ierre Dorion is a realistic painter who alights on the generic architectural elements of the modern world and strips away their contexts. He shows us a window blind pulled shut; a stainless-steel elevator door reflecting nothing but gradients of blue and mauve. Viewed as still lifes and interiors, these paintings depict post-Bauhaus industrial prefab—an urban environment as chilly as the city morgue. The expanses of metal and Sheetrock seem like 21st-century rejoinders to the Precisionist visions of Charles Sheeler and Ralston Crawford.
While those earlier artists took an almost Futurist glee in the forms of the industrial landscape, Dorion’s stance is more minimalist, his imagery more matter-of-fact. There are no flakes of rust, no bubbles in the concrete. This immaculate urban environment might have been created in Photoshop—except for the reality of the paint.
Dorion works from his own close-to-abstract photographs. Sometimes we see on canvas little more than a field of color, subdivided by a few stripes, suggesting the edge of a wall, door, or window. Other times, as in Untitled (FS), 2014, it’s an exhibition space divided by three lengths of yarn, a work by sculptor Fred Sandback. This concept of an artwork within an artwork perhaps implies some form of institutional critique. If so, it’s a gentle one. Dorion’s gaze is unblinking.
A version of this story originally appeared in the September 2014 issue of ARTnews on page 100.