Spring – Fall, 2023
To celebrate the launch of Spore Space, an artist-run project space in downtown Ojai, artist Kira Doutt presents Dog Star. This body of work is comprised of 11 paintings and a sculptural work created over the course of a four year period. Each painting is a iteration of Doutt's original composition depicting a woman and a dog gazing upon each other, locked in eye contact above landscapes constructed from both memory and fantasy based on her time spent in the Mojave desert, and the thickets and marshland of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, where Doutt was raised.
The ancient symbiotic bond between women and dogs spans from Egyptian queens to Swedish witches turning their lovers into dogs. Through the dog/woman duality, the Dog Star paintings bring together myth, place, and notions of the infinite, while simultaneously unpacking the binary relationship of the depicted subjects through repetition and iteration. The dog, ambiguous in its wildness, looks back at the woman figure who is making direct eye contact, an act of dominance. These dream-like apparitions appear outside of place and time resembling new constellations, navigating the viewer through the looping series back time and again to the same steadfast bond.
Evocative of psychedelic Munchian moods, the repeated sweep of landscapes shift tones with new color palettes and small suggestive additions to the Dog Star domain, At times the woman's hair melds with her surroundings as a reminder of the singular relationship between subject and environment, while at others Doutt has included drop shadow to emphasize the set-like appearance of the characters on stage. The perception of landscape as wild and unbounded versus highly controlled and fabricated undulates from painting to painting, a reminder of how our relationship to where we are is never constant.
The final manifestation of the the dog woman duality is found in Cleat Lock made of unglazed ceramic and hair. Coming together as a two-headed creature in the model of a nautical cleat, a figure eight ties the woman and dog together permanently to navigate the stars through even the roughest of storms. Have you looked up to the night sky and found the Dog Star? It's the brightest one that
glitters with reflected light 9 light years away. Can you see it, look it straight in the eye? And find your way home?
Kira Doutt (b. 1992, Cape Cod, MA) lives and works in Los Angeles, California. Doutt received her MFA from California Institute of the Arts in 2019, and her BFA from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 2015. She currently teaches at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, CA and the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena, CA. Her work has been exhibited throughout Southern California, Boston, and abroad in Melbourne and Finland. She has been the recipient of several awards residencies, and select fellowships including The Mountain School program, Los
Angeles, an eight month residency at A-Z West, Joshua Tree, and The Armory Center for the Arts teaching artist fellowship, Pasadena.
Kira's work questions the body's relationship to the environment through a variety of materials including painting, ceramics, and installation. Her work seeks to examine the elasticity between our bodies and the spaces we navigate. How can a body digest shifting landscapes both virtual and physical and how do we create room for these varying environments we move through? She’s interested in the way nature can be known through embodiment or projected upon as a stage or set. Whether this is through painting a landscape on a household sponge or hanging a painting from a rock face of a figure climbing, her work aims to inquire these ideas with both curiosity and humor.