June 18, 2012

Rodney Dickson's angst

I imagine Rodney Dickson alone in a cavernous subterranean studio, some kind of metal anthem rock blaring through an old sound system, scowling as he throws paint at the canvas, slashing, throwing, slashing some more. Sixteen hours later he heads home, disgusted, and drinks heavily. The next morning, hungover, he thinks, maybe this isn't so bad...or maybe it sucks. He picks up a tube of paint...

This is some old-school, sturm and drang stuff. You can still get dizzy from the fumes.

Dense layers upon layers of paint are evidence of the battles Dickson wages on each canvas, destroying and obscuring the previous work and repainting in ongoing rigorous sessions, passionately and ruthlessly attacking the canvas until the colors, the light, the relationships on the painted surface capture the essence of the idea. He says the paintings feel like they’ve been 'dragged out of him' each time, never getting easier as he strives daily to paint better than the one before, creating and destroying until something unique and genuine emerges. (via Gasser Grunert)

 Rodney Dickson at Klemens Gasser & Tanja Grunert, installation view.

Rodney Dickson, Untitled (R.D.13), 2012, oil on canvas, 96 x 60 inches

Rodney Dickson, Untitled (R.D.3), 2012, oil on canvas, 96 x 60 inches

Rodney Dickson, Untitled (R.D.7), 2012, oil on canvas, 96 x 60 inches

Watch this 2009 video interview to find out whether Dickson is anything like I imagined.

"Rodney Dickson: Paintings," Klemens Gasser & Tanja Grunert, Chelsea, New York, NY. Through July 13, 2012.

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