By Sarah Douglas
Anyone in need of reassurance that painting is alive and well amongst emerging artists need look no further than Tomory Dodge. No sooner had Dodge earned his MFA from the esteemed CalArts in Los Angeles (where he is based) than that city’s Acme Gallery and the relatively new Taxter & Spengemann in New York offered him simultaneous solo shows. In the seven paintings in a range of sizes on view at Taxter & Spengemann, Dodge is concerned with the intersection of nature and culture. In one, a forest floor is strewn with beer cans and sundry other detritus, and strings of Christmas lights are draped from the trees – leftovers from revelry of some kind or another. Dodge paints a barren tree, its branches festooned with beer bottles, set against a sky of powdery Tiepolo blue. In another painting, a tree or shrub, set in a lush green landscape, seems to explode into parti-colored brushstrokes, and in yet another, the entire surface is taken up by such energetic brushstrokes, to the point of near-total abstraction. Whatever his subject matter, Dodge happily uses it as an excuse to revel in the sheer act of painting: sometimes the paint is laid on as thick as cake icing, and often in a jewel-like, non-naturalistic palette that calls to mind that of Peter Doig and others of his ilk who insure the continued vitality of eye-pleasing, inventive painting.