For his New York debut, Canadian artist Kim Dorland will present several new large-scale paintings, which explore the motif of figure and setting. His heavily impastoed works greet the viewer like vibrant, playful and often eerie snapshots of suburban scenarios, quiet woodland scenes and gory abstract portraits.
Dorland’s exaggerated palette is partnered with coarse, fervent brushwork and unorthodox paint applications – acrylic, oil and spraypaint all have a home within his compositions. Thick, generously-applied pigment sits abundantly upon wood surfaces, muscular markmaking describes foliage and terrain while fluorescent underpainting isolates reduced human forms and breaks up the earthy homogony. Dorland confidently employs these unexpected devices to generate arrangements that combine beauty with vulgarity, to depict that which is familiar.
In his most recent body of work, North, Dorland turns his focus to Alberta’s rural and suburban landscapes, appropriating not only its imagery, but also the colloquial textures and palette associated with it. By connecting to his place and time, Dorland challenges the notion of regional painting, and supercharges the connotations associated with “Sunday painting” as they pertain to the seriousness of a work of art. The works are a synthesis of cultural influence, reflecting a personal rebellion to prescribed ways of picturemaking despite a continued fascination with its tradition. In his selection, unexpected mediums challenge the vocabulary with which a painting is generally assessed. This new series strives to register a fresh visual culture where developments come about not just from contemporary practices, but also from preceding tradition. The constructs and concerns asserted by Dorland may evoke or resemble those of current artists like Rackstraw Downes and Peter Doig, as well as yesteryear heroes of romance like Thomas Cole and perhaps Edward Hopper, in their close observations of the banal and peripheral.
In Northern Lights #2, a focal point of the exhibition, Dorland’s dramatic sweep of day-glo paint creates an apocalyptic-looking aurora borealis, which illuminates a solitary figure within a dichotomous sublime and unsettling tableau. Blue Hoodie and Lake Louise are emotionally poignant portraits of Dorland’s wife and muse: the chaotic treatment of brushstrokes and gooey build-up of paint capture the amusing, multileveled dynamic between husband and wife. In the sinister painting Passed Out, Dorland revisits themes of teenage angst, and offers a window into suburban rituals of youth. Throughout the entire show, we see evidence of Dorland’s great insight and sensitivity toward his native habitat.
Kim Dorland received his BFA from the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in Vancouver and his MFA at York University in Toronto. He has had solo exhibitions at Angell Gallery, Toronto; Bonelli Arte Contemporanea, Mantova, Italy; Bonelli Contemporary, Los Angeles, CA; Kasia Kay Art Projects, Chicago, IL; and Skew Gallery, Calgary, Alberta – and has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards. This will be his first exhibition with Freight + Volume.
For more information, please visit the gallery’s website or contact Nick Lawrence (Director/Owner), Steven Stewart (Co-Director) or Yasha Wallin (Co-Director) at 212-989-8700 or [email protected]