Nino Mier Gallery is pleased to present our first exhibition with Los Angeles-based artist Dashiell Manley, on view at our location in Brussels, Belgium from September 9 to October 9, 2021. Soft Hidings is comprised of sixteen abstract works that employ new painterly languages to communicate psychological and affective states.
Dashiell Manley’s practice is characterized by focused, iterative, and time-intensive processes. His application of oil paint with a palette knife—a technique that began as simply a studio exercise—now dominates his singular approach to painting abstract, psychological landscapes. This experiment gave way to works that resemble a panoply of impressions, from foliage, seashells, and dirty rutted roads, to slashing, almost aggressive, cuts.
Soft Hidings develops themes first explored in his Elegy series, wherein he built up canvases with repetitive, meditative, and labor-intensive strokes as a way materialize a sense of calm in the face of the chaotic frenzy of the news cycle. Such a technique seemed a necessary counterpart to his New York Times and Various Sources series, in which he represented the barrage of information presented by newspapers and political cartoons. The paintings in this exhibition are largely made with a similar eye for abstraction and feeling, but they are held up by different theoretical buttressing. Whereas his earlier paintings were responses to the endless crises presented by daily news, his recent works are more concerned with finding a physical expression of and shape to his interiority. There are two types of transformations at play across these works: the first formal, as it relates to the finished surface of a painting; and the second biographical, as it relates to the stories the artist tells himself to inspire the works.
The idea for Soft Hidings developed over time, as Manley began this series with the intention to create only one painting. He realized that in order to adequately explore his ideas and technique, he needed to extrapolate on more canvases. Like leaves budding from a growing plant, new paintings and frameworks emerged from existing ones. The abandonment of the preexisting formal structure of the painting was spurred by an abandonment of the conceptual framework behind each work. A work built on one idea later inspires a new work, characterized by a rejection, or overcoming, of the previous one. With every formal about-face, there exists an accompanying biographical one; through this process, Manley transforms his own story.
Dashiell Manley (b. 1983) received his BFA from Cal Arts and his MFA from UCLA. Manley’s work has been included in exhibitions at renowned institutions across the United States, including the 2014 Whitney Biennial, and the 2012 Hammer Biennial. His work is part of the public collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Hammer Museum, The Palm Springs Art Museum, and The Benton Museum of Art at Pomona College. He is represented by Marianne Boesky, New York and Jessica Silverman, San Francisco.