I recently visited an exhibition of Los Angeles artist Kim Dingle’s work at Susanne Vielmetter Gallery in Culver City called “Yipes.” The exhibit included Dingle’s paintings as well as an installation starring her recurring characters Fatty and Fudge called “The Afterthought”. The paintings included some abstract works, but most were of young girls shown in their everyday lives–temper tantrums and all. Most of the paintings, too Dingle painted blindfolded.
The best paintings, in my opinion, were the ones depicting the little girls. They are kitschy and funny but have an eerie undertone of youthful pent-up energy and violence. All of her work is filled with action and is charged with energy, however, the real piece-de-resistance was in the last gallery where Fatty and Fudge have gone on a rampage and destroyed the art on the on the walls and the gallery room itself. These babies are porcelain dolls, however, they are not friendly or remotely inviting looking. They have self-confident and almost devious smiles on their faces that make them look proud of the destruction they have done and their tiny hands are clenched into aggressive fists. There is a painting on the floor that has been ripped apart by Fudge and slashed by some baby scissors, small and low to the ground baby-fist sized holes on the wall stuffed with crumpled drawings, crayon graffiti reading “pissed”, soiled diapers on the ground, and crumpled pieces of paper, and much more evidence of two babies on a rampage.
It is hard to miss that this installation is a metaphor for the anger on part of Dingle at the current political situation and the mistreatment of women’s rights on the part of politicians. Fatty and Fudge are wearing ‘pussyhats’ from the 2017 Women’s March and there is a picture of Donald Trump on the ground next to Fatty’s area of destruction. This installation seems to have an added poignancy, beyond the current political climate, because of the recent outpouring of victims of sexual assault in the news. This installation puts a humorous and even cute touch on serious topics relevant to women now. By using baby dolls, Dingle both lightens up the subject matter and simultaneously calls attention to how important it is to open a dialogue about these themes with younger people.
The young girls depicted in Dingle’s art are strong, despite their age and gender, and this is what makes her work so important. Fatty and Fudge and all the other girls in Dingle’s art are able to transcend their “limitations” to take a stand and be vocal on issues important to them. Although this exhibit is now closed, I highly recommend looking into the work of Kim Dingle, she is an amazing artist that deserves more recognition.
Click this link to learn more about Kim Dingle, her work, and stay updated on her upcoming shows- https://www.artsy.net/artist/kim-dingle