For his second solo exhibition at CRG, Los Angeles based artist, Tomory Dodge presents a new body of work that has significantly transformed from its earlier formations wherein the image and the gesture were founded in more explicitly representational and landscape derived terms. While still engaged with notions of materiality and representation, these new works now describe, in a range of gestural and pictorial states, the catastrophic.
Among the larger works on canvas in the exhibition, some of which span as much as ten feet, are images that have developed from his representations of explosions and detritus. The precarious place in which that representation resides however is at the heart of this new body of work and an extension of where Dodge has always positioned his image and the material that constitutes it. With titles like Daisy Cutter and Depth Charge Ethel, the paintings make reference to military ordnance -the former after the devastating 15,000 lb. bombs used in Vietnam and Afghanistan to the latter, ostensibly after the Grinderman track of the same name; a ballad that speaks more toward emotional devastation brought about by a fleeting love; a clue that suggests that not all the aftermath being described here is of the physical realm but perhaps these thickly laid gestural marks still retain their emotive and expressive power as well.
The things described in these paintings are themselves gestural in nature; exploding, collapsing, flooding, and immersing –as much as these words can describe actual physical states, -the stuff of international headlines; an earthquake in Chile, a collapsing bridge in Minnesota, the same words have seemed so apt, in the tradition of abstraction, to describe that which eludes a specific physical reference beyond itself. It is because of this seemingly inseparable condition between the catastrophic and its means of being rendered in these paintings that one need not venture far from them to affirm that our encounters with catastrophe and destruction are very often moments of bewilderment that range on the sublime. To see something that was at once static and seemingly permanent be dissolved in an instant to nothing more than rubble is a moment where the ephemeral offers a fleeting glimpse of itself in a brief transitory moment. What could be seen as the splintered remnants of a once cohesive physical structure in the same right strives to convey a euphoric and floating sense of weightlessness and pleasure.
This exhibition coincides with the publication of the new monograph “Tomory Dodge” available now through ACME, Los Angeles / CRG Gallery, New York, Amazon.com and available soon through Barnes&Noble and D.A.P.