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Kim Dorland is Here: McMichael exhibition pairs bold new landscapes with Canadian classics
A.Y. Jackson (1882–1974), Early Spring, Emileville, Quebec 1913. Oil on canvas, 63.5 x 82.5 cm. Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Max Stern, Dominion Gallery, Montreal. McMichael Canadian Art Collection.

KLEINBURG, ON.- Following a sold-out show at Mike Weiss Gallery in New York, Toronto-based artist Kim Dorland unveiled dramatic new works at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection on October 26, 2013. For his first major exhibition at a public institution, Dorland—who uses heavy impasto, fluorescent hues, and spray paint to push the boundaries of landscape painting—creaed a series of works in response to his study of the McMichael’s permanent collection and the lush forests of the Humber River Valley which encompass the gallery grounds. You Are Here: Kim Dorland and the Return to Painting runs from October 26, 2013 to January 5, 2014.

The exhibition spans five gallery spaces and feature over one hundred works, including numerous freshly painted canvases by Dorland. One particularly stunning work—a triptych of the French River—measures eighteen feet long and eight feet high. Dorland’s paintings hang in the company of works by Canadian art icons Tom Thomson, the Group of Seven, David Milne, and Emily Carr. Selected by Dorland and McMichael Chief Curator Katerina Atanassova, the works in the exhibition trace the evolution of the Canadian landscape tradition, culminating in Dorland’s fresh, modern interpretations.

“Working with the McMichael has offered me the unique opportunity to step inside history and surround myself with some of the influences and traditions I respect the most while simultaneously pushing the bounds of my own contemporary practice,” said Dorland. “My paintings have evolved in exciting and unexpected ways as a result and now I get to show them alongside the work of my heroes.”

One of the exhibition’s most original features is its focus on the artistic process. In one of the gallery spaces, artifacts and other historical materials are used to recreate Tom Thomson’s original Toronto painting studio. Dorland also set up what he refers to as an “ideas room,” consisting of wall panels from his studio covered in photographs, drawings, small paintings, pages from books, and other research materials.

“Over the past few years, we have witnessed a slow yet steady resurgence of the painting medium in Canada—both in terms of its presence in the public eye and its appeal to young artists,” said Atanassova. “Kim Dorland is among those whose work has contributed to the renewed power of the medium. While his work is deeply rooted in the tradition of landscape painting, his vibrant, heavily textured canvases portraying the untamed Canadian wilderness are fresh and contemporary.”

Born in 1974 in Wainwright, Alberta, Kim Dorland has exhibited across Canada and internationally, including in Milan, Los Angeles, and in New York. His work is featured in The Sander Collection (Berlin); Montréal Museum of Fine Arts; The Glenbow Museum (Calgary); Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, and numerous private collections.

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