Dennis Kane's range

Dennis Kane Them 2003-2004 acrylic on canvas 48" x 81"

Dennis Kane Seen 2004 acrylic on canvas, two panels total 36" x 62"

Dennis Kane Potlach 2004-2005 acrylic on canvas, four panels each 14" x 19"

Dennis Kane That 2005 acrylic on canvas, two panels, 26" x 24" and 19" x 16"

Dennis Kane Post 2005 watercolor and pencil on paper 22" x 36"

I think this post is something of a first for this site. It's in the form of an on-line gallery of work by a single artist, Dennis Kane. I'm uploading these images because I really like the work, because these are great jpegs and because this is the only way most people can see it - until he's picked up by a gallery with real walls rather than pixels.

In the interest of full disclosure, Kane was a friend and excellent conversational company long before we ever saw his art. We own one of his drawings but would like to live with more of his work. When we finally visited his studio last year Barry and I were greatly relieved to find that we didn't have to feign enthusiasm for his creations. I'm no good at feigning.

The paintings and drawings are beautiful, but Kane's images, while rarely abstracted, don't reveal their secrets easily. His higher education was focused on philosophy and fine arts. I may be stretching an analogy, but this is work composed by a musician. When not in his studio in Queens Kane may be found working in that most abstract art of all. For the past twelve years he has worked as a dj under the name Citizen Kane ["a wide range of the leftfield, slept on, forgotten stew" - rhythm(ism)].

From an essay by Takashii Tsude:

His works address issues of power as it manifests itself across the terrain of cultural signs. Drawing from obscure film stills, images found in the daily newspapers or in his own photography, Kane molds and constructs paintings and drawings that are both emblematic and open to an extended conversational reading. The nature of the image and technique varies, but the concept of engagement with the viewer remains consistent. Kane avoids didactic narratives, a consistent formal approach, and a heavily repeated iconography. His works are however united in their visual weight. Although not painterly, the work achieves presence through the specificity of each image, and the rigors of his presentational approach.

Closeups of two of the works:

Them [detail]

Seen [detail]

[images furnished by Dennis Kane]

I've been meaning to comment on these pictures, but felt a little inhibited, as I have no formal training in art appreciation/education other than one course I took in college taught by a nun who ran it as if it were a test of visual memory.

I like these paintings. I'm glad the artists agreed to have them exhibited online. It's rare that I get to a gallery or museum, so if I don't see it here then that's that.

These paintings are vibrant and dynamic, as well as possessing a sense of mystery. I do a see a unifying theme with the paintings: the public face versus the private persona.

In "Them" the motorcycle cops present a formidable an impregnable wall. On the other hand, the private realm, the foibles, struggles, dare I say humanity, of these men and women is one that I am privy to, though I hasten to add that the law enforcement family from which I come is of a small town, less militarized variety.

What evil lurks in the hearts of men or women? In the left panel of "Seen" there is a nameless crowd. Perhaps they are pedestrians on a city street waiting for a light to change on their way to work. One of them carries with him or her the secret of the crime portrayed in the right hand panel: juxtaposed on a lace bedspread are a pair of hands bound together by chain link. A less sinister scenario, is that the hands belong to participant in consenting sexual kink.

"Potlach" and "That" proves that painting with images, versus painting with words, is not an either or proposition. The artist weaves words into the panels. I cut and pasted the pensive figure (left panel) in "Potlach" into Photoshop, and enlarged it, but it did not do it justice, so I will have to come and see these paintings in a gallery when they are exhibited to get a closer look!

"Potlach" with the "Eaten/Fucked" graphic might also be entitled with the similar sounding Potlatch defined in the online dictionary I used as:

"A ceremonial feast among certain Native American peoples of the northwest Pacific coast, as in celebration of a marriage or accession, at which the host distributes gifts according to each guest's rank or status. Between rival groups the potlatch could involve extravagant or competitive giving and destruction by the host of valued items as a display of superior wealth."

The racing dogs in the "Post" are cool and esthetically pleasing to look at. The human animal has left his chair, his post, setting it too in motion. There is a commonality between man and beast. The maze fits. We compete within bounds deemed acceptable by the prevailing culture/society/civilization. The doodles outside the margin the reminder that nothing is cut and dried, that the thin line between order and disorder, war and peace, is easily and often transgressed.

Overall, very nicely done and both a pleasure and delight to view.