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An exhibition of Robert Kingston’s recent works will open at the Dolby Chadwick Gallery on March 7th\, 2013. Kingston skillf ully uses abstract visual cues to evoke shifting landscapes and dreamscapes upon which viewers can project their own meanings and mythologies. Kingsto n’s arrival at these “scapes” is appropriately rooted in what he describes as “meandering journeys” that start with an initial\, random mark. “I look at my work as the piling on of mistakes and hesitations\,” Kingston explain s\, “many artists are plagued by doubt\, but I’ve learned to use mistakes a nd doubt as a source of power. For me\, the more mistakes the better.” The final paintings are a testament to these journeys of contemplation and disc overy. Born of abundant layers of markings and gestures—as well as frequent erasure—Kingston’s lyrical paintings present highly complex\, fully resolv ed spaces.

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Back in the ‘70s and ‘80s when Kingston first started pa inting\, artists were preoccupied with creating thickly impastoed oil paint ings. “Soho smelled of oil paint\,” he recalls\, “it was a delicious\, over powering smell.” Since Kingston’s practice is predicated on spontaneous and improvised movements\, he ultimately abandoned slow-drying oil paints in f avor of water-based media. Acrylic paints are not only more conducive to hi s process of backing up and moving forward\, they also enable him to move b eyond questions of materiality and surface quality to focus instead on visi on. Contrary to the practices of many abstract painters\, Kingston foregrou nds the effects of dematerialization in order to call forth his richly sugg estive environments. He consequently likens himself to 18th and 19th century painters such as Tiepolo and Titian whose works are more concerned with realizing a vision of a given subject or scene than wi th the paint itself. Shedding light on his expectations for his own work\, Kingston reflects: “I would like the painting to be like a hole in the wall where you might look or even fall into.”

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Kingston is drawn to refe rences to ancient cultures\, legends\, and myths\, as well as cryptic\, lon g-forgotten systems of record-keeping and communication such as the scratch es on the walls at Pompeii or Paleolithic cave paintings. The impact of pai ntings at Chauvet\, Lascaux\, and other subterranean spaces can be seen acr oss Kingston’s works\, including the recent I Have Forgotten the Voices of the Animals (2012)\, which exhibits a frenzy of animal-like and orga nic forms that have been pared-down to their most basic\, essential element s. As many of these markings are most accurately described as scrawls or sc ratches\, Kingston is often likened to Cy Twombly. Twombly\, like Kingston\ , was also captivated by the ancient world. His Fifty Days at Iliam (1972)\, for example\, presents an abstract visual narration of the Trojan War as described in The Iliad.

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Kingston’s fascination with G reek history is likewise rooted in the myths and legends of the Homeric epi cs. Taken from a Robert Duncan poem written from the point of view of Achil les\, the title of I Do Not Know More Than The Sea Tells Me (2012) c onfirms Kingston’s affinity\, if superficially\, for the reputed seat of ci vilization. But this link is also deep and sustained. In Kingston’s recent works\, for instance\, vibrant\, crystal blues evoke the Mediterranean Sea and sky while an overall sun-bleached quality suggests blinding sunlight\, whitewashed walls\, alabaster beaches\, timeworn temple columns\, and tumbl e-polished rocks. 

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Though Kingston and Twombly share many similarit ies\, Kingston’s practice has taken a different path in recent years. While the older artist experimented with complex and unorthodox spaces\, these s paces exist mostly on the surface of the canvas. Kingston’s paintings\, on the other hand\, are more traditional in that they seek to open up broad sw aths of deeply receding space. Space itself is structured in service of a v ision—visions which ultimately manifest as dreamscapes and landscapes.  

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Robert Kingston was born in 1955 in Sungei Gerong\, Indonesia\, and c urrently resides in Los Angeles\, California. He earned his BFA from Califo rnia State University Long Beach in 1986 and his MFA two years later from C laremont Graduate University. In addition to exhibiting across the United S tates\, his art has been reviewed in the Los Angeles Times\, Artw eek\, L.A. Style\, L.A. Weekly\, and Artscene. Thi s will be his third solo show at the Dolby Chadwick Gallery.

DTEND:20130330 DTSTAMP:20141227T215714 DTSTART:20130307 GEO:37.7887091;-122.405531 LOCATION:Dolby Chadwick Gallery\,210 Post Street Suite 205 \nSan Francisco\ , CA 94108 SEQUENCE:0 SUMMARY:Robert Kingston\, Robert Kingston UID:256216 END:VEVENT BEGIN:VEVENT DTEND:20130307T193000 DTSTAMP:20141227T215714 DTSTART:20130307T173000 GEO:37.7887091;-122.405531 LOCATION:Dolby Chadwick Gallery\,210 Post Street Suite 205 \nSan Francisco\ , CA 94108 SEQUENCE:0 SUMMARY:Robert Kingston\, Robert Kingston UID:256217 END:VEVENT END:VCALENDAR