With an MFA from Arizona State University, David Dornan currently resides in Helper, Utah. His artwork exists in numerous public and private collections throughout the United States. David has produced a sizable body of work, focusing most recently on a series of still life motif paintings. He resigned a 17-year university faculty position to pursue his painting career full time. Throughout his career he has received purchase awards, prizes, best of show awards, and/or high placement in nearly every exhibition he has entered. David has also won many academic and professional awards, and he has exhibited nationally for nearly 20 years.
Remarkable things happen to commonplace objects in David's paintings. A can or jar, a flower, a paint brush- a palette as a sole subject or as elements in a complex composition take on a monumental quality through scale changes and central placement. The objects painted assume a commanding presence through his assertive paint application. Immediacy and spontaneity are achieved not only with a brush, but also through the smear of a thumb, the wipe of a rag, and the "weight and speed" of a drip.
My imagery is created as a result of the painting process. I do not set these containers and brushes in front of me and make a still life from how they appear. Rather, I try to build the forms out of paint. Colors, textures and shapes change repeatedly during my process, which is largely abstract. I then add light theory to these abstract marks to create a visual equivalent to the objective world.
During my studies as a young artist, peer interaction centered on issue related discussions about art. I discovered, however, that my motivation to paint is not reason and issues but passion and the beauty of light and color. I am most engaged and fascinated when my work is primarily visually stimulating. Some of my paintings may imply meaning to the viewer but I hope the visual dynamics and excitement rise above issues and ideas: I want my viewers to feel their sight.
When I am painting, a visual dialogue develops between the medium's inherent qualities and the form I am trying to depict. My paintings are a record of this visual dialogue. I do not begin a painting with a fixed idea of what the painting will look like. The methods and techniques, which I employ during the process of painting, determine the final results. Sometimes I dominate this process with concepts and techniques, which are too familiar to me, and the result is always lifeless. When this happens I will destroy or alter the image by employing haphazard, naive, or accidental paint applications. This will open the painting up, forcing me to react rather than to dictate. Painting is almost always more interesting to me when the process is pulling me as much as I am pushing it. My most successful works seem to result when there is a meeting ground between total chaos and absolute control.
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1982 MFA, School of Art, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona
1976 BFA, Dept. of Art, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah
2016 CODA Gallery, Palm Desert, California
2006-11 CODA Gallery, Palm Desert, California
2001-05 CODA Gallery, Soho, New York
2000-04 CODA Gallery, Palm Desert, California
1998 “Blue”, Salt Lake Art Center, Salt Lake City, Utah
1996-97 “Tempe Suite” Group Print Portfolio
1996 "The Reality of Abstraction", Nora Eccles Harrison Museum
1995-96 Summer Show, Allan Stone Gallery, New York
1989 Purchase Award, National Drawing Invitational, Emporia State University, Emporia, Kansas
1987 Utah Arts Council Visual Artist Fellowship
1987 Utah Arts Festival "Impact" Project Grant
1987 Purchase Award, Cliff Lodge Inaugural Painting Exhibition, Snowbird, Utah
1988 Keynote Speaker, Utah Arts Council Annual Conference
1985 Painting Commission, Department of Health Building, Utah State Fine Art Collection, SLC
1982 Abraham & Bessie Lehrer Memorial Award, School of Art, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
1980-81 Graduate Students Academic Fellowship Arizona State University
1996 “New American Paintings”, April ’96 #VI, pp42-43, Open Studio Press
1991 Utah Art, Vern Swanson, Robert Olpin and William Seifrit
1990 "A View of Four" Exhibition Catalogue, Text by Will South, Salt Lake Art Center
1986 A Drawing Handbook, Nathan Goldstein
1991–Pres Summer Solstice/Fall Equinox Painting Workshops
1996-98 Assistant professor U of Utah, Salt Lake City
1988-96 Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Utah, Salt Lake City
1983-87 Associate Instructor, University of Utah, Salt Lake City
1995 College of Eastern Utah, Price, UT
1995 Ricks College, Rexburg, Id
1990 Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
1989 Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ