David Dornan

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With an MFA from Arizona State University, David Dornan currently resides in Helper, Utah. His artwork exists in numerous public and private collections throughout the United States. David has produced a sizable body of work, focusing most recently on a series of still life motif paintings. He resigned a 17-year university faculty position to pursue his painting career full time. Throughout his career he has received purchase awards, prizes, best of show awards, and/or high placement in nearly every exhibition he has entered. David has also won many academic and professional awards, and he has exhibited nationally for nearly 20 years.

Remarkable things happen to commonplace objects in David's paintings. A can or jar, a flower, a paint brush- a palette as a sole subject or as elements in a complex composition take on a monumental quality through scale changes and central placement. The objects painted assume a commanding presence through his assertive paint application. Immediacy and spontaneity are achieved not only with a brush, but also through the smear of a thumb, the wipe of a rag, and the "weight and speed" of a drip.

“My imagery is created as a result of the painting process. I do not set these containers and brushes in front of me and make a still life from how they appear. Rather, I try to “build” the forms out of paint. Colors, textures and shapes change repeatedly during my process, which is largely abstract. I then add light theory to these abstract marks to create a visual equivalent to the objective world. If there is a collision between de Kooning and Vermeer, I want to be there to see it.

When I am painting, a visual dialogue develops between the medium's inherent qualities (i.e. value, color, texture, fluidity, etc.) and the form I am trying to depict. My paintings are a record of this visual dialogue. I do not begin a painting with a fixed idea of what the painting will look like. The methods and techniques, which I employ during the process of painting, determine the final results. Sometimes I dominate this process with concepts and techniques, which are too familiar to me, and the result is always lifeless. When this happens I will destroy or alter the image by employing haphazard, naive, or accidental paint applications. This will open the painting up, forcing me to react rather than to dictate. Painting is almost always more interesting to me when the process is pulling me as much as I am pushing it. My most successful works seem to result when there is a meeting ground between total chaos and absolute control."
David Dornan
Creation Year
Oil Paint
30 in. H x 24 in. W
Dealer Location
Palm Desert, CA
Number of Items
Reference Number
CODA Gallery
73400 El Paseo
Palm Desert CA 92260
(760) 819-7052
1stdibs Gallery since 2016 Located in Palm Desert, CA
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