Dike Blair, “Still lifes from 1988 to 1997”
D’Amelio Terras, New York
January 6 – February 10, 2007
“In the early eighties I began making small paintings using gouache on paper. They were of such things as sailboats in a bay, a blimp, country roads at night, interstates, moonlight on the beach, and so on; they were painted from life or memory; and they were fairly amateurish. By the late 80s, I was still painting on this modest scale but desired a higher level of detail and realism and I found that painting from my snap shots helped me achieve that. For the still lifes, I’d make small arrangements of objects in the studio and photograph them. (By the mid-nineties, I stopped painting from studio set-ups and simply painted from snap shots.) My painting skills improved somewhat and I began exhibiting my small paintings along with my more “sophisticated” work, sometimes in the same space.
Invariably there are either direct connections in the subject matter, or more abstract thematic or emotional connections between these different bodies of work. Painting the gouaches often affords me a kind of meditative time and space to develop the other works. So while I don’t consider my gouaches secondary works, or drawings, they do function as drawings to the extent that they help map and develop the more elaborate pieces, and they usually precede the works to which they are most closely related.
For the last decade, the works on paper occupy about half my studio time and the other half is dedicated to sculpture. As I haven’t painted still lifes for a while, it’s fun for me to reconsider them”. — Dike Blair, December 2006
This selection of delicately rendered gouache-and-pencil paintings, made between 1988 and 1997, demonstrates Dike Blair’s interest in how graphic and industrial design have permeated both his personal and our shared environment and aesthetic. Dike Blair has exhibited internationally since 1974 and was included in 2004 Biennial Exhibition, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. He is represented by Feature Inc., New York, NY.