Toomey Tourell is pleased to announce a one-person exhibition by Portland based artist Dorothy Goode, entitled Sharpie Looks for God.
A fiercely independent thinker raised in the 1970’s by counter culture hippies in Mendocino County, California, Goode’s work references her interests in literature, philosophy and critical theory while investigating gesture, color and line. The exuberance of her mark making nods to the rise and fall of Abstract Expressionism, while her graphite scrawls recall graffiti art and Neo- Expressionism. Goode’s gift for color and gesture recall both Sam Francis and Helen Frankenthaler in their use of highly saturated, thinned out paint, while her use of text suggests something both cryptic and self-revelatory. In this exhibition, her medium of egg tempera and sharpie is uniquely suited to her mindset and method – the texts are for the most part obscured behind layers of impasto, lending the works a tension between expression and concealment. The multiple strata of color and text, often heart meltingly beautiful, are belied by her aversion to “pretty’ and her willingness to dirty up a composition if it strikes her as too perfect. Her conjuring of visual pleasure is tempered by her love/hate relationship with the concepts of transcendence and existentialism. She is a reluctant romantic, her suspicion of lyrical intent placing her firmly within the context of our contemporary post-ironic ambivalence.
In this particular grouping of works, Goode’s approach is at once inclusive and collaborative. It began as a way to get paintings out of the studio and into bars. The ritual of studio painting, so firmly entrenched, became a project of invitation and liberation. It became less and less important to her who had made the marks, but rather focusing on the participation in the movable math problem known to her as making a painting or a drawing. “Sharpie Looks for God’s” journey has been set into six configurations: “The Core”, “The Open Core”, “The Apartment”, “The Vertical”, “The Horizontal”, and “The Snake”. The aim of these configurations is to blur the the issue that these are indeed individual abstract paintings, but now inextricably intertwined.
In the artist’s words: “As a title, Sharpie Looks for God is a bit tongue in cheek, but the paintings aren’t. Some of the pieces did, as blank panels, come with me into bars, and things were done to them by people I met or knew already. Some of the work was altered in the studio by other people. I have appropriated gestures and accepted decisions I did not make. This was liberating, and it highlighted a notion I have long held: that it doesn’t really matter what happens, only what one does about it. But my abstract painting practice IS tied, if loosely, to a need for the realization of what can be called a complete, if not perfect, moment. That the work of another person’s hand can be a part of such a moment is not entirely surprising. And leads to a wondering about how moments run in packs, not only within individual people (or paintings) but within how they congregate. When I started to put all these very individual paintings together I found that they wanted to create certain forms. Forms with a large degree of regularity, with slight variation, inside of which movement from one piece to another was encouraged, but where the individual could still be seen as separate and unique. This reminds me of how we, as people, seek meaning. Or God.”