By Amy Karlinsky
The New Canadian Painting Competition, sponsored by RBC Investments and the Canadian Art Foundation, is a juried competition that makes available three $5,000 awards, one each from western, eastern and central Canada. The focus is on painting, that time-honoured medium that has resisted the onslaught of various technological incursions from photography through to video and broadcast television. As if on cue, to defend the rights of painting, Chris Dorosz of Winnipeg (currently living and teaching in San Francisco) won the award for his original work entitled, Screen No. 2.
Dorosz finds his inspiration in the materiality of paint; his paintings are not merely the basis for convincing illusionism. That his award-winning painting has come to harness itself in relation to mass media – such as the imagery drawn from broadcast television, the fascination with pixilation, and the interest in an image glimpsed and then translated through to other media – is, perhaps, ironic. But the material nature of the images is persuasive. Many of the surfaces resemble relief sculpture by utilizing such things as rubber bands or metal staples in vast quantities. These serve as repositories for paint and as a means of ordering surfaces into both organic and modernist patterns of repetition and variation.
More recently, Dorosz has been making figurative sculptures out of paint drops on clear plastic rods. The figures measure eight to 10 inches high. His illusionist imagery is drawn from technologically derived sources, such as the pixilated surfaces of a monitor or a video clip of afternoon television fare. Within these illusions we recognize the human condition as always and everywhere being mediated by technology, with ultimate implications for the visibility and clarity of the image. We recognize, too, the stunning invention of Dorosz’s use of materials and his insistence on retaining illusion and image. Dorosz has shown recently at Mission 17 in San Francisco. New work will be on display at the Leo Kamen Gallery in Toronto in April, 2004.