Friday, April 13, 2012

Michael Dotson

As a collector, I look for works with emotion, something that grabs me, probably relates to my line of work.
As a collector, I look for technique that also grabs me, whether it's intricately stitched works like that of Ai Kijima (I'll feature her in a future post), or the tiny jewel like pieces of Magda Amarioarei (previous post) or Mathieu Nozieres (future post).  I like to get lost in the art, where my eyes are drawn in and the work refuses to let go.  That's entree into the next artist whose work I've been following since about late 2007 when I first saw his work featured on  I like dailyserving as it's a site created by artists for everybody who is into art.

When I first saw Michael's work, I was pretty excited by the colors and the content.  I liked his use of grids, reminded me some of Chuck Close's grids (yes, I know, heads vs sports.whatever).  The geometry, the precision.  Once Michael attended American University's MFA program, not too far from where I live, I was then able to see his work evolve at the end of year shows, as well as visit him in his studio.  (Next time, I'll have a glass of your finest as well..don't hide it..).  Now that he's in Brooklyn, won't be able to see the studio as often, but no worries.

Look at the progression of the use of color, from more geometric, finely taped off pieces, to more computer like graphics, to science fiction, to a new reality.  I'm not sure where Michael gets all of his ideas, but I'd be real interested in entering his world.  By looking into his works from afar, from up close, I think I can achieve that. I encourage you to do the same.

 This was one of the first pieces that I saw and appealed to me, the geometry.  I eventually saw that the geometry actually was not accurate, but who cares. Like a colorful Escher.

 These diving boards continue the sports theme which Michael explored, as well as the water theme.  It shows off his technique very nicely, between the colors, how he paints surface like grass, to the gridwork of the pool and the pointillist approach to the crowd, a style which is repeat in many other works.
 This piece was somewhat of a breakout piece, as it delineated the previous sports themes, with the more futuristic themese that predominate currently.  While the piece can feel busy, it somehow works.  Perhaps it is also a practice piece to decide on a variety of style, hearkening to some of the Leipzig school (does anybody talk about them anymore?), to Hockney and his flat homes, to chocolate bars in the foreground.
 Side by Side was one of the works that caught my eye in a show, and I had to have it.  I was pretty amazed by the detail.  I could only imagine how long it must've taken to actually complete the piece and how much tape he used to mask off the various parts.  Michael even created a movie to document it


Michael also has a series of swimming pools. 
What's up with all the water.  I have no idea, I just know he does water very well, and in a way that makes want to swim in that pool. Of course, it looks like it's in the year 2195, but hey, who's counting.  Is that a reflection or can we see beneated the surface.  The paintings are often forcing us to question what we are looking at.

 So you thought that whole aliens created mankind myth was all bunk, huh?  Well, hogwash.  This is how it all started.  And if it didn't start this way, well, this is a pretty awesome depiction of one's imagination.  Again, note the symmetry, the framing of the piece within the curvature of what looks like a religious picture, making you think of the chuches in Rome.  Well, this is what it would like if alien ships invaded Rome and fertilized a tree with their nutrient laden light sources.  Peace, dude.

Obviously Michael presents the world from a very 90s and beyond point of view, where video games rule.  This piece would make Nintendo proud.  note the triangular pieces in the background that fit together into a colorful mass.  These are echoed in the foreground roofline, the subtle and detailed brickwork, the stairs that you wish you climb, and which take you to an unknown and probably unknowable place, the home that invites, and yet scares you with its anonymous and detached face.  Beautiful.  Could you not lose yourself in this for a while on a lazy afternoon?

I'll finish with this work which is a cross between the 70s and the Matrix.  You've got the cool breeze evoked by the palm trees, zebra skin sofas, and a nice half pipe to skateboard on if you get tired of lounging around.  You're surrounded by the pill-like or jimmy-like backgrond that reminds of stars falling onto the scene, coating everything as it descends. Peaceful.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Daniel Turner

You may very well already know of Daniel Turner, currently working in Brooklyn, NY by way of SFAI, and originally from Portsmouth, VA, he has brought his intimate explorations of naturally "toxic"materials, like tar, soot, rust, iodine, camphophenique, sometimes enclosed in vinyl, sometimes smeared on a floor, sometimes captured on paper.  Daniel's work first caught my eye when he was in a 2-person show at Gregory Lind Gallery in San Francisco. His umbrellas coated in tar and bedecked with bright orange lifejackets drew my eyes to them.  Since that show in 2006, I have had the vicarious pleasure of  following Daniel's rise in the art world.  I wondered why he had not caught the eye of others shortly after his work had caught mine, but I was taught patience by this experience.  Daniel must be one of the hardest working artists out there.  Just looking at his CV you'll see how his shows, solo and group, as well as his collaborative effort with Colin Snapp.  He has recently had a solo show at Massimo di Carlo and an upcoming show at White Cube.  I'm happy to see he has caught the eye of the establishment. Of course this is a double edged sword, as similar to a company that goes public, that type of exposure, publicity, and pressure can certainly affect an artist's work.  I'm hoping it does not have an adverse effect on Daniel's work and I'm presuming at the moment it won't as his work is already so different from anything else out there that it would be a long trip from where he is at to something that is easily palatable.

Look at one of his videoes, Top Spin which is a collaboration with Colin Snapp in the duo Jules Marquis,and which was featured at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2011.

Take a look at his work with vinyl and tar and other fun materials that if not contained in the vinyl you would certainly try to avoid, both because of their noxious smell inasmuch as to avoid their stickiness which would be a pain in the ass to get off your hands and clothes.  Do you not want to just smush the vinyl in your hands, or open it up to see what it really feels and smells like?  Don't tell me I'm the only one who wants to do that. 

I remember when Daniel asked me if I'd like him to create a rubbing on my walls.  I didn't take him up on that but I could see that work in a museum, likewise for his work with iron oxide (rust) and his sfumatto created with steel wool on a painted wall.  But I can see these  in a museum or someone who has the space to accomodate them.  I love Daniel's use of seemingly household items to create new and different works.  Kind of a like a modern day Duchamp who shows us that art exists in even the most mundane and typically overlooked materials.  We overlook them for the same reason that we are fascinated with seeing them locked within a safe barrier.  Sort of like seeing flies attack a rotting cow head or a floating formaldehyde laden shark.  Only, PETA would approve of Daniel's work.

Daniel also likes to play with soot and how it transforms "regular"items,Duchampian ready-mades.  He takes a gold plated fireplace set and smears it in soot, changing it from shiny, bright to a messy, dirty art object, conflicted in its own golden black ambivalence.

A fireplace poker set has never looked so regal, so original.