June’s Art Review
“Chagrin” Noah Hook and Ryan Dorsey

It is the beginning month of summer, warm weather and rain is upon us, and a new gallery is in our store. “Chagrin” by Ryan Dorsey and Noah Hook is a mixed media gallery composed of paintings, illustrations, and none traditional canvas compositions. We are excited to see Mr. Dorsey return to our store, being a former Featured Gallery artist at our old store location. This time around Mr. Dorsey has partnered with Mr. Hook, a local up-and-coming painter with a varied and experimental approach, showcasing a strong collaboration of their own unique styles, but more importantly, showcasing themselves.

Just as the name of the gallery “Chagrin” implies, this gallery is not an exaggeration of Mr. Hook and Dorsey’s lives. It is them and their work exposed and raw without any constructed narrative or recidivism. It is an artistically absurd slice-of-life of their past as artists and as people. It is perhaps a touch too self-depreciating to imply with a title like “Chagrin” that Mr. Hook and Dorsey should feel a sense of failure or humiliation. Instead this gallery is a triumphant anthem that takes a surrealist approach to celebrate their personal growth and artistic progress. Both artists have displayed a similar visual theme that borders on unsettling body horror or disturbing amalgamations of the human condition.

With Mr. Dorsey the struggle of the mundane and bleak human tedium of daily life is deftly front and center of his excellent illustrative styles, with pieces such as “Penthouse”, “Mandorla”, and “Rooftop Discourse” creating a unnerving Purgatory landscape. It is almost reminiscent of the idea of the Panopticon prison, where every absurd humanoid in his pieces seem to be deformed yet moving in spite of some sort of higher, all viewing presence. The pieces seem almost too visually “hot” while toiling away under extreme sunlight and pressure. This is paired almost too perfectly by the colorful and well textured styles of Mr. Hook that focus on a much more internal struggle. The visual feel is much “colder” and dark in an obscured fashion.

With Mr. Hook, his selection is evocative of a series of deeply personal and poignant life events encapsulated in painting and mixed media canvases. From the straight-jacket composition of “Three Strikes”, to the night terror demons of “Repo Men”, Mr. Hooks work is somewhere between a nightmare and a autobiography full of vignettes about overcoming hardships. They are raw and visually capturing, making bold artistic decisions such as making a highly textured piece called “I Hate Flesh Vessels” that demand viewers draw themselves into the painting; or “Nippy Joe” a rather sadly colorful recreation of the eponymous dog’s gravestone. It is a showcasing that makes one want to know more about Mr. Hook’s past, yet just as the gallery conveys, that yearning for the unknown and what is out of our control, can create a looming and ominous phantom that can haunt us if we aren’t willing to challenge the unknown and venture forth in life regardless.

We are excited to have amazing local artists feature and sell their work month after month, yet it is sadly almost time to say goodbye to Mr. Dorsey and Hook’s gallery. Their work will be up for another week or so, coming down by July’s First Friday so if you haven’t had the chance to view this amazing gallery, drop us a visit and support these amazing local artists. Their work is for sale and you can get in contact with the artists on Instagram: @_noahhook_ and @sweatyguy_ryan

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