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DAHLKE SHOWING PORTALS, EXPERIMENTAL WORKS

March 11, 2004 – Donald Laurent Dahlke, who has made his mark internationally working in several highly different artistic styles, will be exhibiting new pieces in two of them at his annual Mango Tango Art Gallery show, which opens on Friday with a reception from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Dahlke will be showing nine of his signature "portal" oil paintings and more than a dozen mixed-media experimental pieces which explore the changing human spirit. He'll be on hand to discuss his work on Friday from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
His familiar portal works offer a glimpse from a sun-dappled tropical exterior through a dim interior and out to a sunny seascape seen through a window on the other side of the room. These architectural paintings "evoke a feeling of reverie," Mango Tango owner Jane Coombes says. "Viewers respond to the technical finesse and the originality of each work."
His experimental pieces, in a series he calls "Transcending," build on a body of work he exhibited two years ago in a well-received solo show at the prestigious Museo de las Americas in Old San Juan that he collectively called "Ascending." Following that three-month show, the dramatically textured and colored works exploring mankind's spirituality were shown and sold at Mango Tango.
The new experimentals continue Dahlke's delving into "portraying the ever-changing human spirit," Coombes says.
Giclee prints on canvas of some of Dahlke's earlier architectural paintings also will be available at the Mango Tango show.
A onetime St. Croix resident who relocated to the Pacific Northwest, Dahlke now spends six months a year painting in the central Mexican city of San Miguel de Allende, where he set up a permanent studio last year. "I have the pleasure of painting in a spacious high-ceiling, Spanish colonial building," he says.
He finds living in San Miguel "a lot like living in the Virgin Islands" in that "life is slow moving, and folks have the time to stop on the street and say hello." But in other ways, it seems to him like "a miniature New York City, because it has everything that New York has — just not as much."
The city is home to more than 30 art galleries and attracts artists and art collectors from all over the world. "Almost every weekend there is an art opening or cultural event," Dahlke says. "Because of all of these events, I find San Miguel as a very inspirational place to work. I am constantly exposed to art and crafts that are new to me … My life is enriched by the continual visual experience."
What he likes best about the city, though, is "that I can walk everywhere, even at night, with no fear."
Dahlke has been showing his work at Mango Tango for some 13 years — initially in two group exhibitions and in solo shows at least once a year ever since.
Actually, this will be his first Mango Tango show in two years, gallery owner Jane Coombes notes — but that's because Dahlke's work is so much in demand locally. He sends her his paintings as he completes them, she explains, and last year, "I kept giving his collectors previews. His paintings were all sold before the show." So, instead of hosting the show, she and her husband, Smokey Pratt, I traveled to Mexico to visit Dahlke in his work environment.
Mango Tango is located in Al Cohen's Plaza atop Raphune Hill. Mango The gallery handles Dahlke's original artwork exclusively in the Caribbean. For more information, call 777-3060.

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March 11, 2004 - Donald Laurent Dahlke, who has made his mark internationally working in several highly different artistic styles, will be exhibiting new pieces in two of them at his annual Mango Tango Art Gallery show, which opens on Friday with a reception from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Dahlke will be showing nine of his signature "portal" oil paintings and more than a dozen mixed-media experimental pieces which explore the changing human spirit. He'll be on hand to discuss his work on Friday from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
His familiar portal works offer a glimpse from a sun-dappled tropical exterior through a dim interior and out to a sunny seascape seen through a window on the other side of the room. These architectural paintings "evoke a feeling of reverie," Mango Tango owner Jane Coombes says. "Viewers respond to the technical finesse and the originality of each work."
His experimental pieces, in a series he calls "Transcending," build on a body of work he exhibited two years ago in a well-received solo show at the prestigious Museo de las Americas in Old San Juan that he collectively called "Ascending." Following that three-month show, the dramatically textured and colored works exploring mankind's spirituality were shown and sold at Mango Tango.
The new experimentals continue Dahlke's delving into "portraying the ever-changing human spirit," Coombes says.
Giclee prints on canvas of some of Dahlke's earlier architectural paintings also will be available at the Mango Tango show.
A onetime St. Croix resident who relocated to the Pacific Northwest, Dahlke now spends six months a year painting in the central Mexican city of San Miguel de Allende, where he set up a permanent studio last year. "I have the pleasure of painting in a spacious high-ceiling, Spanish colonial building," he says.
He finds living in San Miguel "a lot like living in the Virgin Islands" in that "life is slow moving, and folks have the time to stop on the street and say hello." But in other ways, it seems to him like "a miniature New York City, because it has everything that New York has -- just not as much."
The city is home to more than 30 art galleries and attracts artists and art collectors from all over the world. "Almost every weekend there is an art opening or cultural event," Dahlke says. "Because of all of these events, I find San Miguel as a very inspirational place to work. I am constantly exposed to art and crafts that are new to me ... My life is enriched by the continual visual experience."
What he likes best about the city, though, is "that I can walk everywhere, even at night, with no fear."
Dahlke has been showing his work at Mango Tango for some 13 years -- initially in two group exhibitions and in solo shows at least once a year ever since.
Actually, this will be his first Mango Tango show in two years, gallery owner Jane Coombes notes -- but that's because Dahlke's work is so much in demand locally. He sends her his paintings as he completes them, she explains, and last year, "I kept giving his collectors previews. His paintings were all sold before the show." So, instead of hosting the show, she and her husband, Smokey Pratt, I traveled to Mexico to visit Dahlke in his work environment.
Mango Tango is located in Al Cohen's Plaza atop Raphune Hill. Mango The gallery handles Dahlke's original artwork exclusively in the Caribbean. For more information, call 777-3060.

Publisher's note : Like the St. John Source now? Find out how you can love us twice as much -- and show your support for the islands' free and independent news voice ... click here.