artist / participant
CRG Gallery presents its first solo exhibition with Los Angeles based artist Tomory Dodge.
A world on the outskirts, off of dirt roads just beyond the infrequent traffic of two lane highways we might find such scenes as those described in the paintings of Tomory Dodge. Detritus from late night party-goers strewn about the desert landscape; discarded clothing dangling from cacti and towers of precariously stacked Budweiser cans, perhaps feats of drunken mastery, stand silhouetted against the blaring sun. These are clandestine sites, places where revelers might go to partake in the illicit or where youth might go to explore and possibly uncover the remains of a hiker that lost his way.
One image in particular, titled Weekend, after the film by Jean-Luc Godard (1967) shows a drum set in a wooded surrounding painted with brilliantly tessellated foliage. It seems as if a vacant but still resonating aftermath of a scene in the film where, in the middle of the forest, a man playing drums is encountered alongside another barbecuing. The reference to the film seems significant beyond this image alone however. Between seemingly random events the film follows a young couple attempting a weekend vacation in France only to be hindered by one obstacle after another leading finally to murder in the woods. The chaotic events that manage to accommodate a successful narrative here seem in line with the possibilities that could eventually lead to the artifacts in Dodges paintings. While much of the imagery is in fact drawn from things observed during excursions into the California desert much is left to fantasy where a sudden shift from such arid surroundings to the arctic north is not impossible, setting the stage for paintings like Crush, depicting the fractured remains of a wrecked ship frozen in glacial ice.
Yet among all this subject matter remains the matter at hand; where at closer proximity these images begin to break down into a surface of well understood gestures; thickly laid on with crude precision, each with a sense of economy and intention independent of the images they constitute. And thus the images represented begin to seem more like clever armatures for something more concerned with the abstract and gestural. While much of these paintings appear to be informed heavily by a cinematic understanding of image and light with such characteristics as lens-flare and anamorphic distortion, anomalies found only in the realm of photography, it is for Dodge a means of expanding an already vast vocabulary of imagery in the service of paint.
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