Alex Dordoy: Winner
- Talitha Kotzé
- 1 October 2009
A metaphysical battle of paint versus reality
There is something of a painting coup d’état happening here: an insistent need for paint to overthrow and overwrite objects, for objects to be perceived first and foremost through the physical medium of liquid substances – as if the artist sees paint before he sees structures. Walls, window panes, skirting boards and other surfaces exist solely for the purpose of holding paint.
Glasgow painter Alex Dordoy exhibits a new body of work which plays with the reclamation of analogue paraphernalia, industrial detritus, broken technology and the sense of self. ‘New Voodoo (do you?)’ is a pastiche voodoo doll which overlooks the gallery space – watching, protecting, embodying the spirit of what is at work here.
Sections around the walls of the gallery have been washed with inconspicuous colour as if a painting wants to break out and present itself in solid form. This functions as both a visual and conceptual switch that could be turned on to understand and appreciate paint as alchemy. Dordoy’s works are a medley of painterly substances which have been instantly matured into a well presented display. His aim is not to recreate the real world by means of 2D representation, but rather to transmute reality into paint.
Humour abounds: ‘I need to return some video tapes’ is a large painting which – like a retro black hole – has sucked in video tapes to become part of a whirl-winded painting. A series of mutilated trouser presses have been transformed into bold, visceral objects with depth, texture and chiaroscuro as a result of the artist’s slashing, painting and adding objects to them.
Quietly, yet with authority, a single object hangs in the middle of a large wall space. It is a painted mask of the artist’s face entitled ‘Forever for nothing’. This death mask attempts to poke fun at the futility of its purpose, but again it is covered with delicate brushstrokes and becomes another power object in Dordoy’s conspiracy.
One gets the sense that a metaphysical battle is being played out between the representation of reality and painting in itself and for itself.
And the winner is: Paint.
The Modern Institute, until Sat 17 Oct