Saturday, February 19, 2011

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FINALLY! Some critical writing on Kim Dorland's paintings, particularly their intense superficiality:

"The tendencies of the primitive, the naïve and the sentimental are all mixed up explicitly with the tropes of Tom Thompson in Kim Dorland's show Nocturne with its very overt references to the myths of Thompson and the primitive cult in Canadian modernism. Gone is the anti-social vision that underwrote it though. Instead, it is a deconstruction by glamour, kind of a David LaChappelle take on Thompson, that launches an attack in the name of a greater kind of superficiality. Thompson, Canadian art's sacred cow, used to have his own little ramshackle cabin in Toronto to duplicate his experience in the mythical North. It was his own little tourist portal, rather like Dr. Who's Tardis, that allowed him to stay in character all the time. In Dorland, rather than a cabin, you get a tree house as the portal to imaginary innocence."

"There's a remarkable thinness to Dorland's paintings; a kind of anorexia wherein the paint is vomited out onto the viewer. Their much lauded painterly density is both reference to and extension of this. It isn't flatness that is accented in the pictures, it's the illusion of depth, a depth which is constantly reinforced by superimposition. But what is all this depth? It's the distance between the wall and the world which it depicts. The processional march that happens between them. This distance is filled up with an attractive texture and a vibrating colour. This colour made all the more intense by being placed in the context of such opaquely layered paint."

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