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In Charm, Michael Dowad and penny eisenberg’s paintings explore the possibility of expression and representation in a small format. Since attending Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design at the same time and graduating together in 1995 both have maintained separate studio practices, meeting occasionally to share ideas and critique each other’s work. While eisenberg has worked primarily as a figurative painter, Dowad’s paintings have encompassed a variety of conceptual, abstract and representational styles. A set of shared concerns emerged when Dowad began his toy portraits, and eisenberg began experimenting with the scale of her figures and resumed the portrait heads.
While there is a sharp contrast between the toy and human portraits, the two artists share formal, technical and art historical concerns around painting which is made manifest in the quality of expression each brings to their interpretation of reality.
Lacking the sheer concreteness and unassailability of the real world, our imaginings are dispersed when they come into conflict with it. That is, at least if we have a grasp on things, for if we don’t we sink into madness. This, then, is the cause of our sorrow: the conflict between our dreams and the real world. This is what is behind these [toy] paintings. – Michael Dowad
For me, painting is a paradox – an act of faith and an exercise in deliberate control, an investment. The oil paint itself seems to carry within it a great ability to bear weight – flux density without denouement. – penny eisenberg