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"