Wallflower (butter), 2011
October 29 – December 4, 2011
CB1 Gallery is pleased to present Paul Donald’s debut solo exhibition in Los Angeles, Woulden. Henri Bergson’s phenomenological observations from a century ago point to the potential of the “woulden”—wood, would, wooden, wouldn’t. Having found himself at various points of his career living in England and in an array of ex-British colonies, Donald’s work has always been motivated by dissatisfaction about the world and how people are in it. In this way, the pieces in the Woulden series push the limits of how identifications function: corporeal effort changes materials into deliberately confusing hybrid “bodies” that turn binary thinking inside out.
Paul Donald’s work carries references both to the body and to actual marks, bodily made. That sense of a body-as-being and body-as-making and body-in-mind is applicable to whatever “body” is willing to accommodate self-reflection: we all carry the weight of our own history, our own self- beliefs, our own self-demands, and must come to terms with a “world” where certainty is merely a layover.
Requiring a kind of metaphorical investment: the work is made as a call out for imaginative possibilities in relation to its materiality. Laboriously whittling each part of each work by hand, while making the work the artist is in a ferment of tension with the will-of-the-self and the demands-of- matter becoming in a sense co-performances; the qualities and capacities of both the craftsperson and the materials blur what might look like either combat or choreography.
Superficially there may be some particular gendered reference: the cock, the gun, the hunting trophy. However, the toy-like colors, the sagging, the waywardness, the awkwardness, the perversity (is it a turd or a cock?), the foolishness of their flaccid bravado and their wrought surfaces pointing to an act of arduous hand-crafting or whittling, all serve to thwart a triumphalist conclusion. But how do we critique such a thing as "masculinity" without backhandedly lionizing it merely by paying it attention? The works in the Woulden series suggest that there is nothing to gain from switching the positions from oppressor to victim if the end result is both a re-inscription of a historical binary, and an oppressive power just changing tactics.
New-Zealand born artist Paul Donald obtained a BFA and MFA studying in Auckland and Sydney, Australia. He has exhibited throughout Australia, North America, and the UK. Recent solo exhibitions include: Woulden, CB1 Gallery, Los Angeles, 2011; Spill, James Dorahy Project Space, Sydney, 2010; Untendable, Untitled Gallery, Manchester, UK, 2010; Certainties, Akau Inc, Toronto, Canada, 2009; Drift, 20 + 3, Manchester, UK, 2010; Companion, James Dorahy Projects, 2007. Donald is represented by James Dorahy Project Space, Sydney. Visit our website or the artist’s website for more information: paulcdonald.com