DATELINE is pleased to present Doug Spencer: Cave Lovers. Cave Lovers opens at 6pm on First Friday, April 6, 2018 at DATELINE, 3004 Larimer St, Denver, CO, 80205. Exhibition on view April 6 - April 30, 2018.
Cave Lovers is an ode to romance, passion, inexperience and otherwise love at first sight. What would this look like through the eyes of someone who has never known it? These idealized, unattainable sensations can feel like a sort of magic when they finally touch you. What would you be compelled to create upon feeling it for the first time?
Cave Lovers came about by playful arrangements with organic shapes much like the first cave painters of the paleolithic began to commemorate life events on the cave wall. A series of experiments comprised of eyes, heads, and figures rendered in organic and geometric shapes interact in works that verge on the abstract as Spencer adds moments of humor, the grotesque, fantasy and always, sincerity.
For Spencer the most interesting part of experimentation is how abstract and representational shapes interact and intertwine with each other and how that relationship can be expressed in a beautiful way. It is as if one line communicates with another and another and another. Soon it is a conversation. An idea reminiscent of storytelling around a fire in the days before the invention of language.
Layering is present in the work. Something that both obscures and paradoxically reveals what is underneath and at times if only because he makes us reconcile visual and textual information. Perhaps this is below the surface of seeing through relationships as they relate to the open-ended nature of his investigations. Spencers paintings aren’t titled, and for all his attention to detail and painterly refinement, they seem to arrive as much through a controlled experiment as through pure intuition.
When describing his process Spencer compares his studio practice in the same way one would discover falling in love for the first time: “I have the same reverence for materials. As I pulverize mica and sandstone, apply smoke and start blending colors and textures, it really becomes a practice in finding balance. Since I design in reverse, a finished piece is only fully revealed to me when I turn it over and then I can see the layers I have carefully constructed. I can finally see what has worked and what I would like to, but ultimately cannot, change”. The manifestation of creating aesthetic beauty out of mere rocks and pigment would have seemed impossible to the cave painters of Lascaux.
It is in this way that Spencers works are infused with magic; an almost alchemical and mystical quality inviting the viewer on an archeological dig through his process and intimacy. There is something of a mystic in him. Exploring his work reveals what is otherwise elusive can somehow be made visible yet unseen, exposing a universal way to share his romantic vision with others.
Ultimately Cave Lovers is about trying until it is right, in art and in love.
Doug Spencer(b. 1980) is a self-taught, interdisciplinary artist living and working in Denver, Colorado. He has previously shown at Leon gallery in “The Shadow Knows” a duo show wiht Jamie Gershon in 2016. This is his first solo exhibition in Denver.
Cave Lovers opens First Friday April 6th at DATELINE ( :
*More images from Point of Friction and the artists’ work available upon request.
3004 Larimer Street
Denver, Colorado 80205