Her Source

By Frances Lerner

Dorothy Braudy’s art work and her life have rare fairness. She is a humanist, a humane artist. She reads clips from the New York Times, tramps the zoo pointing to the animal’s tiny spirit positions with her camera; worships the churches, synagogues, monasteries- spiritual hideouts that hold their own alongside the “glitter”- her protest from home, Los Angeles. Unlimited L.A. Don’t say there’s no belonging there.

But this fairness is not exactly like a journalist’s or a political activist’s. Dorothy has the other fairness of the artist faced with a complicated relationship to edges- the camera lens, the stretcher bars, the bed of the Xerox machine.
 
The twentieth century dictated to artists Cezanne’s paradox: Struggle through the pushing and pulling, from the glorious dimensions of the world onto the flat surface, so that the consequences of the flatness will be glorious too. Looking back all the way from the twentieth first, this seems a cultish demand. And so it seems to me, a fellow artist, that Dorothy merely found her own quiet way through his dilemma just so. Some how, the “just so” is because of, due to, her accuracy. Her personal accuracy.
 
I keep imagining different lengths of plastic fishing wire with Dorothy holding the ends and reeling them out to touch each element of every picture, in each medium of her work. It’s true for them all- the 35mm photographs, the phototransfers, the bichromates. And it’s true for the subjects. The caption of a newspaper photograph on which one of Dorothy’s bas-reliefs is based reads, “An Italian doctor treats a Lebanese woman for phosphorous burns she received during recent air strikes in Beirut.” No doubt our response is “Oh, how terrible.” But there is something about the girl’s left elbow held up, dividing the right edge that is glorious, just so.
 
“I just shot some back room in a museum” she said when I asked about the phototransfer hanging above my computer. Two sculpture figures almost but can’t quite emerge from their wooden crates, let alone their bodies. I glance up at them quite often as I knock on the alphabet to remind myself of irony and Dorothy, my friend. Where will they end up? They already have. At a nostalgic place, but a place without melancholy, because of Dorothy’s perfect artistic humanity and rare fairness.