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D E N N I S K A R D O N Reflections on the Surface Valentine Galler y March 4 April 3 2016 Dennis Kardon is the legitimate heir of all the renegade traditions of modern painting from the bastardized pittura metafisica of late de Chirico through Picabia at his most transgressive to the classic Bad painters of the 1980s. The Midas of perversity whatever his brush touches turns to ickiness. The ambivalent orb in the forefront of Anticipating Disaster redefines the notion of the anxious object a globe that somehow sprouts vaginal wings out of its melting icecap. Elsewhere in this decomposing composition is a shape wrapped in a crinkly silver foil that hints at a joint of meat you dont want to unwrap. The chance encounter of this unhappy couple takes place within a still life setting that could read equally as a tabletop or an eerie architectural space of indefinable scale. Kardon is a master of ill ease. Review by David Cohen published on April 7th 2016 on Handle with Care Oil on canvas 20 x 16 2015 Cover Anticipating Disaster Oil on linen 30 x 36 2015 Left Scopophilia Oil on canvas 20 x 16 2015 Seeing through Paint Oil on canvas 20 x 16 2015 Making Her Sob Oil on linen 16 x 20 2016 Kitty Shimski Do you feel that you have embedded yourself in the crinkling encrusted tin foil forms They push into reality with their insistent physicality and become almost like self parodies. Is tinfoil a metaphor for the social nature of painting Are you using it to mock painting or mock yourself Dennis KardonYes. Possibly. No or maybe. Or rather the aging process crinkles and encrusts.These paintings are more and more about aging. My consciousness through my body is always fully embedded in the surface of my paintings.The physical surface is always present but the referential metaphoric surface can retreat or protrude sometimes both. Inter view with Crystal Kitty Shimski Crystal Kitty Shimski is widely admired in the art community as a freelance Intuitive Twechnique Specialist and part-time Trance Inducer. She is also the alter ego of painter writer and musician Jennifer Coates. Going Too Far Oil on linen 30 x 24 2009 Omphallus Oil on linen 20 x 16 2014 2013 Oil on linen 48 x 54 2014 KSWhen you wield a palette knife are you thinking of Bob Ross DKYou mean like thinking about using it to scrape his rotting flesh off his cold dead bones Too soon No. My only artistic TV model artist was Jon Gnagy Im way too old for Bob Ross. Seriously though when I use a palette knife it is to create the look of being out of control especially when representing something that is inherently chaotic or arbitrary so that it doesnt draw attention to the specificity of my decisions.Wait is that how Bob Ross uses it Ad Hoc Arrangement Oil on linen 36 x 20 2015 Bad Connection Oil on linen 20 x 16 2015 KS Please talk to me about ambiguity.Your shadows and reflections contain vague figural information.A distorted Consciousness inserts itself into the blurry dark smeary areas. How do the less articulated areas talk to the hyper articulated ones DK Ambiguity in all its forms lies directly at the heart of my work and it was not until seeing the current Al Held show of earlyBlack and White paintings at Cheim and Read that I realized I was imprinted from him with the idea that paintings should be ambiguous like a newly hatched duckling following the first moving body it sees. Held was the first real artist I met when I was an undergrad at Yale and I knew nothing about painting or art and he had just finished those paintings three years earlier. Ambiguity is the door you leave open so that other peoples consciousnesses can come in and play with yours. Life is startlingly arbitrary though it seems to make sense. Foil Oil on linen 20 x 16 2015 The hyper-articulated areas are there to give you the illusion you are seeing something particular but in reality the blurry dark smeary areas are just as particularized. I hope they work together to give you a reason for coming back so the time I spent painting them wont have been for naught though of course it is unrealistic to expect that of any activity. But actually the desire for significance determines a lot of what I do possibly to its detriment. I cant help it I was just drawn that way. KS Speaking of how you are drawn Im looking into your horoscope for the month Sagittarius and I see that the rational and the emotional are having a fight inside your minds eye. Decisions must be made but you are conflicted as to how to resolve them. I think you must let the emotions reign free and if this involves secret crying and eating more fried foods with your fingers Kitty wants you to know its ok.Also use more blue. Hope this helps in your efforts towards significance. Meanwhile can you explain how your work has evolved recently Your newer paintings focus less on disturbing figurative narratives and more on slightly surreal still lifes where the objects are strange and anthropomorphized. DKWell re my Sagittarian nature you may call it fighting but I prefer to think about it in the way I described Carroll Dunhams work in my review a few years agoEverywhere irrationality and control are trying to screw the daylights out of each other. But yeah every time I write something it takes me a while to slip back into the dark waters of the chaos. I guess because I may be afraid of what Ill end up having to justify this time. But I only cry in public and only at the most sentimental sappy movies especially but not limited to ones that have some fatherdaughter relationship. As for blue and fried foods I useeat them all the time. My works evolution Ive been doing the still lifes since about 2000 after seeing the Chardin show at the Met and the Manet still life show at the Baltimore museum in rapid succession. As you have noticed the still lifes as in Manet are about the same feelings made less disturbing because there arent people in them.The newer ones do have the addition of the crumply foil which I was infatuated with for several paintings. I like to think I cycle through many directions and perhaps let someone else help make the editing and curating decisions for public presentation. I hope they are evolving. I like to try new things that involve acquiring new powers note my intentionally not using the word skills here. KSWhat is it about skill that makes us so uncomfortable Is skill some kind of deadbeat denial of the flawed fucked up truth DK It is a word that has become vastly misunderstood when applied to painting. The problem with the word is that it implies an action that has been repeated so often that it becomes unconsidered and which in painting implies not being in the moment. A flaw in spontaneity spontaneity being the wonder of painting both in doing it and looking at it.The wonder of a moment of human consciousness frozen in time. But ones power in painting depends on building upon certain knowledges that have been accumulated through experience and from studying other paintings in order to express nuances of feeling. Nuances of the flawed fucked up truth as you put it. Just fucking up doesnt express the truth there has to be a yearning for grace in order to experience the ache of its absence. And this is skill of a different order. So I find the whole academic conceit of de-skilling to be abhorrent and a misunderstanding in what is involved in making things and painting in particular.Which is why it has become necessary to avoid using that word in order not to have to explain this. It makes much more sense to just use power. KS I want to say something funny about power but its not coming to me. DK Like electricity illuminating a light bulb power only becomes visible when it encounters resistance I guess thats not really funny but perhaps profound. Actually I dont think thats the way light bulbs work anymore. But it used to be a good metaphor. As appeared in Two Coats of Paint March 2016 Copyright Dennis Kardon 2004-2016 Special thanks to Fred Valentine Jennifer Coates and David Cohen. Valentine Gallery 581 Woodward Ave Ridgewood NY 11385