Artwork by Kim Dorland,  Hoarfrost #2

Kim Dorland
Hoarfrost #2

oil and acrylic on canvas
signed, titled and dated 2006 on the reverse; unframed
36 x 30 ins ( 91.4 x 76.2 cms )

Auction Estimate: $15,000.00$10,000.00 - $15,000.00

Price Realized $19,200.00
Sale date: June 8th 2023

Bonelli ArteContemporanea, Mantova, Italy
Private Collection, Montreal
“Into the Woods”, Contemporaneamente, Milan, 2006
“Into the Woods”, Milan, 2006, unpaginated, reproduced
Sasha Bogojev, ‘Interview: Canadian Painter Kim Dorland on the ‘Same Old Future’’, “Juxtapoz”, 2 March 2018
Inherent to Kim Dorland’s work is a complex engagement with the history of Canadian landscape painting. Rather than present the land as pristine, pretty and unoccupied, Dorland often depicts a wilderness populated by ambiguous figures, partying teenagers and menacing phantoms. Dorland has stated, “For me, the woods represent nostalgia, identity and place. More recently I have found myself drawn to the woods because they seem so “now” in terms of our political/social/environmental realities. For me the woods also function as a stand-in for contemporary anxiety and dislocation.”

In “Hoarfrost #2”, two faceless figures are framed by a sparse stand of birches. The artist has taken apparent delight in rendering the snow with generous impasto, tackling a well-established motif in Canadian painting. In this view, the trees are bare of the scrawled graffiti so often present in the artist’s work. The two figures appear locked in focused conversation, their rigid poses conveying tension. The icy blue of the sky cuts into the ground at the left and between the figures. The lack of an obvious horizon line fragments the visual composition, adding psychological tension and imbuing the work with a sense of the unreal. Dorland has commented, “The landscapes are imagined based on different landscapes I’ve got stored in my memory. I didn’t want it to be obvious where or when this is happening. Is it a dream/nightmare, a memory, are these ghosts of people who used to be here, a dark premonition of the future or maybe just all in my head?”

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Kim Dorland

A native of Wainwright, Alberta, Dorland relies heavily on his tumultuous experiences growing up, translating into works that challenge preconceived notions of the Canadian wilderness. He studied at the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in Vancouver before earning his MFA at York University in Toronto in 2003. Dorland was also an artist-in-residence at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in 2014.

With an emphasis on demystifying the idea of terra nullius—the void, pristine, virgin land often idealized by historical Canadian painting and art history—the artist often incorporates contemporary figures and objects in a rugged environment emphasizing one's place in the landscape. Dorland works in a variety of media, including neon pigments, spray paint and even inkjet technologies. Works often include hidden symbols and references to the relationship humans have on the landscape they inhabit. Graffiti, cars, toys and modern infrastructure populate Dorland’s landscapes, making a contemporary comment on the traditionally barren Canadian landscape throughout art history. In each work, strong formal elements of line, contrast, and colour figure prominently to create visually complex imagery. In doing this, the artist forms a dialogue with celebrated twentieth century Canadian painting technique rather than a rejection of tradition.

As one of Canada's leading contemporary painters, Dorland exhibits frequently in Canada from coast to coast at the institution and gallery level with regular art fair participation in Toronto and New York. His works are part of the collections of The Art Gallery of Alberta, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, Bank of Montréal, Royal Bank of Canada, and The Glenbow Museum among many other private and international collections.