Show Preview | David Dornan

Santa Fe, NM
Meyer Gallery, June 16-22

David Dornan, Bus Stop, oil, 13 x 16.

David Dornan, Bus Stop, oil, 13 x 16.

This story was featured in the June 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  June 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

In David Dornan’s Utah studio, there are no fewer than 40 painting “starts” filling the room and spilling out into the hallway. “I can’t even get them all in here,” Dornan says. Sixteen to 20 of these works are on view at Meyer Gallery in his solo show, which opens on Friday, June 16, with an artist’s reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Among them are several of his signature “panel” paintings—depicting shadowboxes filled with similar objects like vases or melting ice-cream cones—as well as florals and other still lifes. “To me, David is a virtuoso painter,” says gallery director John Manzari. “I love how he’s not afraid to explore the properties and effects of paint. Using techniques to draw you into his work, it becomes evident he’s an artist who enjoys his craft.”

In his work Dornan seeks to make emotional connections with viewers without narrating a story or delivering meaning. “I am just trying to take this little area of my world and find the thread that connects me to people everywhere,” he says. The subject matter that inspires those connections can be found all around his studio. “I like to collect the detritus of people,” he says, holding the rusted remains of a partially opened tin can, the equally rusted can opener still attached to the lip. This relic was passed along to him by someone who stumbled upon it in the mountains, considered it, and made the decision that “this isn’t trash because David Dornan doesn’t see it as trash,” Dornan recounts.

“I paint what’s close to me,” he says. “That I grow my own sunflowers and roses is critical.” While the subject matter, to an extent, is secondary to his purpose, he must have a connection to the subject matter in order to accomplish it. “As I place different shapes, sizes, and color patterns in my work, an empathy with the objects develops. Texture becomes skin wrinkles, and a bottle ages. Clean, smooth shapes are youthful. A slap of red is aggressive. Pattern becomes a decorative dress.” These inanimate objects become masculine or feminine. Then his paintings can perform their purpose: “I want my paintings to go out to people who will look at them and somehow feel more human,” he says.

Dornan’s process continually evolves as he develops new techniques. He wants his paintings to be as much about the medium as they are about the image. “There is an integrity of materials that I respect,” he says. “Paint needs to look like paint; there are natural things that paint wants to do unencumbered by the human hand.” So he allows the activity of painting—the dripping, the splattering, the messiness—to have a presence in his work and to keep the process alive for him. —Laura Rintala

contact information
505.983.1434
www.meyergalleries.com

This story was featured in the June 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  June 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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