Dorothy Hood

(American, 1918-2000) 

Coptic Days, ca. 1981 

Mixed Media and cut canvas, collage painting; 30 x 20 inches 

Gift of Deborah and William Colton, 2021

A trip to Egypt in 1981 inspired Hood to embark upon a new artistic practice—that of collage making. Affected by the texture and antiquity of the paper-making practice, she collected many samples of traditional Egyptian papyrus that sparked inspiration for over a decade of collage making. The playful practice of multimedia collage seemed to be a relief from the more grand intellectual gestures of large-scale, abstract painting. These whimsical collages afforded the artist a chance to experiment with less pressure and more fluidity. Hood remarked that each collage was, for her, “a little memory,” one in which she excavated, like an archeologist, her many global travels and adventures. Here, fluid washes of deep blues intermingle with the blossoms of night gardens. A fragmented image of an ancient textile delivers a cryptic shift in time and place.  Organic materials such as canvas, a dried leaf, and folded paper provide actual textures that intersect with the faux textures of cutout images from magazines. The real and the false, the present and the past, are in flux. Hood was not discriminant in her collage materials, and all manner of quotidian objects found their way into her works. These delightful creations do not contain direct references and narratives, but rather their intention is to allow shape, line, texture, color, richness and shine to induce a dreamlike state, a playful release from reality. The easily moveable parts of the collage, along with quirky materials and objects, enabled Hood to proclaim that her collages were “sheer joy.”   


University of Houston

Special Collections – MD Anderson Library

Dorothy Hood: The Edge of Being | Exhibition

Learn more about the Dorothy Hood at the University of Houston Libraries Special Collections.

Map of Artworks

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Dorothy Hood | Research

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Dorothy Hood Papers

Learn more about the personal papers of Dorothy Hood at the University of Houston Libraries Special Collections.

Other Artworks by this Artist

Time the Bridge of Doors, 1979

Homage to Matisse, ca. 1969

The Angel's Key, 1987