"Cory Dugan used to say that he used to be an artist." So writes Cory Dugan in a biographical note he penned for gallery owner Hamlett Dobbins of Material. "Before that, he was once quoted in The Commercial Appeal as saying that 'someday art will just be dialogue.' Before that (and even after that) he said lots of other things about art in the pages of numerous publications."
Yes, Dugan did say a lot of things — in the Memphis Flyer, where he once served as art critic (and art director), in Art News, Art Papers, and New Art Examiner, and in Number:, the local art publication where Dugan served as founding editor.
But that phrase "used to be an artist" ... Let's edit that to read "is an artist," and Dugan has the recent work to prove it. In a one-night-only show on Friday at Material, he will be showing a number of drawings and paintings in an exhibit called "Counterintuitive." The artist's inspiration? According to an email from Dugan: the found patterns created by text and poetry, technical drawings, maps, and diagrams, in addition to the work and words of Marcel Duchamp, with "a little Titian tossed in for good measure."
No sense getting too esoteric here, though. Good just to see Dugan the artist back at work and to see that work on display. When's the last time he exhibited? "I don't even know. At least 15 years," Dugan also wrote in that email.
"When he 'used to be an artist,' Dugan's artwork was regularly exhibited both regionally and nationally ... ," Dugan also writes in that brief bio. "He may have even shown his work internationally, but it's been so long since he exhibited anything that he doesn't really remember. Sweden and the Netherlands ring a bell for some reason. And the word kunst."
Kunst doesn't ring a bell with you? It's German. It's aka art.
Counterintuitive: a few drawings and paintings by Cory Dugan, Material, 2553 Broad, Friday, May 3rd, 6-8 p.m.