|Art in Brief: Kim Dingle
The New York Sun, 5 April 2007, p. 20
5 April 2007
Kim Dingle, in her latest body of paintings, represents the happy marriage of two opposing impulses of Californian culture: hedonism and abjection.
Ms. Dingle belongs to a Los Angeles School that explores the dark side of mass culture. She was included in an aptly titled survey, "Sunshine and Noir: Art in LA, 196097," that traveled around European museums in 1997. Her subject is little girls behaving badly. She has created two characters, infants with prematurely adult faces and borderline personality tastes, one black the other white, whom she has christened the "Priss Girls."
An early installation, "Priss" (1994), included at Sperone Westwater in a project room, presents the girls as porcelain dolls with steel wool hair, little white party dresses, and Mary Jane shoes with a litter of toys and detritus scattered around them. Preoccupations with mess and excess obsess various L.A. artists, including Edward Kienholz, Paul McCarthy, and Mike Kelley.
Ms. Dingle enjoyed early success but took an extended hiatus from art between 2000 and 2006 after a café she opened in her studio, Fatty's, did phenomenally well as a vegetarian soul food restaurant and later as a wine bar. (Curiously, Damien Hirst, also an abjectionist, was a successful restaurateur in London in the 1990s.) Ms. Dingle's return to painting, in a series titled "Studies for the Last Supper at Fatty's," fuses the Priss girls and their author's foray into the catering industry.
Ms. Dingle's oil squidges deliciously on her support, sheets of vellum whose smooth surface seems reluctant to hold the medium. Impasto, in Ms. Dingle's handling, has both culinary and scatological implications. The vellum panels are taped together rather haphazardly and fixed directly to the walls, unframed, making it hard to resist the suspicion that they might be recycled laminated menus after all.