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Ian Kimmerly: Solo Exhibition at Dolby Chadwick Gallery, San Francisco


As We Wander, We Are Closer, a solo exhibition of new work by Ian Kimmerly (BFA 2002), opens at San Francisco’s Dolby Chadwick Gallery on December 8.

Kimmerly’s generously layered paintings provocatively combine figuration and abstraction. Figurative elements, especially faces, are rendered photorealistically, scraped away, and then submerged within a milieu of open spaces, abstract passages, and textured daubs of paint. 

Kimmerly explains that technology’s impact on our interpersonal relationships has played a role in the creation of this body of work. Smart phones and social media, among other tools, have heightened our ability to remain constantly connected with one another, yet the type of connection facilitated is largely fleeting and immaterial. It exists in contradistinction to true forms of conversation, which are predicated on an open and sustained dialogue that goes beyond surface-level exchange. As the show’s title suggests, however, letting ourselves wander and drift in unstructured ways and embracing solitude can allow us to go deeper and recharge, equipping us with more to give when we finally return to those interactive moments. 

The paintings themselves loosely chart this type of open engagement with the world. Their layered constructions create matrices of form, gesture, texture, and color through which to move and discover manifold relationships. Despite the presence of figures — whose blurred, sgrafitto quality is reminiscent of Gerard Richter’s aesthetic — the paintings are neither overtly narrative nor readily digestible. Kimmerly notes his interest in the psychoanalytical concept of subject-object differentiation, which is the state immediately before recognition. When you see something for the first time, you apprehend it at an elemental level. Only after evaluating its material profile can you begin to see it a different way, and even start to name it. These initial stages of processing rely on an openness of perspective and are magnified in Kimmerly’s paintings, which encourage the viewer to take time to work through them and find connections that resolve as meaning.

Ian Kimmerly: As We Wander, We Are Closer
Exhibition Dates: December 8, 2016 — January 282017
Opening Reception: Thursday, December 8, 5:30 – 7:30 PM

Dolby Chadwick Gallery
210 Post Street, Suite 205
San Francisco CA94108