Chris Dorland

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Chris Dorland

Chris Dorland (b.1978) is a Canadian/American artist living and working in New York.

Chris Dorland’s work is a dystopian vision of the human-built world filtered through the sublimated violence of abstraction, consumerism and technology. Working with a variety of screens, scanners and drones, Dorland is interested in the ways in which machines increasingly perceive, record and reproduce the world through data visualisation, scanning hardware and other optical devices. Dorland moves between the scanning devices and printers, allowing the various machines to document, distort and produce n ...

Portrait Chris Dorland
© Chris Dorland

Chris Dorland's work is part of the collections of Whitney Museum of American Art, The Bronx Museum of Art, Microsoft, Dawson College, Neuberger Berman, The Juilliard School of Art, The Langham, Chicago IL, The Sigg Art Foundation, SZ. Past exhibitions include the Front International, Cleveland Triennal for Contemporary Art ; Museum of Contemporary Digital Art (MOCDA) ; Super Dakota, Brussels ; Annka Kultys Gallery, London ; Lyles & King, New York ; Marianne Boesky Uptown, New York ; Marc Selwyn Fine Art, Los Angeles.

  • Exhibition view, shellcode, Lyles & King, New York, 2023.
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For over a decade Dorland has been working at the intersection of two practices: painting and new media. The artist has been developing and refining a unique compression of both analogue and digital languages into a singular and dense aesthetic rife with both unexpected beauty and extreme chaos.


The works presented at Liste Art Fair Basel 2023 are the latest iteration of Dorland's ongoing series screen scrapes. The screen scrape paintings merge and collapse the physical language of painting and the digital screen space of technology onto a single plane. The painted surface becomes a body, or main frame, which the digital source code can harvest and proliferate itself onto.

Detail "Untitled (screenscrape)", 2023
Detail "Untitled (screenscrape)", 2023, © Shark Senesac
  • "Untitled (screenscrape)", 2023, © Shark Senesac
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"The specter of 20th century abstraction haunts these works like ghosts in the machine. With this latest iteration, I have increasingly been collaborating with text to image AI tools to generate large sections of the paintings. Images and structures are stitched and spliced together using a variety of different software in order to arrive at a final image. My process is a form of post digital assemblage whereby data is scraped, collected and glitched from a variety of sources and then assembled and retransmitted onto canvas creating new forms of machinic abstractions."

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Chris Dorland "Untitled (fractured synapse)", 2023, © Shark Senesac
  • Chris Dorland "Untitled (fractured synapse)", 2023, © Shark Senesac
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"The insistent movement promised by the internet's structure - its revision on perspective - turns out to be a terrifying power which quickly conveys us beyond its capacity to provide meaningful images. In this context, the ideological "freedom" promised by the internet, and digital computing at-large, is both absolute and absolutely pointless; we are free to wander as far and for as long as we'd like, but our infinite domain is the vacant, far-side of representation". A.E. Benenson, "Chris Dorland: Full Walkthrough"

Neither fully abstract nor functionally representational, Dorland's work allows us to apprehend the force of intrusive technologies as they increasingly distort and glitch our understanding of reality. Dorland’s paintings and videos are a haunting meditation on contemporary life that evokes a dystopian vision of the human-built world through the sublimated violence of abstraction, consumerism and technology.

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Detail "Untitled (aggregator)", 2023, © Shark Senesac
  • "Untitled (aggregator)", 2023, © Shark Senesac
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"The physicality of the works is very important to me. Painting is one of the last great humanist projects that has survived centuries of technological innovation. The importance of painting in the age of artificial intelligence is critical to the ongoing self knowledge and self expression of our species. Few things have the ability to slow time to a halt like a painting does—both for the maker and for the viewer. And this powerful ability is an important antidote to the hyper-acceleration of everything else in our lives."

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"Untitled (relic_ /////)", 2023, © Shark Senesac
  • "Untitled (relic_ /////)", 2023, © Shark Senesac
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Up close the paintings reveal a multitude of information layered and encoded into the surface. Numbers, icons, graphs, file names and folders are buried within the matrix of the image alluding to the complex and invisible digital infrastructure that surrounds us.

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Detail "Untitled (ghost swipe)", 2023, © Shark Senesac
  • Chris Dorland "Untitled (ghost swipe)", 2023, © Shark Senesac
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Oscillating between decayed abstraction and 4k ultra resolution–Dorland’s new paintings infer the god’s eye view of topographic visualizations and video game POV’s while simultaneously rendering common place, yet intimate, minutiae of daily life such as folder clutter from the artists desktop with hypergraphic detail. Seemingly lit from within–the paintings emit a cold white glow that is contrasted against an abyss of rich blacks and intense synthetic color. The paintings' dense surfaces optically confuse and question our ability to distinguish between the handmade artifact and what comes from beyond ...