Auudi Dorsey

★★★★☆

On until 18 January 2024

Since the 2020 US racial reckoning, curators and critics in the UK have unthinkingly imported American tensions only to confound England’s already fragile interplay of class and ethnicity. The political value of such activism is still to be seen. Its aesthetic effects, however, have been devastating on both sides of the Atlantic.

The London exhibition of the New Orleans painter Auudi Dorsey’s portraits of his black, working-class neighbours could signal the turning in this morose trend. His works show a female parking attendant who chews gum as she writes a ticket, two restaurant chefs on break from the kitchen, an off-duty construction worker, and a middle-aged angler with his implausibly large catch. 

Dorsey’s acrylics brim with dignity. The subjects’ faces betray signs of daily fatigue, but their stance is secure. That the canvases are rendered in sombre blue and green hues, as in a dark cop drama, is the one clue that other narratives could fit in these lives. Even the curator’s essay barely points to the reductive race-first reading of what is already evident by the artist’s hand. This leaves Dorsey to record the human experience with the true universalism of paint.


notes and notices are short and curt exhibition reviews. Read more:

Ignacy Czwartos, Polonia Uncensored, Venice ★★☆☆☆

Ignacy Czwartos

Polonia Uncensored

Polonia Uncensored

★★☆☆☆

Czwartos’ painting proves little and his sign-writer’s hand loses art history’s bet.

Xie Nanxing, Hello, Portrait! at Thomas Dane ★★★★☆

Xie Nanxing

Hello, Portrait!

Hello, Portrait!

★★★★☆

Looking at Xie’s portraits is a little like wearing a virtual reality headset over only one eye.

Co Westerik, Centenary at Sadie Coles HQ ★★★☆☆

Co Westerik

Centenary

Centenary

★★★★☆

Westerik catches his figures in deep contemplation in front of the mirror, in the gynaecologist’s chair, or even mid-orgy.

Siobhan Liddell, Been and Gone at Hollybush Gardens ★★☆☆☆

Siobhan Liddell

Been and Gone

Been and Gone

★★☆☆☆

A twee aesthetics native to a grandmother’s mantlepiece collection of tourist souvenirs and devotional figurines.

Gina Fischli, Love Love Love at Soft Opening ★★★★☆

Gina Fischli

Love Love Love

Love Love Love

★★★★☆

What good it is to be best in show when the competition is lame, crooked, or outright fake?

Ksenia Pedan, Revision at Cell Project Space ★★★★☆

Ksenia Pedan

Revision

Revision

★★★★☆

Pedan’s paintings would rather be anything but.

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