Dorothy Hood

(American, 1918-2000)

Red Autumn, n.d.

Collage on mat; 32” x 20” (unframed)

Collection of the Art Museum of South Texas, Corpus Christi

Red Autumn is a work expressing bold change, rooted in a natural earthiness, and layered with sparks of humor. Invoking the Cubist and Surrealist artists who inspired her, Hood’s mixed-media collages are intersectional compositions where paint, organic materials, traditional paper-making craft, and found objects synthesize to create a dreamlike world of their own. A field of luminous, coral-red displays dark smudges and ripples that convey texture and depth. This bold collage expresses the seasonal change of planets shifting away from the sun, where light relocates to more earthy tones. The torn scrap of papyrus contributes the tactile materiality of dried leaves, while a scrap of painted white canvas lends a starkness that balances any severity. A modest piece of torn gold leaf is a hidden gem. After over a decade of creating grandiose canvases, Hood’s early 1980s-transition to a smaller scale incorporating found images and objects became a practice where she could relax and find joy in her work. Hood’s playful, even humorous, collages allowed her to express a side of herself not exposed in her paintings, granting us a more prismatic view of the artist. For example, the collage’s underlying material is a quotidian Houston newspaper displaying used car sales. In a tongue-in-cheek moment, the advertisements demand us to “LOOK” and we respond to the artist’s commands.

Location

University of Houston

Special Collections – MD Anderson Library

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