b. 1966 Baltimore, MD; Lives and works in New York, NY
Josh Dorman (b. 1966 Baltimore, MD) is an artist who recontextualizes antique images within fantastical drawn and painted worlds. Dorman sources collages, engravings and diagrams culled from textbooks, manuals and documents that were published prior to the widespread use of photography. “The materials guide me,” Dorman has said. “Sometimes they appear magically. I’ll move a chair and uncover a book open to an image that has just the form I need.”
In his work, Dorman considers unfamiliar, obsolete and cryptic systems to inform this choice of imagery, resulting in non-linear, multi-layered narratives that explore the mythical landscape and notions of collapsed time, altered boundaries and dream states. Dualities of chaos and order, natural and manmade, fluidity and restraint reoccur and create tension in his collaged universes. Essential to his oeuvre are Dorman’s references to artists Pieter Bruegel to Paul Klee, as well as to Sienese art and Chinese landscapes that transcend history and time. Dorman frequently implicates a strong sense of history in his work by his use of allegory, which has traditionally been used in times of persecution in Western art history as a way of subtly conveying a message without being censored by political or religious institutions.
Dorman’s practice is rooted in a keen interest in poetry, sparking his 2007 visual Poems series. His early work made strong use of antique maps in its collaged compositions. He has since expanded his range of found mediums, expanding his reach across society within his oeuvre. In his latest body of works, he introduces an additional dimension to his paintings by cutting into the painting surface, generating pockets and pools of space. Into these, he layers collage and paint with multiple pours of liquid resin, building reliquary-like time capsules and trapping imagery like insects in amber.
Dorman graduated Skidmore College in 1988 and received his MFA from Queens College in 1992. He lives and works in New York, NY.
He has exhibited at Georgia State University, GA (2020); Longview Museum of Fine Arts, TX (2019); Bates College Museum of Art, ME (2014); Tang Museum, NY (2011); Katonah Museum, NY (2010); the Weatherspoon Art Museum, NC (2010); Craft and Folk Art Museum, NY (2008); Trierenberg Corporate Kunsthalle, Austria (2006); California State University at Long Beach, CA (2005); CUE Art Foundation, NY (2004), The Drawing Center, NY (2004), and the National Academy Museum, NY (2004).
His work is included in permanent collections at the Addison Gallery of American Art at Phillips Academy, MA; Butler Institute of American Art, OH; International Collage Center, PA; Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, NY; Memory Bridge Foundation, IL; Minneapolis Institute of Art, MN; Naples Museum, FL; Springfield Art Museum, MO; and the Wellington Management Company, MA.
Josh Dorman: Higher Ground
Josh Dorman: Lost Divers