Burning Down the Art: Dani Dodge “Peeled & Raw”

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Artist Dani Dodge at Peeled & Raw
Artist Dani Dodge at Peeled & Raw

What better holiday gift than this? A look at Dani Dodge’s exciting installation piece, “Peeled & Raw” at LA Art Core Brewery Annex. This Sunday, December 27th, Dodge will be setting fire to the fears and apprehension expressed through the piece.

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The actual burning is symbolic of the burning resonance of the work, which you’ll find seared into your mind from the moment you see it.

At the opening in early December, Dodge described her piece as focusing on fear and what happens when it is covered up rather than faced.
Viewers participated in the piece by tearing away layers of wallpaper on the exhibits walls, writing their fears on the torn scraps, and then dropping them to the ground. These expressed fears will be burnt at the closing prior to the dismantlement of the piece itself.

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See this exhibit, experience its catharsis, and let the message it presents ignite. Losing fear equals freedom.

Dodge says “I’m thrilled with how things are going, with how comfortable people feel with letting their fears go. I love hearing that so many people have felt freed by the experience.”

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The experience is that of a full-scale installation designed to resemble a living room with green floral wallpaper covering not just the walls but the figures seated in the room and the furniture they’re sitting on.

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Seated on a small sofa, Dodge’s two figures are watching a television set where a loop of black and white footage runs continuously describing – what else – but wallpapering. The old footage is narrated by a modern voice, recorded in 2014. In short: time is mutable in the expression of fear.

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“I’ve been thinking about something like this since I lived in a fixer-upper home, and as I was trying to get it cleaned up, we had to peel the wallpaper off,” Dodge relates. “When we came to the last layer, we uncovered this beautiful Parisian scene, watercolors of women. It reminded me of the fact that for so many years we’ve tried to cover things up, making so many mistakes in this society. We’ve covered up beauty by letting our fears run amuck instead of dealing with issues in positive ways.”

The catalyst for Dodge to create this piece now was the mass shootings at Charlie Hebdo in Paris. “And the aftermath,” Dodge explains, “of how people were treated, about the demonizing of ordinary people because fears were not being dealt with appropriately.”

Dodge designed the exhibit so that each person who comes into the room-sized installation can think about what they fear and express it. “We’ve made huge mistakes as a country. I’m trying to address the inappropriateness of stereotypes now, but that’s not the only fear I’m asking people to express. Everyone has different fears of how they look on Facebook, how to earn a living. All the fears are going to be burned, which is a great way to start the New Year fresh,” Dodge attests.

To create her work, Dodge, a former journalist, purchased vintage wall paper at the Manzanaar Interpretive Center. Peeling back the layers of that paper is, Dodge, says like peeling an onion – there’s nothing at the core.

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“Peeled & Raw” remains on view through December 27th at LA Artcore Brewery Annex located at 650 A South Avenue 21 in DTLA. Join her just after the holidays, from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday December 27th for a look – or a second look – at this wonderful piece and to participate in the burning of fears at 2 p.m. outside the gallery. After a reception, the installation will be dismantled – so go – what are you afraid of?

  • Genie Davis, ALL PHOTOS, Jack Burke