For the past decade, Jim Dingilian has developed a body of work in which he skillfully renders ephemeral imagery by hand on found objects.
The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
will present his first solo museum exhibition, Subtractive Images, from January 29 to June 10, 2012, bringing together three series of works in which the artist has utilized modification by subtraction to produce optically realistic representations.
The earliest series, ongoing since 2001, is of landscape drawings made on found school desktops. These were followed in 2007 by a series, continued to the present, of landscape drawings rendered on the smoked interior surfaces of glass bottles. The newest series, begun in 2011, presents figurative portraits pointedly resembling daguerreotypes, made of manipulated aluminum beverage cans. What they all have in common is the painstaking removal of materialrespectively graphite, soot, and metalin the process utilized to render their imagery.
Curator Richard Klein explains, Dingilian has made the marginal, man-made landscape environments at the edges of American suburbia his primary subject matter. There he finds not just the sprawl of highways, parking lots, and weedy no-mans lands, but also the debris of the surrounding civilization: beer cans, empty liquor bottles, and abandoned cars and furniture.
Klein continues, Dingilians work, although sharing connections with romantic nineteenth century landscape painting, doesnt depict spiritual exaltation, but rather a more melancholic view of human experience. Haunted by a sense of nostalgia and loss, it is not simply sentimental, but rather quietly foreboding.
The newest work in this exhibition, The Unexpected Signal, is the first multi-bottle piece completed by the artist, composed of a total of eleven bottles. Although each bottle contains an individual vignette carefully scraped from the soot-coated glass interior, Dingilian merged the separate images to create an ambitious panoramic view that sweeps from a shaded wooded area to an urban streetscape.
Jim Dingilian was born in York, PA, but spent seven years of his childhood in Waterloo, Belgium, before returning to the United States. He graduated from the University of Delaware in 1993 and completed his MFA in photography from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1996. Dingilian has been exhibiting drawings on found objects, usually employing inventive erasure techniques, for the last decade. His work has been shown in group exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver; the Islip Art Museum, East Islip, NY; the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI; and the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, MA. Dingilians work can be found in the permanent collections of the deCordova and the Rose Art Museum in Waltham, MA. He is represented by McKenzie Fine Art in New York