Updated: Apr 20, 2020
Yesterday we showed off the marvelously expressive work of Adam Riches, an artist whose processes bring the idea of “controlled chaos” to life. Today, I wanted to talk about another artist whose work is driven by process and chaotic, yet controlled, and that’s Felix Dolah.
Felix Dolah’s work features nightmarish figures with soft, barely recognizable faces and bold, heavily lined bodies. The figures sit atop the page with their long, stick-like limbs flowing down and often bending in several directions as they taper off into nothing. The bends and breaks of the limbs really convey a sense of loose motion, a lot of these figures appear to be mid-step but have little control of their own forms. Stumbling or dancing across the page, these figures appear to barely be able to hold themselves up but the many bends and breaks of their form allow them to constantly catch themselves as they fall.
While the bodies are hard-lined and deliberate, the faces are the exact opposite. Barely a smudge and a few small lines compose the faces of these figures as they stare back at the viewer. The blank expression on the faces suck the viewer in, but their total lack of emotion or any recognizable feature adds this stomach-sinking feeling that makes it almost impossible to break the stare. Dolah’s work plays with the minds want to form figures and recognizable shapes, the human brain will force itself to follow the harsh lines and reveal the body like shape, then leading back to the haunting stare of the barely formed face. The eye wants to see more out of this work, but there’s nothing more, just a nightmarish figure dancing along your inability to find answers.
Dolah’s work, just like that of Adam Riches, seems to be driven heavily by process. He’s shared videos of himself mashing charcoal into the page, making lines so hard that clouds of dust fly off of the paper. There seems to be a lot of emotion and reflection in the processes that create Dolah’s work, an eerie representation of an emotional process. There are no rules in Dolah’s work or his process, he seems to just let the process reveal the image to him, working off of and making changes to whatever happens as the material is mashed into the page.
If you’re a fan of macabre art, were interested in the work from yesterday’s interview, or just want to see something new then you should definitely take a look at Felix Dolah’s work. One of the best things about these really process driven artists is that they’re constantly producing new work all the time. Dolah’s work is haunting but fascinating, each drawing will suck you in to stare at it for ages which will often add to its eerie presentation. Artists who drive their work through process and heavily reflect themselves and their emotions in that are hard to come by, but Dolah’s work carries all of those qualities. You can find more of Felix Dolah’s amazing work at http://felixdolah.com/, on instagram @felixdolah, or for sale at https://nadiaarnold.com/?page=1&rb_vendor=Felix+Dolah