RYAN LEE is pleased to announce Whorled, a solo exhibition of recent works that will feature large-scale and multi-paneled paintings, graphite drawings, and animations by Josh Dorman. This new body of work, commencing during the artist’s residency at Art Omi in Ghent, NY, employs Dorman’s signature style of combining vintage paper fragments, layered found images, and painted forms.
Dorman heavily incorporates player piano scrolls as the foundation on the panels in this body of work, marking a significant turn from his use of antique maps, a consistent element of his early paintings. Dorman collages engravings and diagrams culled from textbooks, manuals, and documents that were published prior to the widespread use of photography. His selection of engravings, which relate in form and color, is deliberate and measured. He considers unfamiliar, obsolete, and cryptic systems to inform these choices and ultimately his process, resulting in non-linear, multi-layered narratives that explore the mythical landscape and notions of collapsed time, altered boundaries, and dream states. As the exhibition title suggests, Dorman weaves together a whorl of images borrowed from texts on botany, aerospace engineering, cattle disease, and microbiology to generate an internal logic within each painting. Dualistic ideas of chaos and order, natural and manmade, fluidity and restraint reoccur in his collaged universes to prompt discovery and fantasy. Essential to his oeuvre, Dorman believes that his references and influences, from artists Paul Klee and Pieter Brueghel to Sienese art and Chinese landscapes, transcend history and time, remaining eternally present.
In Natural Selection, a painting comprised of 16 separate panels, Dorman documents bedlam underneath a pedestrian bridge. The grid format supports the composition while isolating discreet instances. Animals of irregular scale parade the elevated passage with their human counterparts, while vessels the size of buildings and buildings the size of vessels find a home burrowed into the land masses positioned on the edge of the paintings. A flock of birds dives into thick painterly washes of hunter green water where children toss guns. These momentary events happen in chorus even while time seems to move at different speeds. While the title makes discernible reference to Darwinian theory, it also plays on the idea that the contradictions and absurdities in the painting are not unusual, but a natural outcome of its evolution.
Dorman (b. 1966, Baltimore) graduated Skidmore College in 1988 and received his MFA from Queens College in 1992. He recently completed animations for Anna Clyne’s “The Violin,” which were on view at Federal Hall in New York during a live concert. Dorman has exhibited at CUE Art Foundation, The Drawing Center, Katonah Museum, The National Academy Museum, Tang Museum, Trierenberg Corporate Kunsthalle, and Weatherspoon Art Museum. His work is included in permanent collections at the Butler Institute of American Art, OH; International Collage Center, PA; Naples Museum, FL; and Springfield Art Museum, MO.
All images: Josh Dorman, installation of "Whorled," 2014. Courtesy of RYAN LEE, New York.