View exhibition installation photos here.
Kathleen Cullen is pleased to present a two-person exhibition featuring paintings by Michael St. John and Dennis Dawson hosted by VESPAProperties in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. St. John's and Dawson's work is linked by the materiality and object-ness of their paintings' surfaces. Both artists combine painting, collage, and found objects in an attempt to bridge the gap between what one does and sees while out walking around in the world with what goes on inside the studio. Both have an unending obsession with the possibility of disparate materials, and how when used, these materials become important factors in the construction and understanding of content. In this way, materiality and content become one as a means to engender the possibility of meaning. St John's paintings contain actual objects and surfaces, in addition to those represented in trompe l'oeil. His work is actively engaged in conflating modes of representation and is not dissimilar to how we experience the word in a digital culture. The real and the represented merge as one and yet call into question the validity of the other. Dawson's paintings act as a foil to St. John's and further the dialogue between what we experience firsthand and what we receive through mediation. The surfaces of Dawson's paintings recall those of weathered walls and degraded surfaces. His paintings act as locators to an impoverished, gritty and rural world. His intention is to replicate the surfaces and traces with which he has personally encountered . Even when his work comes visually close to their sources, they are condensed constructions that function both as “real” and as representations of the real.
“You begin with the possibilities of the materials and then you let them do what they can do.” (Robert Rauschenberg)