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L blue N black I green M orange K violet

October/November 2015
1/9unosunove galleria, Rome

Photos: Giorgio Benni

The frontal surfaces of the paintings are replete with the gestures and stains of richly colored paint that result from a collaborative performance, but instead of using fragments of canvas on which the performance took place, VanDyke has instead utilized in six of these works the t-shirts and dress shirts worn by dancers David Botana and Bradley Ellis during their painting sessions. The gestures and bodily indices registered in this way form an even more intimate connection to the body, almost a second skin. Arranged on a wooden fence-like structure composed of a gridded pattern, these paintings are suspended in a manner that invites the viewer to walk around them, looking at both the front and the back, each given equal visual weight. In this way, VanDyke plays with the notion of orientation, both spatial and sexual, making a gesture of protest against the typical way in which only one side of a painting is valued. This targets perceived notions of different forms of value, including what he describes as the oversimplification, commodification and objectification that characterizes the way art is so often consumed today in a context shaped by the ultra-commodification of the art fair and market. Yet it can also be noted that in the process of gaining proximity to the backs of some of these works, the viewer is prompted to move into a more restricted space, the fence narrowing the space between painting and wall, so that one must take in the view at closer range. -- excerpt from the exhibition essay, by Allison Unruh


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