David Kroll & Ron Porter: Recent Paintings

When: Oct. 20-Nov. 24 2012

Seattle-based artist David Kroll’s work examines the dichotomies that exist between the progress of human civilization and the vital balance of the natural order. “I think about the natural world not as an expendable resource, but as a past home, once abandoned and forgotten, now the subject of our longing and our dreams,” explains Kroll. The artist’s koi fish, rabbits, birds and vases will be familiar to gallery goers who’ve seen the painter’s previous exhibitions at Cumberland Gallery. Kroll’s creatures interact with objects of creature comfort, but there isn’t a person in sight. I like to think of this stuff as memento mori for the human race — Kroll’s paintings imply that it’ll be very pretty when we’re gone. Sharing the exhibition space with Kroll is Ron Porter, whose best oil paintings offer landscapes interrupted by peculiar still lifes and odd narratives. The effect is not unlike the flashback technique actor/writer/director Vincent Gallo used in his film Buffalo 66, except with Porter’s work you get the feeling you are looking into the near future, or perhaps glimpsing a parallel event happening in a different place along the same timeline. A good example is “Here’s That Rainy Day,” a gloomy rural landscape painted over with a scene that features a spectral trailer truck on a nighttime highway — the painting-within-the-painting is outlined in rough, hard lines of red and black.

Joe Nolan

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