Time Out New York / March 9, 2011
If ever a body of paintings deserved to be called eye candy, it’s the set of seven luscious new canvases in Tomory Dodge’s current show. The artist refers to these exuberant abstractions as “train wrecks,” after their tangled piling-up of surface detail, but stand back a few paces and a surprising degree of organization comes into focus.
Dodge employs a few familiar but nonetheless effective tricks to rein in the works’ more wayward ingredients, unifying otherwise free-form compositions by painting over backings of rigid vertical stripes, for example, and making diptychs that are almost—but not quite—symmetrical in the manner of Rorschach inkblots. And while the results might look somewhat flat in reproduction, they reveal surprising depth and atmosphere when observed in the flesh.
At times, the diversity and physicality of Dodge’s way with oils suggests a painterly take on Richard Serra’s famous verb list: Where the heavy-metal sculptor cites “to crumple, to shave, to tear, to chip” and so on as the processes to which one could subject a given material, Dodge’s version might include “to daub, to drag, to scrape, to squirt” and a hundred other possibilities. In the likes of A Slight Disappearance and Horrid Torrid Times, patterns and gestures are thrown across the canvas like confetti to the breeze, intersecting and overlapping in a joyful riot of color. Dodge’s confections aren’t without precedent—another long list, of names from Hans Hoffmann to Fiona Rae, suggests itself as one walks around the gallery—but they’re certainly sweet.