Tobey C Moss Gallery Logo
the art dealers association of california ADAC CINOA The International Fine Print Dealers Association IFPDA

A Special Vision
May 15th - June 30th, 1999

DORR BOTHWELL (born 1902) was born as a creative artist when a student of Gottardo Piazzoni at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco. Dorr cites Piazzoni's influences in her paintings of the '20s (see Figures in Landscape). An abstraction, an element of meditation, the use of flat color - often sun-drenched - is present in her early work.

At the School, she and fellow student, Ruth Cravath, were close friends; Cravath's Portrait of an Artist (Dorr Bothwell) describes a straightforward and confident woman. The painting also reveals the 'hand of the sculptor'.

During the'20s, Bothwell lived with her family in San Francisco, teaching at the School, and in Port Gamble, Washington. When her father died in the late '20s, she began her travels, beginning with a sojourn in Samoa. As she says "I arrived after Margaret Meade, but I was more successful than she was because I danced with the natives!". When she resettled back in

San Diego, she married her childhood friend, sculptor Donal Hord. Though they remained friends, she awoke one morning and said "What am I doing married?"... and she left! That independence has never disappeared.

Los Angeles was her next destination in 1934. She joined the group around Lorser Feitelson and Helen Lundeberg, attending classes conducted by the Federal Arts Project and painting in the mural division. 0n the project, she was also introduced to the technique of screen printing She enjoyed working in this medium and has created a rich body of works since 1943.

Her art encompasses a gentle surrealist, shown in her painting of Memory's Children 1942, a pensive portrait of the artist and her brother amidst the clouds. This mood extends into the mysteries of dank marshes and eerie forms by the close of the '40s in both paintings (Night Insect Conversation) and screen prints (The Juggler).

Over these years, traveling has been a passion. From Samoa in 1928, to Europe in 1930/3 1, to Paris in 1949/5 1, to Africa in 1966/67, to England, France and Holland in 1970, to Bali, Java and Sumatra in 1974, to China and Japan in 1982/85..well, you get the idea. Though she was awarded an Abraham Rosenberg Fellowship and other grants, her travels were additionally funded by the sale of her art and anything moveable! She traveled in a footloose and unscheduled manner, absorbing serendipitous adventures as they arose. This joie de vivre has never left her. Even today, at the age of 97, she is active and uplifting. In fact, she has just traveled to San Diego from her home near Phoenix to speak at the opening of the Donal Hord retrospective exhibition.

Mingled with her travels and her creative works, she has been sought after as a teacher. Some of the places she has taught are the San Francisco Art Institute, the Mendocino Art Center, the Parsons School of Design in New York, the Ansel Adams Photography Workshops in Yosemite and the Victor School of Photography in Colorado. Much of her class work has been focused upon her book "Notan:The Dark-Light Principle of Design", first published in 1968 in collaboration with Marlys Mayfield. The book was republished in 1991 and has been translated into many languages.

Dorr Bothwell's work is in private and museum collections throughout the United States and in Paris and London. Her most recent grant was the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Award in 1998.

This show illustrates Bothwell's color-strength, whether joyous and sunny or dark and somber.

Her imagery is often.ambiguous - sometimes real/surreal, sometimes anthropomorphic abstraction, sometimes non-objective abstraction - but always provoking and stimulating.

Illustrations available to request.

Please call the Gallery (323) 933-5523 for any further data or visuals.  Copyright © 1994-1999