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David Dornan: Detritus

June 5, 2018 - Kelly Skeen

David Dornan: Detritus

David Dornan's representational paintings stem from an abstract process, one where paint is slapped and spilled and subjects are fabricated from appealing lines, shapes and colors rather than replicated from life. His haphazard studio snapshots are "products of destruction" that reveal the "residue of the painting process." Dornan’s paintings however, do not depict actual scenes from his studio; they are reflective instead of the artist’s internal creative process, which is actualized through imagery of toppled jars, strewn brushes and splattered paint. “It’s a fabricated scene,” says Dornan of his chaotic studio paintings. “I’m more interested in its abstract nature. The subject isn’t as important to me as the pretense; the objects I paint are just excuses for people to get into the world I’m seeing, which is extremely abstract.”

In order to further draw the viewer into this realm, David Dornan inserts familiar objects into his disheveled studio scenes. Honey bear jars, Tabasco bottles and Campbell’s Soup cans are splatted and filled with paint, disguised among the other overturned paint cans and spewed pigment. According to Dornan, this is a nod to the “blue-collar artist” who repurposes idle objects as painterly tools. These nostalgic objects are also open-ended symbols meant to inspire a stream of consciousness response from the viewer as associated memories resurface, cultivating stronger connections with the work. For the artist, the Campbell’s Soup can is an ironic art historical reference to Andy Warhol who in opposition to Dornan, de-emphasized the artist’s presence within the creative process. We can imagine that Andy Warhol’s Factory was a far cry from the studios represented in Dornan’s paintings.

David Dornan’s solo show “Detritus” opens on Friday, June 15th. The artist interprets his show title in multiple ways. In one sense, detritus is “the product of destruction” - what’s leftover when a painting is complete. This is represented literally through Dornan’s typical macro views of studio wreckage and in paintings like “Session,” where a wider perspective of the artist’s studio reveals a completed still life surrounded by the chaos of its creation. Detritus is also interpreted in a less literal way as it refers to the remnants of a memory or era in our lives. David Dornan’s paintings inspire viewers to sift through the detritus of their minds to recall a specific connection or story related to the nostalgic objects obscured within his work. “If I can touch their world in that tiny way,” says Dornan, “I feel as if I’ve succeeded.”

Join us for the opening reception of “Detritus” on June 15thfrom 5-7pm. The show will be on view through June 22nd. Click here to view David Dornan’s exhibition paintings.


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