Night Gallery is excited to present Dalmatian Paintings, an exhibition of new work by Vaughn Spann. This is the artist’s first solo exhibition in Los Angeles.
This new body of work continues Spann’s formal investigations of individual subjectivity, drawing symbolism from his own personal history. Here the artist meditates upon his childhood aspiration to own a Dalmatian. Having spent his youth in a New Jersey neighborhood surrounded by Pitbulls, German Shepherds, and other aggressive guard dogs, Spann began to see the Dalmatian (to which he was primarily exposed through cartoons or movies) as a mark of luxury, stability, and an idea of American life that was for him, purely abstract. In the Dalmatian Paintings, he translates this false social reality very directly into formalism.
Each of the four canvases in this exhibition is composed of grids and patterns. The purebred Dalmatian, an icon ripe with socio-economic signifiers, is reduced to a repeating graphic of black spots on white. These Dalmatian spots are set against blocks of color and densely packed dollops of black paint, some of which protrude over an inch from the surface, giving the paintings a deliberately constructed objectness. This excessively generous use of paint echoes the series’ interrogation of class and access to resources. By utilizing abstraction to examine social issues, Spann has created paintings that are elastically beautiful, personal, and analytical at once.
Vaughn Spann lives and works in New Haven, CT. He has recently exhibited at Almine Rech, London UK; Half Gallery, New York NY; David Castillo Gallery, Miami FL; The Mennello Museum of American Art, Orlando, FL; and the August Wilson Center, Pittsburgh, PA. His work is included in public collections including The Rubell Family Collection, the Beth Rudin DeWoody Collection (The Bunker), the Jimenez-Colon Collection and the Credit Suisse Corporate Collection. In 2018 he received a Masters of Fine Arts in Painting and Printmaking from Yale University and he is currently an artist in residence at NEXT HAVEN RESIDENCY in New Haven, CT.