Dave MacDowell‘s work deftly combines satire, irreverence, and seething wit. A self-taught artist, MacDowell combines cultural references with the Magnetism of the “dark hook”, creating unexpected plays on pop that inject the familiar with blistering hyperboles. Seeking to unveil the feared and the reviled, while expertly weaving critical commentary with hilarity, MacDowell’s work is an effective combination of complicity and critique. Appropriately in keeping with the movement, MacDowell’s pieces combine a pop surrealist aesthetic with deliberate references that gleans and transforms the Known into powerful generational odes to discontent and dystopian irony. Abound with criticism and an acerbic wit, unearthing the nightmares that lurk just beneath the veneer of celebrity culture, his work fearlessly taunts the obsequiousness of our cultures iconographies, creating unexpected inversions and re-combinations that gently tug at its unraveling strings.
MacDowell’s technical execution is highly detailed and seductive, contributing to the hallucinatory pleasure and draw of the work. In keeping with the tendency of the genre, the more highly refined the execution, the more effective the irreverence of the content, and this certainly is the case with MacDowell’s paintings.The work is at times controversial and unsettling, but seems to combine contention and dissent with pleasure and whimsy. Highly accomplished at figuration and color, the artist’s work effectively conveys the vision of its hyperreality. The technicolor nightmares MacDowell offers up are at times so densely populated with imagery that they feel bottomless, like the contemporary equivalent of a Hieronymus Bosch Medieval nightmare, and at other times are sparse and perfectly simple. Each piece imparts the suggestion of narrative, and reveals a story or core idea, however obliquely, that has motivated its juxtapositions and hooks. Disturbing, lascivious, and funny, each work is acuminate in its own abrupt revelations.
“I need to tell stories and express what I feel. I always figured that if everything was painted really well, you could say whatever you wanted. I think hidden behind a lot of my candy colored pieces are revolutionary slants leaning toward the misfits and underdogs. Subtle jabs at Classism, racism, greed and commodified sexuality. It’s all in there, but never in your face.” Dave MacDowell (Arrested Motion)