Replicating the sensation of bombardment that is a common experience of contemporary urban life, Douglas Kolk’s collages are charged with dynamic and contradictory visual material. Images of female beauty jostle for space with jagged drawn line; sprayed colour bumps up against collaged newspaper. The overall effect is one of clamour and confusion, with certain thematic interests that bind the apparently divergent elements together. Kolk’s work seems preoccupied above all with visual ideas that relate to personal identity, whether they be graffiti tags, repeated rows of human eyes, or the faces of fashion models, and their juxtaposition in fragmentary form on the surfaces of his works is a way of deferring that identity’s resolution. No-one, in Kolk’s work, is fully whole.
In Dirty Hands, faces snipped from newspapers are half-completed in graphic lines; the human body appears as broken shards, silhouettes or metonymic parts: teeth, eyes, arms. The preponderance of text in his work demands that Kolk’s work be read, rather than absorbed as a work on this large scale usually is; the act of looking is also one of internal comparison, the revelation of visual rhymes. In Country Road, eyes and lips switch places through visual kinship; the road of the title is driven by cars, trod by horses. Kolk’s work embodies a world where fixed meanings lose their moorings; everything is like something else, and nothing is any one thing at any one time.