Kim Dorland at Angell Gallery

Starting with Nuit Blanche and ending with Art Toronto, October is going to be great for art lovers. I’m especially looking forward to the Kim Dorland show opening mid-month.


ABOVE: Kim Dorland, Untitled (Painter in a Canoe), 2013, oil and acrylic on jute over wood panel, 72 x 29 inches

BELOW: Kim Dorland, So Fucked-up, 2008, oil, acrylic and spray paint on canvas, 60 x 72 inches

Kim Dorland’s new show “I Know That I Know Nothing” opens October 14 at the Angell Gallery, and, being a fan of his work, I’m really looking forward to it. While I plan on writing a review of the show later this month, here first is a little bio:

Born in 1974 in Wainwright Alberta, Kim Dorland graduated with an MFA from York University (in Toronto) and now lives and works in Vancouver, B.C.

His career began to take off in the early 2000’s and in 2007 he was a finalist in the RBC Canadian Painting Competition (he didn’t win). Since then, he’s shown in multiple venues including a solo exhibition at the prestigious McMichael Canadian Art Collection in 2014.

His work, which takes its inspiration from Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven is in some ways similar to Peter Doig, but with a heavier, almost sculptor-like hand (Dorland often adds so many layers of paint that screws are needed to anchor everything in place). To add contrast, washes and sprays are placed alongside thick globs of paint, and bright florescent colors are used to accent darker spaces. All this makes for a complex and compelling visual narrative.

The doors to this exhibition don’t open for another 16 days but if I had to guess, it’s going to be one of the years best shows.

Kim Dorland on Art with Heart

I recently had the opportunity to speak with artist Kim Dorland about his involvement with Art with Heart, an upcoming charity auction to benefit Casey House in Toronto.



ABOVE: Kim Dorland, FUKD, 2015, oil, acrylic, ink and spray paint on paper, 40 x 60 inches, courtesy of the Angell Gallery (Lot 31, donated by the artist, estimate: $11,900)

Last week, I received an email asking if I’d be interested in writing about Casey House and Art with Heart. Being familiar with the them, I quickly agreed.

First, a little bit about Casey House:

Founded in 1988, Casey House is a specialty hospital committed to providing compassionate, inspired health care to people living with HIV/AIDS. Originally a hospice, it has evolved through the years to include home care and outreach programs in the Toronto area.

And now, a little bit about Art with Heart:

Casey House’s signature fundraising event, Art with Heart is an annual contemporary art auction and reception. Now in its 22nd year, the event features some of Canada’s most celebrated artists along with some top-notch emerging talent.

In preparing this post, I was given the opportunity to speak with one of my favorite artists, Kim Dorland. I’ve written about him in the past, so I was super excited to talk to him about Art with Heart, Casey House, and the piece he has graciously donated. Below, is a brief Q&A I had with him last night:

This is the 7th time you’ve donated to Art with Heart. How did you come to be involved with them and Casey House?

One of the first paintings I ever showed was with Art with Heart, back in, gosh, that would have been back in 2004. I think the painting was listed for $500 and if I remember correctly, it failed to sell. They approached me or my gallery, and you know, I’ve always felt very comfortable donating a painting to them.

Charity is obviously important to you. Has your involvement with organizations such as Art with Heart shaped your artistic practice, or any of the relationships you have within the arts community?

Well, I get hit up for charitable stuff all the time and I actually try to donate to as many people as I can because it’s a nice way to give back. But with Art with Heart, it’s first up.They always get a yes from me (I’ve had to turn down a few this year just because I’m so busy with shows and stuff). Obviously it’s a great cause, but also, they are such a pleasure to deal with. So it’s kind of an easy yes.

Why did you decide to donate the piece FUKD to this years auction?

Ha, ha, yeah, well, I always try to give a larger piece. The nice thing with a painting like FUKD is that it’s a work on paper so I think the price is a little more available for people. Therefore, I feel like Casey House is going to get a better result with it. And also, I was really happy with the piece. I did a number of works on paper this year and I felt like it was probably the strongest one.

FUKD contains trees that appear to have been vandalized (or graffitied). Is the scene you’ve painted metaphorical, or have you come across this type of destruction in your travels?

Ha, ha, sorry, the reason I titled it that, and I don’t know if this matters, but, it’s a double-edged title because it’s FUKD f,u,k,d but it’s also Fuck You Kim Dorland which I think is funny. It’s a little bit funny to me. I have seen that kind of destruction in my travels, but the other side of that is that’s a fairly prevalent scene throughout my body of work, that defacing of nature. So, I think people who know my practice and know my body of work are going to recognize that scene pretty well.

You mention in your statement (on the Art with Heart website) that nature plays a defining role in our identity, and that you are fascinated by the way our presence is eroding something that was once pristine. Are there places you’ve visited through the years where you’ve witnessed destruction occurring over time?

Well, there is a place called Waskesiu Lake in northern Saskatchewan, and certainly what used to be a pretty pristine landscape has changed completely. The water level is way higher now, it’s buggy, and it’s cool all summer. So, it’s kind of turned from a place that we used to adore going to, to a place that’s not as pristine as it once was.

Would you say that paintings like this are a ‘call to action’ for your viewers? What would you like them to take away from the viewing experience?

Well, first and foremost, I’m a painter and my my job is painting, so I want them to enjoy it on an aesthetic level. Somebody asked me once if my works are political, and the political is there, but I try not to make it the first component of the work because then something else happens with it. So I don’t know that it’s a ‘call to action’. The sentiment is there, but it’s not the first thing that I think the viewer is going to see with the work.

So what’s next? Solos? Group Shows?

I have a solo show here in Vancouver at Equinox Gallery in the Spring. I’m slated for a solo show in Toronto next fall, and I’m in a group show in Los Angeles this spring too.

Art with Heart takes place October 6, 2015 at the Carlu (reception 5:30pm / live auction 7pm). You can purchase tickets to the event here.

O Canada

Canada Rocks! Through the years, we’ve produced some incredible artists. The following Canadian’s currently sit atop the art world.


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ABOVE: David Altmejd, The Holes, 2008, sculpture

From Lawren Harris to Norval Morrisseau, many a brilliant artist has come from the Great White North.

While the narrative of Canadian art continues to be written, the following Canucks are currently tops in the art world:

David Altmejd

One of my favorite artists. Period. Altmejd is a Montreal-born, New York-based sculptor whose intricate works are both beautiful and grotesque.

Terence Koh

A graduate of the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in Vanvouver, Koh does just everything, from prints and photographs, to installations and performances. He even has his own Youtube channel.

Kim Dorland

Born in Alberta, Dorland currently lives and paints in Toronto. Although his landscapes and portraits are often compared to works by Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven, a much better comparable is Peter Doig.

Sherry Boyle

A graduate of OCAD University – before it was a University – Boyle is an interdisciplinary artist whose body of work includes porcelain sculptures and large-scale installations.