The works of Chris Dolan offer a metaphor for human angst in an era of painterly exploration and frustration. As spectacles of meaningful figuration struggling to come into being through formal disruptions and limited palette of earth tones, her brashly intent paintings display richly textured surfaces laden with emotional content. These expressive abstractions are described in various tones of browns, blacks and terra-cottas that make reference to primitive cave paintings and sepia drawings of the great masters. Colors as thick as tar vie with fluid and loose brushwork and instinctive drawing and scratching to imbue the surfaces with a neo-expressionist energy. In paintings that explore the human figure as a vehicle for visual interaction, she studies anatomical structure before endowing their images with an ambiguity of content and distorted reality.
The figures she defines tend to fray and bleed, invade and become one another in every imaginable way as they are subsumed by the immediacy of the thickly layered surface textures and vigorous markings. As if substance of inscrutable walls, they range from the boldly defined to mere linear suggestions and have an innate vitality that seems to emerge from the depths of the paint. There is a pervasive energy in her gestural abstractions and saturated expressionist brush. The freedom and spontaneity of Chris Dolan's paintings technique allows the richly textured imagery to dominate the canvas with an arresting presence that is as provocative as is mysterious.
--Carol Damian, Associate Professor & Chairperson, Visual Arts Department, Florida International University, Miami, Florida. November 1999