"Polarities: No Ideas But In Things”

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"Big Mac for Emily", 2014. "Oil On Canvas" 40" X 40" © David Dorsey
"Candy Jar #9", 2014. Oil On Canvas. 52" X 52" © David Dorsey
"Blurberries", 2014. Oil On Linen. 40" X 40" © David Dorsey
"Baboon", 2014. Oil On Linen. 18" X 30" X 2" © David Dorsey
"Candy Jar #12", 2014. Oil On Canvas" 52" X 52" © David Dorsey
"Dahlias and Flour Sifter", 2014. Oil On Canvas. 26" X 52" © David Dorsey
"Polarities: No Ideas But In Things”
Curated by: Vernita Nemec

548 West 28th St (6th Floor, Suite # 632)
10001 New York City
June 10th, 2014 - June 28th, 2014
Opening: June 12th, 2014 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

(212) 414-4040
Tue-Sat 12-6
Still life modern, painting, figurative, modern, pop
free admission


CHELSEA: In his first solo in his three years as a member at Viridian, David Dorsey’s painting dwells on humble objects or commonplace scenes that bear little conceptual weight, yet in the way they come together for this exhibit, he shows how they can evoke life’s vital oppositions: life and death, dark and light, innocence and experience. Each individual painting, considered alone, represents an exploration of purely perceptual concerns, exploring how all the most traditional elements of painting—light, color, form, and the physical quality of paint—can trigger an immediate apprehension of life as a whole, in ways that words can’t reach.

“I like to focus on things and moments that might be so common, they’re taken for granted, so that you have a fresh impression of what you might see every day,” he says. "Jelly beans. A white clam sauce jar. A cheap stainless steel cream pitcher I bought at Wegman's. Dahlias I grow for next to nothing by wintering the tubers in my basement and replanting them every spring. The skulls would otherwise be sitting in a box forgotten, somewhere in a college lab. The diaper pins I store in the clam sauce jar. But bullet casings you can buy in bulk from Etsy.”

Completed over the past five years, these eighteen paintings express basic oppositions, sometimes ironically, sometimes literally. The ideas are secondary and usually arise after the work is done. In choosing subjects, Dorsey is concerned with perceptual qualities As William Carlos Williams put it, “No ideas but in things.”

Dorsey lives and works in upstate New York, has shown his work extensively in the U.S., as well as in Europe. He has won various awards, and it is represented in collections throughout the U.S. He writes regularly about art at Manifest has published his criticism.


"Eggplant and Bok Choy" and "Still Life with Pocket Door," are painted so vividly with almost unreal, vibrant colors that they seize viewers' attention, enticing with beautiful freshness. The living is cast against the long departed with his third painting, "Skull Unearthed Circa 1930," a stark work of a pale room washed in clean light with a weathered skull propped atop a cardboard box. The quietude of the work is enhanced greatly by the single black audio speaker sitting silently on a shelf and the nearly toothless, gaping maw of the human remains.   ---Rebecca Rafferty


In David Dorsey’s “Skull Unearthed Circa 1930″, the shipping box, scribble-marked “actual human skull”, presents the decapitated human remain in the . . . incongruous setting of a breezy open spring window. Study the sockets and cavities of the sculpted toothless mandible as the artist did in an intricately painted, multiple ridged landscape. One . . . is engrossed in the painter’s facility and fascination with his subject.                               –Marline Steel, AEQUI      



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