America hurts me too
Luke Dowd
22nd June - 23rd July, 2011
Private View: Wednesday 22nd June, 6.30 - 9.30pm
Rod Barton Gallery, London EC1

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Rod Barton is delighted to present an exhibition of new work by Luke Dowd (b.1970, USA). This is the artist’s first solo show at the gallery.

In a marked departure from earlier work, Dowd has taken a step away from the motifs of cut gemstones, which served as frameworks to mediate upon the world of value and explore the limitations of paint.

His new work is more reflective and self-critical, combining ‘everyday’ subject material, screen-printing and spray-paint in a way that problematizes both expressionistic gesture and the act of looking itself.

America Hurts Me Too comprises screen-printed canvases, some taking their subject matter from “what’s close to hand” in Dowd’s studio. Blue (blue tabletop), Gold (gold tabletop) and Paint Pots teeter between abstraction and figuration. The sense of scale shifts back and forth. It is hard to tell whether the canvases are partially marked or partially erased; sporadic clusters of ‘benday’ dots are the only clues to their origin. Others, such as Red Window and Unfolded Moon, at first seem more explicit in their content yet the act of reading is made complex: the window, which one would usually expect to look through, is veiled with a sheet. Unfolded Moon is - like the window - a stand-in for content. In this case it is the object one looks at. The moon is broken into eight sections of varying density, colour and tone - denying the viewer a whole and singular image and deflecting the gaze.

The paintings have an impenetrable surface and paradoxical disorienting nature. They defer and prevent direct interaction. This could come off as cold and lifeless, but the opposite is true. The to-ing and fro-ing between polarities of abstraction and representation, allure and rejection, tight control and arbitrariness, opens up an active visual fissure through which the pathos that underpins their creation is exposed.

Luke Dowd was born in New York in 1970 and lives and works in London. Dowd completed his MA at Chelsea College of Art & Design, London in 2002 and his BA at Sarah Lawrence College, New York in 1993. Solo exhibitions include Tony Wight Gallery, Chicago (2009); Nicelle Beauchene Gallery, New York (2009); Galerie Jacky Strenz, Frankfurt (2008); Hotel Gallery, London (2007); Whitechapel Project Space, London (2006); The Breeder, Athens (2004). Selected group exhibitions include La Librairie, John Tevis Gallery, Paris (2009); East End Academy, Whitechapel, London (2009); Innerer Klang, Rod Barton, London (2009); Le Commissariat, Paris (2009); The Object is the Mirror II, Wilkinson Gallery, London (2008); The Object is the Mirror, Layr Wuestenhagen Contemporary, Vienna (2007); Radiant City, Cherry and Martin, Los Angeles (2007); In Dialogue: Luke Dowd and Anja Schworer, Perry Rubenstein Gallery, New York, (2007)

Rod Barton gallery has collaborated with Luke Dowd in the publishing of a limited edition print to accompany the exhibition. (for further information about this print please click here)

For further information, please contact Tobias Czudej at Rod Barton: tobias@rodbarton.com

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LUKE DOWD
Unfolded Moon
, 2011
Acrylic on canvas
83 x 82.5 cm



LUKE DOWD
Blue, 2011
Acrylic on canvas
79 x 62 cm



LUKE DOWD
Blue (2), 2011
Acrylic on canvas
80 x 60 cm




LUKE DOWD
Green, 2011
Acrylic on canvas
80 x 60 cm



LUKE DOWD
Gold, 2011
Acrylic on canvas
80 x 60 cm



LUKE DOWD
Red Window, 2011
Acrylic on canvas
141 x 103 cm



LUKE DOWD
Light Absorber, 2011
Acrylic on canvas
70 x 50 cm



LUKE DOWD
Paint Pots, 2011
Acrylic and spray-paint on canvas
97 x 74 cm



LUKE DOWD
Paint Pots, 2011
Silkscreen and spray paint on paper
84 x 59 cm
Ed 1/30