lines and harbours. The images often portray people, places and stories which resonate with his own life growing up in East Anglia, especially featuring Heybridge Basin, Maldon, West Mersea, Brightlingsea, Wivenhoe, Aldeburgh, Southwold and other coastal panoramas further afield including; Hastings; Yorkshire; Falmouth and Penzance.
James regularly exhibits in London, Maldon, Manningtree, Norfolk and Maine USA. In 2001 he had a major retrospective show, “Shipshape”, at Firstsite at The Minories in Colchester. The exhibition subsequently toured Whitstable, Herne Bay, Frome, the Isle of Wight, Barnard Castle, the National Maritime Museum of Cornwall, The National Maritime Museum at Greenwich, Great Yarmouth and Hartlepool. In 2015 James Dodds returned to Firstsite in its new building in Colchester with another substantial exhibition, “Wood to Water”. His work has been purchased by the Britten-Pears Library, Aldeburgh; Victoria & Albert Museum;; Chelmsford and Essex Museums; Ipswich Borough Council, Museums and Galleries;; UCS East Contemporary Art Collection, Ipswich; MMoFA, Madison, Georgia, USA; Horniman Museum, London; Fred Olsen; National Maritime Museum, Greenwich; Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art, Paget, Bermuda; The Sainsbury Centre, UEA, Norwich and The Victor Batte-Lay Foundation