Kenneth Dingwall, Painter


Cleveland is fortunate to have the Scottish artist Kenneth Dingwall choose to call it home. Dingwall, currently professor of painting and chair of the painting department at the Cleveland Institute of Art, began there as a visiting foreign artist in 1985–1987. Following a brief stint in Zurich, he was persuaded to return more permanently to Northeast Ohio. After serving as guest artist in Kent State University’s Blossom Summer Program in 1988, he took up his present Institute post.

Unconcerned with art world fads and trends, Dingwall, who trained at the Edinburgh College of Art, has developed an impressive body of abstract works whose roots can be traced to such renowned pioneers of modernism as Mondrian, Malevich and Barnett Newman. All three of these artists demonstrated in their works that non-objectivity can incorporate psychological and metaphysical resonance; in his own paintings Dingwall has marshaled symmetry, order and balance toward similar ends. Strongly influenced by and suggestive of the patterns in nature (bones of the human skeleton, sunlight shining on the ocean, folded leaves), his conceptually rigorous canvases often appear mysteriously both to grow and glow from within.

With typically Scottish depth and economy of means, Dingwall creates subtly nuanced compositions in which each brushstroke, each mark, each change in texture, serves as a metaphor for complex and intensely human meaning. Frequently compared to American Minimalists such as Frank Stella and Agnes Martin, Dingwall shares their interest in geometric forms, but synthesizes into them reverberant intimations of the spiritual and organic. The subject of a major traveling exhibition of works created since 1990, co-organized by the Talbot Rice Gallery in Edinburgh and the Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art in 1996–1997, Kenneth Dingwall has begun to achieve the international prominence his accomplishments deserve.

Ellen G. Landau

Cleveland Arts Prize
P.O. Box 21126 • Cleveland, OH 44121 • 440-523-9889 •