A dyed-in-the-wool New Yorker, Dylan Vandenhoeck has spent the last six months painting a series of immersive landscapes in Los Angeles. He works primarily on location—en plein air—and is aided in the studio by sketches, iPhone photos, and voice memos. The carefully chosen locations feel iconic, though for different reasons. There is the desolate view of Miracle Mile at night. A nearly hidden shot of the Hollywood sign peeks out at the bottom of a painting done at the Hollywood Reservoir. A vertiginous painting within a painting was made at a sun-baked shopping plaza a few blocks up the street from the gallery. Another is a portrait of the establishing shot in Melrose Place.
Vandenhoeck’s paintings embody the enmeshed presence of the artist in the world, both a responsive and active participant in any scene he paints. He has described his process as “letting the exterior do the work.” On the canvas, this means that the scenes writhe around the viewer, following an incomprehensible, but irresistible, geometry that is structured around the artist’s own body in space. One can feel Vandenhoeck’s desire to be more than a “good painter,” the artist’s uncertainty about what that means, and the vulnerability of working this out in public.
Vandenhoeck is not a typical realist. His work has a once-you-see-it-you-can’t-unsee-it quality that unfolds slowly, revealing layers of experience that feel true to life because of their immediacy rather than any illusion of rendering. The paintings have the feeling of the dream where one discovers a hidden, magical room in a familiar house. Viewers are, in turn, left with something they can keep—the unlooked for gift of “it was there the whole time.”
Text by Harper Keehn, full accompanying essay available separately.
Reality Show at Matthew Brown is the artist's first solo exhibition in Los Angeles.
Dylan Vandenhoeck (b. 1990, New York) received his MFA in visual art from Columbia University in 2017 and BFA from The Cooper Union in 2012. The artist was a recipient of the 2017 Rema Hort Mann Emerging Artist Grant and a fellow in Shandaken Projects' Paint School in 2019. Vandenhoeck has taught color theory and Goethe’s “Theory of Colours” at Columbia University.
Recent exhibitions include “What Do You See When You Close Your Eyes and Nod Yes?,” (solo presentation) Jack Barrett (New York), 2020; “Deeper Than Inside,” High Art (Paris), 2019; “Neighborhood Watch,” Downs & Ross (New York), 2020; Group Booth, Office Baroque at Art Brussels (Brussels), 2018; “The Certainty of Others Curated By Cynthia Daignault,” The FLAG Art Foundation (New York), 2017; and “Paint School,” Klaus Von Nichtssagend Gallery (New York), 2019.