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Kim Dorland Pushes the Limits of Painting in His New Exhibition at Mike Weiss Gallery
Installation view at Mike Weiss Gallery. Photo: Courtesy Mike Weiss Gallery.

NEW YORK, NY.- Mike Weiss Gallery presents New Material, Kim Dorland’s first solo exhibition with the gallery. Consisting of paintings, watercolors, assemblage on paper and taxidermy animals, New Material pushes the limits of painting to visually narrate Dorland’s experience growing up in rural Canada. In his most ambitious work to date, Dorland continues his emphatic exploration of materiality through thick layering of paint, wood, feathers, fur and glitter.

The Shack, among the largest works in the exhibition, addresses an occurrence in which, as a teen, the artist stumbled upon an open porn magazine in the woods, engendering both fascination and trepidation. The woods play a crucial role in Dorland’s paintings as the nexus of dyads, most notably reality/fantasy, ease/tension, seduction/repulsion, and pleasure/horror. The tension between pleasure and horror, as seen in Boogeyman, Sasquatch and Night, explores Dorland’s complex childhood relationship with the woods as a potential harbor for phantasmagoria. In all three works the folkloric characters are brought to life through the sumptuous use of impasto and additional media, at once whimsical and terrifying. The combination of fur, paint and crystals produce images that are far more than realistic or even organic; rather, they are quasi-human, aggressively commanding in their presence and unapologetically confrontational. Of this Dorland has noted, “I like the challenge of painting an incarnation of fear.”

Even natural inhabitants of the Canadian woods with which Dorland is so closely acquainted—as seen in Ghost (Deer), Crows, Grey Owl and Wolf – are imbued with a similar magical, if nightmarish, quality. The deer is haunting; the birds are Hitchcockian; and the wolf is predatory. They implore to be touched through their didactic materiality but are unequivocally ominous through the very same means. Extending the materialization of his woodland creatures, Dorland pulls Caribou and Lynx out of the realm of painting and into sculpture. The taxidermy figures are dipped and dripped with paint, glitter and yarn, their potential to attack is diffused by symbols of ultra-femininity and naïveté. Consequently, Dorland allows the works to intimidate and also lure viewers into a mystical forest where illusion eclipses vision and imagination reigns supreme.

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.

Mike Weiss Gallery | Kim Dorland | The Shack |

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