MICHAEL DOMINICK Artist Statement
I am a cast iron sculptor by trade, but in 2008 I became bored with typical foundry practice and made a radical change. I developed a technique for painting with the 2800-degree molten iron as it comes directly out if the furnace. My persuasion of the liquid fire on a collision course with the picture plane results in highly unique markings. The gestural strokes and splashes are layered with sweat, dirt, coal dust and sometimes even blood. Painting with molten iron is dangerous work.
A substrate of canvas or plaster backing board is fused with several layers of archival drawing paper and a liquid flame retardant. This allows the molten iron to scorch a trail as it travels across the picture plane without setting the painting on fire. The oil paint flames up when hot molten iron ignites the linseed oil creating intricate marks that both scorch the surface and burn down into the depths of layered paper. Each painting successfully captures the dynamic intensity of the moment of its creation.
I am transforming the chaos of experimental foundry practice, complete with its exuberance and fearless exploration into visual poetry. By allowing apparent randomness to play a supporting role in the work’s creation I’m fostering the creation of art that would not be possible if left solely to rational human cognition, but the work is not just about abstraction. The world as we know it is slowly burning up around us. Whether it’s school shootings, corrupt politicians, the 1% vs. the 99% or fake news, the evidence is all around us. I’m presenting the opposite extremes of burnt paper and 24ct. gold just as the evening news says more have died, but the Dow is up. It is the world we live in. The world of extremes.
“Ramapo Ironborn Triptych”
Molten Iron, Rag Paper, Canvas, Gold Leaf, Oil Paint
“I Know What You’re Looking At”
24 ct. gold leaf, oil, molten iron, mirrors and charred paper on canvas
“Jay See n. 2”
Oil, canvas, charred paper, molten iron, metall leaf, wood over panel