When, earlier this fall, I had the chance to examine an extensive group of recent paintings in Lois Dickson’s Columbia County studio something that became very clear was the particular nature of development in her work, whether within a given canvas or from picture to picture or across this segment of her mature oeuvre. Ludic improvisation is the dominant vibe, and yet the progress within and between canvases suggests its own logic. What struck me quite forcibly was the modernity of Dickson’s progress—modernity, that is, as opposed to postmodernity. OK, there’s a leading role for the Pixar/Disney fish character Nemo in her almost George Condo-like painting of that title from 2016, and a jocular sense of Mike Kelley run amok within the pictorial space of Las Meninas in Procession (2015). But the accumulating jumble of Dickson’s imagery is irony free. She lets forms and feelings dictate a scene, but there is always clarity and rigor in the direction.
Lois Dickson, Nemo, 2016. Oil on linen, 64-x-64 inches. Courtesy of the Artist and John Davis Gallery
John Davis Gallery, until October 9, 2016. 362-1/2 Warren Street, Hudson, NY 12534, (518) 828-5907
Painting Center, from October 6, 2016. 547 W 27th St #500, New York, NY 10001,