Gallery Openings and Events

Washington Drawing Center Presents Chris Dolan 07092012-09212013: Recent Landscapes of the District and Southern Maryland

Photo courtesy of Washington Drawing Center.

Photo courtesy of Washington Drawing Center.

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Opening Reception: Thursday, June 19 from 6pm to 8pm

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Exhibition runs June 19 through September 13, 2014.

If a painter, and a landscape painter to be precise, were to take on the role of a diarist, that is, chronicle the daily climatic and environmental conditions in and around the district for the duration of a summer, then you might get a good idea of the approach of Washington artist Christopher Dolan in his one-man show, “Chris Dolan” at the Washington Drawing Center.

The “diary entries” are a selection from several dozen paintings completed over the course of the summer, 2013. They are small pictures painted on location on paper and then laid on panel. Dolan “set himself the challenge of producing one landscape every day for the period between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend” and frankly announces, “The works were largely improvised…and their ultimate success or failure was mostly irrelevant to me.”

A new, if modest, spin on the au courant contemporary art obsession with contingency? Maybe, to some extent, but also a continuing interpretation of the older tradition of the daily practice of painting: the sharpening of perceptual observation, representational impulses vying with abstract motivations, studio practice versus direct response, interaction with the real material world and a tuning down, at least for a summer, of the buzz of art theory and conception. The paintings are not picturesque, sentimental, anecdotal, or particularly revealing of the appearance of the “DMV.” The paint application is spontaneous and heavy, and richly colored, almost expressionist if the word has meaning at this late date. Weather conditions, atmospheric effects, and easy souvenir imagery give ground to the artist’s aesthetic orientation, which runs a thread back to Cezanne via mid 20th Century non-objective abstraction, a rigorous and nuanced line indeed. The paintings are formally strong and show best as a group, they occupy the space between two superficially opposed but related schools of painting: representation and abstraction and fix a moment in a career of a talented young artist. – Paul Reuther (WDC curator)

Washington Drawing Center at Studio No. 7 on Artist’s Walk at Monroe St. Market is located at 716 Monroe St. For more information visit http://washingtondrawingcenter.org.

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