Salt Lake City artist Trevor Dahl’s artistry is a visual odyssey that intertwines the personal with the universal, translating his inner experiences into a language of dream-inspired figures and landscapes. With a practice rooted in “free doodling,” Dahl forgoes conscious thought to tap into a realm of spontaneity and divinity, creating art that resonates with the collective unconscious.
“The Field of Love” is the culmination of a years-long trajectory in the artist’s practice of free doodling. After creating countless works in marker on paper, he finally decided to commit the practice to canvas. “For weeks, I filled the canvas with the rambling thoughts and symbols of the days,” he says. “It was springtime, and I was falling in love. And reconnecting with a greater Love. The phrases found throughout the piece were written as personal reminders as I battled fear and hesitancy in both my drawing and personal life. Drawing without a plan, trying to let things flow and evolve in the moment – a total improv! Once the drawing was completed, I painstakingly colored everything with vibrant, oil paints over the course of several months. It was an act of loving devotion.”
Brimming with archetypal characters and symbols, this work reflects the fluid nature of existence. At the center of “The Field of Love,” a stained-glass window radiating with a floral design serves as a focal point amidst the surrounding chaos. Branching out from this central image is a variety of flora and fauna, including a majestic tree with colorful, eye-like patterns on its branches and various birds perched and in flight. The lower portion of the piece features a tranquil water scene with a duo-toned deer-like creature that appears both graceful and mystical, with a flame symbol at its heart. Surrounding the deer are diverse elements that range from the natural—an assortment of flowers and insects—to the surreal, such as anthropomorphic suns and celestial bodies. Along the borders and within the composition are numerous small, symbol-laden vignettes, each possibly representing individual stories or concepts. The overall effect is one of a dreamlike journey through a symbolic landscape, where the subconscious mind spills into a fantastical reality, inviting the viewer to interpret and find connections within this intricate universe of imagery.
Artists of Utah’s 35×35, Finch Lane Gallery, Salt Lake City, through Feb. 23
UTAH’S ART MAGAZINE SINCE 2001, 15 Bytes is published by Artists of Utah, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah.