Every Thursday night, hundreds aimlessly and numbly shuffle their way on the cobble stoned streets of gallery row in Chelsea. Resembling zombies but clad in chic Prada or Gucci or the best Indie disheveled couture, they all tumble into the white wall space to gorge on ART. On May 2nd, AF did not have to bash anyone’s head in on any brain eaters to attend the opening reception for Kim Dorland at Mike Weiss Gallery for Ghosts of You and Me.
The impact of Dorland’s strong palette and paint application for his latest oeuvre was huge and in proportion to its large scale. It is not hard to miss the bright yellow, acrid green, and blood red punctuating the psychologically infused paintings. The ghosts that inhabit the canvas of Dorland are slouched figures that glow in the darkened planes and interior realm of the forests. It is lushly eerie and also charged with so much dynamic elements. The heavy context and dripped on paint method further adds the heft of his creative thrust. His compositions may evoke solitude but the sleepwalking denizens of zombies counterpoint the singularity of mood.
The recent fascination of zombies with the Walking Dead series on cable TV and the enduring cult fave George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead probably makes you wonder if Dorland has pulsed his way into the subculture zeitgeist. It is simplistic to deduce that obvious reference but it can be a play of the artist’s juxtaposition of youthful bad boy culture against studio craftsmanship. Looseness buttressed against a solidly structured universe in the sphere of his canvas. Dorland exhibits an evolutionary take on graphic quality and color sensibility.
It is said that ghosts are residual energy or manifestations of the spiritual plane reiterating routine. Dorland has clearly acknowledged his ghosts and released it from the confines of artistic complacency. There is nothing resolutely routine here and the residual effect leaves the viewer haunted in a dream. Is it nightmarish or fantastical? Opposing forces are great push-pull dynamics in art. Light and dark. Good and evil. Crude and refined. Despair and hope. One thing’s for sure and Dorland distinctly proved that his art is not for the walking dead. They are for the dreamers who can dream with their eyes open. His ghosts are tactile and will continue to haunt us long after this show is over.
Kim Dorland: Ghosts of You and Me / On View: May 2 – June 8, 2013
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday (10 am – 6 pm) & by appt.
Mike Weiss Gallery. 520 West 24th Street. NYC, NY 10011.
art review by: Oscar A. Laluyan
art images from Mike Weiss Gallery courtesy of the artist
event photography by: Max Noy