September 26 — October 01, 2020
Auction begins to close at 2:00 pm ET
KIM DORLAND (1974-)
Private Collection, Toronto
"Untitled (Silver Birches)," 2011, includes all of the recognizable elements of a Kim Dorland painting: isolated woods, tactility achieved via thickly applied paint, a distinct colour palette. Dorland not only captures visual aspects of the Canadian landscape, but the feeling of standing within it. Layers of oil paint create texture in this painting, the materiality of paint a key trope in Dorland’s work.
Painted in 2011 at the apex of Dorland’s success, this period marks both a maturity and a freshness in Dorland’s work. Dorland, who was born in 1974 in Wainwright, Canada, never lives far away from a forest. For him, the woods represent nostalgia, identity, and place, as well as an articulation of contemporary anxiety and dislocation. Dorland continues a time-honoured tradition of depicting the Canadian wilderness, influenced by Tom Thompson and JEH MacDonald, as well as David Mine, with a contemporary looseness and experimental quality not unlike the work of Peter Doig.
Silver birches are originally native to Asia and Europe, but naturalized and considered invasive in Canada. Light seeds are easily blown by the wind, making silver birches the first trees to re-appear after a forest fire. These contradictions—the tree’s resilience and invasiveness, it’s beauty and darkness—are articulated in Dorland’s painting.
We thank Tatum Dooley for contributing this essay. Dooley is a writer and curator living in Toronto. She writes widely on cultural trends in art, architecture, fashion, and technology.