Kim Dorland – Nocturne
ANGELL GALLERY is pleased to present Kim Dorland’s six solo exhibition at the gallery, Nocturne, in the West Gallery from January 22 to February 19, 2011. An opening night reception will be held on Saturday, January 22 from 6 – 9pm. While Kim Dorland’s process in both its formation and its final object have remained grounded in the insights and attitudes he evolved in the suburban and rural towns of Alberta where he grew up, his stance toward his subject matter has taken some turns along the road, very much as though he were driving further into his own proverbial forest. Awkward, compelling teen experience and his edgy pastoral depictions of it have been succeeded by a fascination with existential fear and horror; and now a further development has occurred, a point of potentially mystical experience has appeared in the work, a mysticism that reflects a new spiritual engagement. Dorland has arrived at a fresh center, where awe and revelation have emerged from out of the dark possibilities of the horror genre. In the relative privacy of the forest, along deserted highways and back roads, the sylvan animals and bored teenagers that populated Dorland’s graffiti-covered world were understandably weird yet perfectly natural; and also slightly uncanny. They manifested a certain ambivalence about the world, seeming to shift and almost tremble in the way they were experienced their own reality; they hadn’t found what they were looking for, and perhaps didn’t even know they were even looking. In his new body of work Dorland has pushed on into an examination of that unmistakable but hard to pin down feeling of spiritual searching, not so much changing course as reversing polarities in his approach. Seemingly real ghosts have made their appearances (especially that of Dorland’s greatest inspiration, Tom Thomson) alongside quieter, more emotionally charged images of groves, tree-houses, and glowing night skies that seem more spectral than spooky, or haunted. The use of glow in the dark and liquid mirror paint serves to highlight the possibility of the transcendental as well as the macabre in the work, while continuing the artist’s signature maximal impact in terms of investment in his formal vocabulary. Without morbidity, the use of these new techniques seems to imply more than just the need to turn off the “real” lights; they suggest that maybe art itself as an agency isn’t what it seems, that it has a double nature, and as such be more active in the realm of private beliefs than is commonly thought. This work is compelling partially because it functions as a kind of talisman against fear, of the kind that the pantheistic culture we grow up with tends to instill in us as kids, as we contemplate the unknowns of the world. Art, Dorland’s work seems to say, helps us negotiate fear, much more than it is given credit for. These paintings, drawings and sculptures expose a world of supernatural, dreamlike imaginings to us, where what is or isn’t “real” has come into question; and been made to seem plausible by the power of the imagination. The artist’s implication, in deploying his habitual formal gusto, seems to be that what is believed to be real, is as real as it needs to be. Kim Dorland was born in Wainwright, AB and currently lives and works in Toronto, ON. He attended the Emily Carr Institute of Art and received his Masters from York University in Toronto. His previous shows have received reviews from the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. His work is included in public and private collections most notably: The Beth Rudin DeWoody Collection, Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas, Eileen S. Kaminsky Family Foundation in New York, The Glenbow Museum in Calgary, The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in Montreal, The Neumann Family Collection in New York, and The Oppenheimer Collection, The Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, MO.