Artist Adam S. Doyle who recently relocated to Hong Kong creates beautiful gestural paintings of birds, where the seemingly incomplete brushstrokes form the feathers and other details of the animal. In some strange way it reminds me of the story of the Renaissance painter Giotto who is rumored to have been able to draw a perfect circle without the aid of a compass, as if Doyle just picks up a dripping paint brush and in a few seconds paints a perfect bird. In reality his work demonstrates a profound control of the paintbrush and careful understanding of the mediums he works with. Via email he tells me:
Yes, what you see is what it appears to be—strokes of paint. I’ve always loved unfinished paintings because you could see the alchemic process of surface and paint transforming into a living person. With my paintings, it does take quite a bit of working and reworking to arrive at the place where every brush stroke fits into a fluidly flowing whole. It’s important to me to find a balance between an elegance of form that holds both visible marks of paint and a representation of ‘energy within’. I’ll just add that the painterly craft of my images, which I consider secondary to investigating ideas and concepts, came about after a lifetime of expressive image-making, followed by doggedly exploring the aforementioned transformation in grad school. I realized during that same formative period that I was also captivated by trying to visualize energy, which I was quite familiar with having grown up with a dad who practiced Eastern medicine.
Doyle most recently had a show at Skylight Gallery in 2011 and is now currently working on a new body of work in Hong Kong. You can see much more of his work on his website.
Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member and support independent arts publishing. Join a community of like-minded readers who are passionate about contemporary art, help support our interview series, gain access to partner discounts, and much more. Join now!