David Kordansky Gallery is pleased to announce Waited, an exhibition of new work by Andrew Dadson. This will be Dadson’s first exhibition with the gallery, and his first solo exhibition in Los Angeles. The exhibition will run from February 9th through March 23rd; an opening reception will be held on Saturday, February 9th from 6 to 9PM.
Dadson has developed a practice in which the traditional limits of the canvas are crossed, blurred, and questioned. This iconoclastic stance, however, is not merely a formal one, or a way of simply making the next move in the chess match of endgames that has come to define painting as a historical genre. Rather, the driving force of the work posits that the objects and discourses that we have come to associate with painting are not nearly as familiar or discrete as we think.
Several works incorporating leaning canvases provide the first clues that Dadson has subverted the pictorial in favor of more directly physical concerns. But on closer inspection, even the sculptural placement of stretchers, some of them quite large in scale, is beholden to Dadson’s literal handling of the paint they support. Layers of bright color have been covered with subsequent layers of black or white; these layers have then been painstakingly scraped, pushed, and dragged to the top edge of the canvas, forming a seductive, slick barrier of paint between canvas and wall. The accumulated medium becomes a zone where the painting seems to exceed itself, to reach out for the world beyond its borders.
A major new work, 5 Planks, combines five of these leaning canvases, each of their multi-colored under-paintings covered by a top layer of white, creating a scenario in which Dadson’s aggressively additive painting methodology is matched by the serial repetition of the support as a sculptural form. Towards the bottom of each ‘plank,’ the remnants of what appears to be an energetic, gestural composition in bright hues are seen against a backdrop of raw linen; the white paint that ultimately obscures this, and that comes to inhabit the gap between the top of the plank and the wall, seems to defy gravity. The work records––and exemplifies––the action of the body as it struggles to counteract the forces that weigh it down.
In keeping with this heightened consciousness of the body, the titles of two paintings on view are borrowed from well-known examples of performance-based work by other artists. Zen Head refers to Nam Jun Paik’s Zen for Head, a performance in which the artist used his own head as a brush to drag pigment along a scroll of paper; and Face Painting draws its title from Paul McCarthy’s performative action of the same name, in which the artist’s body, led by his face, is used to spread a length of white paint across the floor. In Dadson’s case, these works, which hang on the wall, feature layers of black or white that have been scraped from top to bottom, so that a mass of paint hangs precipitously from the lower edge of the canvas. The foundational gesture of hanging the painting on the wall becomes a means for highlighting the collaborative, performative relationship between an artist and his materials.
Regardless of scale, Dadson’s work communicates intimacy, a willingness to extend the ‘private’ world of the painting into the ‘public’ world of its surrounding architecture and vice versa. The works in the Re-stretched series, for example, are created by scraping layers of paint toward each of the four edges of a canvas; when the paint dries, Dadson re-stretches the linen onto a larger frame. The result changes the painting in two ways: it allows the virgin linen that was previously stapled to the back of the stretcher to become visible, and it pushes the thick band of paint that had accumulated at the edges onto the front of the composition, making it a pictorial as well as a sculptural element. In a major new eight-part work in this series, entitled White/ Red/ Orange/ Yellow/ Green/ Blue/ Purple/ Pink Re-stretched, in which each canvas has been painted with a different base color, hue becomes the support upon which Dadson’s other experiments are conducted. As these base colors show through the material that covers them, the optical aspect of painting is fused to its physicality. The senses are joined in a synesthetic circuit, and looking at the work is as embodied an experience as making it.
David Kordansky Gallery
3143 S. La Cienega Blvd., Unit A Los Angeles, CA, 90016