Michael Dolen: The Circus Series

October 13 - November 2, 2018

Michael Dolen’s most recent work explores the theme of the circus: a site earmarked as being an imbricated network of activity, often involving rituals, risk, and sudden climaxes. Reflecting this carnivalesque energy, Dolen’s works use a variety of media; doing so, they capture the essence of the circus as a cross-section of chaotic forces. Figures are typically revealed only in mask, and only through the lens of a perspective that melds the wilding distortion of funhouse mirrors with the exacting rules of Cubist proportion.

In the mixed-media work Circus Figures 921V, the visual center of the painting depicts two jesters engaged in a seemingly impossible acrobatic maneuver. The detail with which the figures are rendered willfully contrasts with the jazzy abstraction that fills out the left- and right-side of the picture. Because each figure — the main attraction, so to speak — is rendered with such care, the visual noise at the picture’s margins takes on symbolic meaning. The abstract markings come to compose an audience, a throng of anonymous faces bedazzled by the spectacle of the two jesters performing an athletic feat.

Influenced by Modernism and Abstract Expressionism while studying art at The Cooper Union, Dolen has built on those traditions and taken them in a new direction. With over 30 years of experience as a graphic designer, he applies the clarity of that discipline to the sensuous forms and lush colors he employs, creating a unique, engaging body of work. The artist lives and works in New York City.

Circus Performer: Solo Performance 185V Circus Performer: Solo Performance 185V
Circus Performer: Solo Performance 185V
Circus Performer with Profile 387F Circus Performer with Profile 387F
Circus Performer with Profile 387F
Portrait: Circus Performer 571R Portrait: Circus Performer 571R
Portrait: Circus Performer 571R
Two Circus Figures On The Nile 313D Two Circus Figures On The Nile 313D
Two Circus Figures On The Nile 313D
Three Circus Performers 452J Three Circus Performers 452J
Three Circus Performers 452J
Two Circus Figures And Friend 123A Two Circus Figures And Friend 123A
Two Circus Figures And Friend 123A
Two Circus Figures With A Fan 584G Two Circus Figures With A Fan 584G
Two Circus Figures With A Fan 584G
Circus Figure: Portrait 713P Circus Figure: Portrait 713P
Circus Figure: Portrait 713P
Two Circus Performers and a Flute Player 752M Two Circus Performers and a Flute Player 752M
Two Circus Performers and a Flute Player 752M
Three Circus Performers 177S Three Circus Performers 177S
Three Circus Performers 177S
Two Circus Performers 143F Two Circus Performers 143F
Two Circus Performers 143F
Circus Portraits: Second Movement 874M Circus Portraits: Second Movement 874M
Circus Portraits: Second Movement 874M
Circus Figures 819G Circus Figures 819G
Circus Figures 819G
Circus Performer; After the Show Circus Performer; After the Show
Circus Performer; After the Show
Circus Performer with a Cat Circus Performer with a Cat
Circus Performer with a Cat
Circus Gala 1 Circus Gala 1
Circus Gala 1
Circus Gala 2 Circus Gala 2
Circus Gala 2
Andy Warhol
The Infinity of Thoughts
50" x 50" - Acrylic on Canvas