Juxtapoz Magazine - Kim Dorland Asks "Where are all the protest songs?"

It is the close of September 2022 and I’m standing with Kim Dorland in his studio. It is exactly what you would count on Kim Dorland’s studio to seem like. Lots of paint, art all over the place. It smells superior in right here. On the central wall hangs the huge centerpiece of this exhibition, In which are all the protest songs? The portray answers this problem. They are all below, all of people songs – in this get the job done. It’s the longest track on the album, it is Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind”, Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven”, other than it is way darker. Every single gesture, graphic, vignette, crevice, explosion on the four canvases responses this query.

What is a landscape artist left to paint when we’ve burned, bulldozed, plowed, flooded or paved above all the landscapes? This portray may well be the reply to that dilemma way too. A person could get in touch with this perform apocalyptic, it truly is undeniably macabre in spots and some of the imagery terrifying, but that would forget a different strength that operates by the get the job done. The energy of an artist grappling with what the future holds, for him, his household, his planet. 

When I see the portray, it’s not completed. There are items of tape in destinations where Dorland has scrawled, ‘fix’, ‘bridge’ or other notes to himself. Surveying the space, there are a lot of smaller operates on walls, in containers, or leaning jointly ready to get transported out. A number of critical themes emerge in this physique of function, the most urgent is that the artist’s environment is burning up, everything is on fire. Blackened trees are engulfed in vivid flames, skeletons clasp palms in an try to escape the inferno. But, Dorland will take us by surprise, since it’s not all dark. There are portraits of Lori, the rigorous impasto that contains her face, is, to Dorland, her genuine confront, layered, complex and lovely. There are nocturnes with lush landscapes underneath skeleton moons and verdant trees with levels so dense and so inexperienced you want to attain out and contact them. 

Dorland and I know every other due to the fact we assistance a range of charitable companies with our operate and our time, particularly environmental triggers like h2o. Quite a few situations, every year I’m standing right before a home comprehensive of individuals taking bids on a portray he has donated. This artist cares deeply about his local community and his earth. 

So, I’m remaining in issue: If it is all over and we are destined to melt away up in the hell we’ve produced, why be in any way hopeful? Why trouble with this grand gesture or even these small loving tableaus? It’s possible all you can do is create a protest music, maybe it’s the most critical detail you will ever do. —Stephen Ranger