Raul Dorn Artist Statement and Biography

A year ago November I had the grace of experiencing the sudden emergence of an intensive creative period in the studio. Almost nightly as the evenings grew darker and colder I became possessed with a passionate fever that sprouted and grew like a season out of order. This caught me off guard, as it was counter to the more deliberate and layered process that had been unfolding in compositions for months. The act of painting became more intuitive, spontaneous and therefore looser in application; a dance that once again had no prescribed footwork – only impulse, no finger on the map – just direction. This vein of working led me into two similar series, represented by the action painting inspired Breakthrough 1 & 2 as well as the Aevole & Torso paintings, followed by the energized heat of the Somalia series of the spring. The work became increasingly less cerebral and calibrated, as I followed the shift deeper south in my body, gaining contact with the turbulence of painting from the gut.
   The Somalia series was ignited by a story in the New York Times. There I was in my backyard with my Sunday pastries and drinking coffee with my wife, while at the same moment many of Somalia’s desperate natives were eating bark off trees and living in caves with the threat of being bombed by planes dropping large ball bearings. Their own government cutting off all aid, to pressure rebels, created a dense daily hell of famine and fear. If the daily act of painting is to continue as a personal method of keeping me sane, then I needed to process the disgust of this horror story in the studio. As an abstractionist with sustained interest in non-objective imagery, there are few pictorial references to the plight of the Somalia people, but the story drove me into months of painting. Unfortunately now almost a year later the political climate and the violence in Somalia has not improved. By the time summer waned, the fever of my internal spring had run its course. One of my perpetual heroes John Cage, delivered a lecture in reference to music that I relate to this process of image making as “a purposeless play, an affirmation of life – not an attempt to bring order out of chaos, nor to suggest improvement in creation, but simply a way of working up to the very life we’re living”.
   The studio space and private nightly ritual of working in it, provides reflective clarity, balance, and a safe place to process the journey of living a complex life. The studio has become my laboratory, a place to recalibrate and rejuvenate. Painting then allows me to deal with the self outside of ego and shift to a higher vibration, or centering, much like meditation. With patience and practice, the chatter of my stubborn monkey mind ego is temporarily stilled as clarity is generated and strength for tomorrow is incubated. I continue to be fascinated in dealing with that which lies beneath beyond and behind the visual, hidden in the physics of the natural world, and hopefully, in the metaphysics of the compositions. Abstraction suits my quest to locate the spirit beneath the subject, to visualize the undercurrent of divinity. I continue to align with the sculptor Constantin Brancusi’s sentiment, “what is real is not the external form, but the essence of things… it is impossible for anyone to express anything essentially real by imitating its exterior surface.”  Not knowing the next step in the painting process, not having preconceived limiting nouns as subjects, groping for clues in the darkness, keeps me searching for the connective dance with something greater than myself.
Date and Place of Birth: 1956,Milwaukee,Wisconsin
1975-77 Studio Art & Creative Writing,UNM,Albuquerque,NM
1987: BFA Studio Art, NMSU,Las Cruces,NM
1988: MA Curriculum & Instruction, NMSU,Las Cruces,NM
Solo Exhibitions
2012: Season Out of Order, Unsettled Gallery, Las Cruces, NM
2011 Shelter From The Storm, Unsettled Gallery, Las Cruces, NM
Beyond, Behind, Below, Matrix Fine Art,Albuquerque, NM
2009: ZenArcade, Unsettled Gallery (September)Las Cruces,NM
2007: Gas Food & Lodging, White Raven Studio Gallery,Las Cruces,NM
2006: Late Night Ragas, White Raven Studio Gallery,Las Cruces,NM
2004: Impulses, New Mexico State University Gallery,Las Cruces,NM
Spring Preview, Conti’s,Las Cruces,NM
2002: Seeing Through Smoke,Las CrucesMuseumofArt,Las Cruces,NM
2001: Silence Sound Silence,Corbett Gallery,New MexicoState University,
Las Cruces,NM
1999: Introspect, The Artists Wall Gallery,Boise,ID
1998: Recent Paintings, Nabes Gallery,Las Cruces,NM
1987: BFA Exhibition,Corbett Gallery,New MexicoState University, Las
Cruces, NM
Group Exhibitions
2012 Summer Group Show, Unsettled Gallery, Las Cruces, NM
2011 From Point to Line, Matrix Fine Art, Albuquerque, NM
2011 Project Postcard 2011, NMSU, Las Cruces, NM
2011 Unsettled Artists Group Show, Las Cruces, NM
2007: Artshop: Dorn,Wetzel,Shaw, White Raven Studio Gallery,Las Cruces,NM
2006: Winter Show, White Raven Studio Gallery,Las Cruces,NM
2003: Raul Dorn & Stephen Cox, JME Studio Gallery,Las Cruces,NM
2002: JME Studio Gallery,Las Cruces,NM
Step Up For Kids Invitational,MMCFoundation, Glenn Cutter
Gallery,Las Cruces,NM
2001: Common Threads: An Artistic Journey,MMCFoundation, Glenn
Cutter Gallery,Las Cruces,NM
2001: Artforms Exhibition, MILC,Las Cruces,NM
2000: Fecund Rhapsody, Hunger Artists Gallery,Albuquerque,NM
Border Artists Invitational, Glenn Cutter Gallery,Las Cruces,NM
Selections From The Permanent Collection,UniversityArtGallery,
NMSU,Las Cruces,NM
I-10 State HighwayMural Project Design Winner,Las Cruces,NM
1997: Three On The Third, Lohman Gallery,Las Cruces,NM
1996: Arte del Camino Real, Adobe Gallery,Mesilla,NM
Segundo Festival De Los Pintores, Museo del Chamizal, Cd. Juarez
1995: Arte del Camino Real Invitational, Adobe Gallery,Mesilla,NM
1994: Close To The Border (Purchase Award),NMSUArtGallery, Las
Cruces, NM
1986: Close To The Border, NMSU,Las Cruces,NM
Annual Student Exhibition, NMSU Gallery,Las Cruces,NM
1985: Annual Student Exhibition, NMSU Gallery,Las Cruces,NM
1985: Adam Chase Gallery, Boulder, CO
2004: Arts in Education Award, Dona Ana Arts Council,Las Cruces,NM

    Return to image page