September 7 – October 15, 2022
The Triumph of Irrational Dogma
Artist’s Reception: Wednesday, September 7 from 5–7pm
Gallery Talk: Wednesday, September 21 at 5:30pm
Robert Shillady will talk about the three paintings in his narrative trilogy, which references the work of other artists, both historical or contemporary.
About the Trilogy This exhibition highlights a masterful trilogy of narrative paintings by Robert Shillady—a series he has spent the past eight years creating. Shillady recently completed the third painting in the series—an impressive 53 x 93 triptych, Triumph of Irrational Dogma (2022), which joins Icons of the Spiritually Certain (2015) and The End of Dada? (2012). The paintings reference the artworks of other artists, both historical or contemporary. This is the first time Triumph of Irrational Dogma has been exhibited, and the first time all three paintings have been on view together. A must see exhibition!
About the Links to the References Below The following links go to the list of artworks by other artists, both historical and contemporary, that Shillady referenced in each painting in the trilogy. Enjoy finding each reference!
Triumph of Irrational Dogma “Much as Manet, Jake and Dino Chapman, and Yue Minjun have adapted artwork from the past to address their own realities, this triptych includes more than thirty images, altered for light and perspective, within a composition incorporating six landscapes I painted here in Maine. In Triumph of Irrational Dogma, I attempt to point out the foibles, the irrationality, and the cruelty that have plagued mankind today, and since the beginning of civilization. Artists reflecting the zeitgeist of their age have addressed them, over and over.
“Icons of the Spiritually Certain addresses the cacophony of a world with a history of different faiths. All of them preach peace and harmony among their followers and yet their adherents sometimes interact like Neo Rauch’s stick fighters, who have been altered in my version to represent L. Ron Hubbard, inventor of Scientology, and Christopher Hitchens, writer and atheist philosopher. The painting also includes Katahdin, “the greatest of mountains,” sacred to the Penobscots, as well as a landscape I did of Black Brook in Brooklin.
“The End of Dada? was inspired by a survey of artists, curators, and critics, a majority of whom believed Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain was the most influential artwork of the twentieth-century. My painting includes not only Duchamp himself and artwork by his contemporaries, but work by artists in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries who were influenced by the freedom from academic and cultural restraint, which the early Dadaists engendered. The painting includes my version of Tom Curry’s Chatto Island, as well as an image of Tom done up in the guise of a Kara Walker silhouette figure.
“As time goes by my landscapes become more of a narrative. Predators and Prey started on an easel in the woods near my house. All the animals represented I saw up close while painting or walking the dog, including my neighbor’s son-in-law bow hunting (you’ll have to look carefully). The little white house with the dab of white paint in the doorway is a homage to William Irvine’s cottage paintings. Both Dinner and Dine” and Looking for Gerry were started on the Appalachian Trail and respectively depict a fictional tale and a true story.
And then there’s the red airplane. It’s in all my paintings.” —Robert Shillady
To view more work by Robert Shillady visit his Artist’s Page.