For his new exhibition LA-based artist has developed his unique exploration of the terrain between abstract and representational painting, extending the frontiers of his practice into vigorous and expansive territories. The gallery space is dominated by three major new diptychs and a number of large-scale single works which deploy symmetry as a strategy to open the canvas up into a wider field of painterly enquiry.
Dodgeʼs canvases recall the sublime through an abstract and seductive use of colour and movement. The compositional
negotiation between beauty and destruction suggests the artistʼs preoccupation with catastrophe, rapture, transcendence
and rebirth...Looking at them feels like enjoying the calm before the storm.
For his new exhibition at Alison Jacques Gallery, LA-based artist Tomory Dodge has developed his unique exploration of the terrain between abstract and representational painting, extending the frontiers of his practice into vigorous and expansive territories. The gallery space is dominated by three major new diptychs and a number of large-scale single works which deploy symmetry as a strategy to open the canvas up into a wider field of painterly enquiry.
The exhibition also includes a number of smaller oil on canvas works and works on paper. The works reveal Dodgeʼs profound investigation into the compositional anxieties attendant on abstraction, whilst still maintaining a command of vibrant chromatic orchestration, and his characteristically suggestive appeals to visual remembrances of the lived-in world. In his most abstract works to date, Dodgeʼs distinctive brushstrokes, broad, vivid and coolly controlled, are still present, but are formally freed from any coherent narrative or recognisable landscape.
The compositional logic of the paintings is determined not by the exigencies of figuration but by the act of reflecting, or almost reflecting, each gesture back and forth across a central vertical axis, an act that heightens the abstract artifice of the works. The paintingsʼ symmetries, however, are neither mechanical nor perfect, for variations in tone and composition creep in during the process of replication. Indeed, the very possibility of perfect symmetry in painting, of denying or negating the individuality and painterliness of the artistʼs marks, is something which Dodge is concerned to question. It is rather an aesthetics of asymmetry which Dodge proposes here. Drawing on his earlier interest in the illusory potential of paint, Dodgeʼs works become optically disquieting, as the right and left panels of the paintings engage in a dynamic interplay, and notions of originality, authenticity and distortion range across the canvas.
Although these paintings certainly express a particular fascination with the abstract, the representational traditions from which Dodge has drawn in the past have not been entirely obliterated. The dramatic marks of colour, although they ultimately betray their nature as smears of paint applied by an artistʼs hand, nonetheless go beyond what they are to suggest something else – possibly shards of a shattered reality, or debris unanchored by gravity and adrift in a cold world contained on canvas. Dodgeʼs work plays at the margins of the figurative, yet still engages with the art of representing, with the problems of mimesis and the painterly act of recreation having become internal to the work.
The paintings do not aspire to verisimilitudinous re-enactments of things in particular, in order to present a flawed yet illuminating reflection of the world; in Dodgeʼs work reflection, in both its visual and intellectual senses, occurs within the paintings themselves. Tomory Dodge (b. Denver, Colorado in 1974) trained at Rhode Island School of Design and California Institute of the Arts. Recent solo exhibitions include concurrent exhibitions of works on paper at ACME, Los Angeles and CRG Gallery, New York (2009), Alison Jacques Gallery London (2007) and The Knoxville Museum of Art, Knoxville (2006). His work can currently also be seen as part of ʻLibrary of Babel/In and Out of Placeʼ at 176/Zabludowicz Collection, London. His work is represented in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Knoxville Museum of Art, with promised gifts to the Dallas Museum of Art, Texas and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC. He lives and works in Los Angeles, California.
For further information, please contact
T: +44 (0)20 7631 4720
Opening thursday 25 March 2010, 6-8pm
Alison Jacques Gallery
16-18 Berners Street, London