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Daniel Dodson - Subterrania

Foreword by John Howard Swanson

Subterrania“Subterrania,” Daniel Dodson’s latest series of paintings, offers a sublime departure from what one typically finds in contemporary art. His paintings of subterranean musings and imagined geological incidents lead to a place of structural harmony and emotional eloquence, enhanced by the precise chromatic grading of transparent colors layered over shimmering scored metals.

Dodson’s paintings are instantly captivating. Some of this is due to the glorious motion and limitless depth in the sheet metals he has scored into what appear to be optical hallucinations; although the paintings are physically flat, the viewer gets the sense of immense sculptural dimension. As the viewer moves before a painting, the image is constantly reborn, then constantly vanishing, in the panorama of endless shifts of light.

While the metallic movement contributes to the gleam and dance of the background, it’s Dodson’s use of transparency that gives life to his ideas. Goethe wrote “...transparent colors are limitless in their lightening and darkening, and fire and water can be seen as their height and depth ...the relationship of transparent color to light is an infinite delight and naturally ignites these colors in its depth and elevates them to a brilliant clarity that allows every tone to shine through...this intense fire surges around the viewer in a thousand transformations.”

Dodson controls the color juxtapositions so that their combination elicits an emotional, spiritual, and psychological response. Even the air surrounding the painting seems infused with energized light.

He sets up a diversity of ideas: “Just Before Sleep” is a lyrical approach to illuminate a mythical atmosphere: wavering biomorphic figurations, madly musical in appearance, seem to undulate across the surface to create a poetic reality. The sequence of these figures generates visual rhythm, dictates the action of the eyes, and allows entrance into this active milieu of visual impulses during those seconds between wakefulness and sleep.

“Outer Latitudes” infers an orbital view of a planet first taking shape. It’s as if we’re under a cloud, soaring over strange terrain and golden seas, still feral and infused with an explosive dynamic. It suggests the vast and slow rise and fall of land masses, the span of the sea from its shores to the space of the sky.

To achieve a sense of timelessness, Dodson deliberately keeps his imagery vague; it’s his goal that each painting’s visionary language will transcend consensus analysis and give the viewer new access to mysterious and unexpected worlds.

Mr. Swanson is the published author of
Wai Ming: Chinese Master, 21 California
, and Confessions of an Art Dealer


Daniel Dodson
PO Box 509
Hopland, CA. 95449

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