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Tom Dowling
Recommendation by Roberta Carasso

Tom Dowling, “Left Bank,” 2016, “Baroque Minimalist” wall sculpture (with the artist), is currently on view at Paul Williams

“Interchange" presents Tom Dowling’s abstracted Baroque Minimalist wall sculptures. Baroque in that the eye moves dynamically in and out of fragmented and shifting forms, spaces, light and shadows, as contemporary perceptions are pushed through Minimal configurations. The gallery setting plays a role here; in a picturesque 100-year-old Spanish Revival building designed by one of the first African-American architects to make his mark in Los Angeles in the 1920s, Paul Revere Williams. Inside, over a Spanish tile floor hovers a very high dark brown ornate elongated ceiling, hand painted by a little known German artist. There is meticulous brushwork decorating the expansive ceiling. The contrast of time and space, building, forms, mixed vision and cultures begs the questions: Should art fit the venue? Or, should the venue fit the art? More directly, what is it about Dowling’s art that works so well in this vintage setting?

Dowling slices apart antique frames and reconstructs them sculpturally to become individual dimensional line drawings in space, a reminder of his earlier “Zips.” Reductive modulated forms emerge; color is applied as each sculpture becomes spatial poetry. Set on huge, well-lit walls, intrusive light and shadows make their way across the gallery, altering effects on each individual piece as surfaces appear, drift away and re-appear — a sculptural shifting illusion. Hung vertically or askew, each configuration seems to be scooped up by the wall ahead, moving our eye from the floor to the ceiling. An energy emerges that enlivens each sculpture within the ambiance of the gallery and helps bring the exhibition to life. Therefore, it is not the venue’s diverse contradictions that grabs attention, but the classic nature of Dowling’s vision

Paul Williams Gallery

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