MICHAEL DOWL­ING

Con­tem­po­rary Slant

American Art Collector - - Contents -

Michael Dowl­ing’s paint­ings re­veal his foun­da­tion in the clas­sics and his ed­u­ca­tion in Florence, Italy. In ad­di­tion to his tra­di­tional cur­ricu­lum he stud­ied con­tem­po­rary the­ory and also stud­ied with Rose Shaki­novsky and Claire Gavron­sky at their stu­dio north of Florence.

Dowl­ing paints portraits rem­i­nis­cent of those by the Old Masters. He re­marks, “My paint­ings, sim­i­lar to my draw­ings, have the el­e­ments of classical ap­proach…In the process of paint­ing, each layer has an op­por­tu­nity to step away from the pic­ture or the nat­u­ral im­age. I of­ten start with im­agery ref­er­enc­ing art his­tory and be­gin to ad­just the con­tent to give it a voice in our cur­rent time.”

He ex­plains, “Much of my re­cent work responds to a need to wreck the im­age with marks that are artis­tic only, eraser marks

and blacked out ar­eas that I like to re­fer to as redac­tion. In cre­at­ing my char­ac­ters and icons, then block­ing them from view, I be­lieve I’m try­ing to ask each viewer to plug them­selves into the miss­ing in­for­ma­tion or com­plete the story of the piece for them­selves. I think that I hope their sto­ries might be even more bizarre than my own.”

He says, “In­spi­ra­tion usu­ally comes from a vis­ual mo­ment. Some­thing will pop into my mind, or I’ll see an im­age and want to ex­plore it, to let it grow.”

In Es­pe­cially Good at Pre­tend­ing I’m Happy to See You, the classical hands, mod­estly clasp­ing drap­ery to the sub­ject’s breast, in­con­gru­ously hold a mask with a happy face made with blue spray paint.

The first world problem in Study #1 For the First World Prob­lems Se­ries could be that the clas­sic beauty’s driver turned a cor­ner too quickly as she ap­plied her lipstick.

Dowl­ing's portraits can be seen in the exhibition Should’a Seen the Other Guy at K Con­tem­po­rary in Den­ver, May 5 to 26.

K Con­tem­po­rary 1412 Wazee Street, Den­ver, CO 80202 • (303) 590-9800 • www.kcon­tem­po­rar­yart.com

1

Es­pe­cially Good at Pre­tend­ing I’m Happy to See You, char­coal and spray paint on pa­per, 42 x 36"

3

Un­ti­tled #9, char­coal and chalk on pa­per, 30 x 22"

2

The Mis­in­ter­pre­ta­tions of Sex and Love for Dum­mies, oil on panel,

24 x 18"

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