Dashiell Manley “E” at Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco
Jessica Silverman Gallery is pleased to present “E,” a solo show of new paintings by Dashiell Manley.
Time, timelessness, and media of communication are key themes in Dashiell Manley’s work. With his new “E” paintings, the artist turns his attention to the present tense of mindfulness and the medium of painting itself.
For several years, Manley’s work has filtered and processed political news through his work as a means of boosting his own mental health as well as enhancing the wellness of his viewers. In this series, Manley, who is half Japanese, half Irish- American, has tapped the power of Eastern aesthetics and habits of mind.
Firstly, Manley’s new paintings are informed by Buddhist meditation. Although an agnostic when it comes to organized religion, Manley has experimented with meditation for most of his life. Previously, however, he has not integrated the sensory forms of meditation into his work. The “E” paintings contain two kinds of brushstroke: a short, rhythmic, repetitive stroke, which relates to a mindful focus on the process of painting itself; and a longer, drifting transgressive line, which signals and attempts to correct a moment of distraction.
Secondly, Manley has drawn inspiration from 19th century Edo woodblock prints whose unusual, often “impossible,” perspectives suggest a mental exercise or frame of mind worth emulating. With Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji, for example, artists such as Hokusai (1760-1849) and Hiroshige (1797- 1858) depicted the exceptionally symmetrical, conical mountain from diverse distances and locations, and in different seasons and weather conditions. Although Manley’s “E” paintings are abstract, their compositions and harmonious palettes pay homage to the vertical landscapes of this innovative movement.
“E” originally stood for “elegy,” a poem that laments the dead, and a title often used by one of Manley’s favorite painters, the Postwar Abstract Expressionist, Robert Motherwell. But, as their living-and-breathing brushstrokes suggest, these paintings memorialize the vibrancy of emotional abstraction. For Manley, painting is not dead.
at Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco
until 8 April 2017