Susann Scholl, Art Historian (M.A.)
The paintings of Austrian artist Michael Dohr strike the viewer like a loud scream. In the collage-like compositions, the laws of time and space seem suspended. The pictorial elements crowd into the center of the canvas in a tangle that is visually almost impossible to untangle. The artist understands his works, which he calls "interventions," as disruptive factors.
The subtitles, such as "Idyllestörungsmaschine," "Retortenidylle," or even "Idyllekind," refer to the disproportion between nature and machine that is expressed in the works. Controversial motifs can be seen: alongside plants and native animals, there are children in folk costumes holding weapons in their hands. Knick-knack figures assert themselves among three-dimensionally elaborated forms, which have a technical character attached to them. This reality seems to grow out of a world of abstract forms, in some places even to be threatened by it. The tension in the content is also reflected in the stylistic realization. The alternation between abstraction and figuration goes hand in hand with the extreme contrast between pictorial elements, which are worked out in detail in a photorealistic style, and non-representational color matter, which is gesturally placed on the canvas. Likewise, grisaille elements radiate a metallic coolness, while the flanking bold colors are sometimes heightened to the luminosity of a neon light.
In this way, Dohr explores the possibilities of painting and is clearly influenced by the appearance of street art. Hidden in the layered structure of the picture is the principle of revealing and then covering up again, which counts on constant change in urban space. Between aesthetic quotations of stencils, paste ups, and graffiti are brush marks that betray a dynamic application of paint. In other places, paint noses or blobs follow the principle of randomness. All these pictorial elements convey emotional forcefulness by citing the essential concern of street art: disturbing public order and drawing attention to grievances.