Donnie Molls

My way or the highway



Kansas City, Mo. On Friday, October, 7th 2016 from 5-10 PM the Todd Weiner Gallery will host the exhibition opening for My way or the highway by LA artist Donnie Molls which will run through Saturday, November 26th, 2016. 

My way or the highway will feature a new body of work by Donnie Molls. Molls is a prominent artist on the West Coast and has work in many major museums including the American Heritage Museum. His break out as an artist occurred in 2004 in a major exhibition at the Carl Berg Gallery in LA. He exhibited alongside many influential artists including Brenna Youngblood, Iva Gueorguieva, Lynn Aldrich, and Megan Williams. He has had many major residencies including a 2007 partnership at Stichting Kaus Australis in Rotterdam, Netherlands that led to a solo exhibition in 2007 entitled Resurgence with the Carl Berg Gallery in Amsterdam.  He is in many major art collections and has been featured in New American Painters, Rivera, Coast, Puta (Putting Up Truant Art) Magazines to name a few. He has shown across the US and Europe and has been featured in many art fairs. Recently he exhibited at the Berlin Art Projects in Berlin, Germany. 

My way or the highway evokes Molls feelings about the narrative and identity that exist in the objects we discard after they have served their function. The fast moving pace of daily life in the United States has resulted in the adoption of a ‘disposable culture’. We quickly power through objects until they no longer render us value. Perhaps the most significant emblem of our consumption is the automobile. These objects that are so integral to our daily life are only temporary vehicles ultimately destined for the junkyard. Molls breathes life back into discarded automobiles and moves the junkyard into the gallery.

In California, Molls is surrounded by the ultimate material culture of Hollywood. His most recent addition to this body of work is a series of cast aluminum tires pulled from the Hollywood Hills. The tires originally cast in the 1920’s and 30’s cruised up and down Hollywood boulevard in the booming Old Hollywood days. After they wore down, they found a new purpose. After they were discarded on the roadside, they morphed into the landscape as part of a retaining wall for the Hollywood Hills. After over sixty years of being looked at as part of the terrain, Molls recovered the rubber tires. In this exhibition, Molls gives these tires a chance for a third life by casting them in sculpture. Ironically, although cast in aluminum, the original rubber tires may outlive their monuments. 

Molls has discovered how to breath new life into the mundane by painting scenes typically viewed from the freeway as beautiful and iconic. Molls harkens to the style of the California Impressionists of the 1920’s and 30s who turned their attention towards scenes of the outdoors. These painters worked to capture the inherent beauty of the California coastal cities and represent daily life. In addition to stylistic reverence,  Molls creates paintings using a silver gelatino-bromide process, one of the oldest photographic exposure process. Molls uses the process to “burn” the image he captures directly onto the canvas. From there, he uses paint to manipulate and modernize the painting with the addition of florescent color gradations. In My way or the highway both manmade bridges and natural palm trees hang side by side accurately representing the human everyday experience. 

In the exhibition, Molls uses sculpture and installation to reinforce the theme in various mediums. The sculpture, Piston 4,  is comprised of recycled aluminum pistons. The reclaimed pistons once served as the component to transfer force from expanding gas in the cylinder to power the engine. During the process, the component is constantly moving circularly upwards and downwards to propel the vehicle forward. In My way or the highway, Molls hangs a collection of recycled pistons immobilized in a circular pattern with a sheen of car paint. Although motionless, and unanimous in color, the sculpture appears to move bouncing from piston to piston. Molls intensively layers color on all of the works in My way or the highway creating a unified characteristic finish highlighting his color gradation ability.