Dine is a painter, sculptor, draftsman, printmaker, performance artist and photographer. His work features a number of recurring motifs: trees, tools, dressing gowns, hearts, fences, artist’s palettes, the Venus de Milo that, while imbued with personal significance, provide the ground for his aesthetic explorations. In a series of paintings executed in 1984-1985, which includesPacific Gift, Dine uses images of hands and skulls. Of the latter, he has said, “The skull came from a conversation with a friend in Paris. She confided in me that she and her husband had visited a ‘channel,’ a medium who assumed the voice of a person from another world. This gave me the idea of a skull, not as a dead person but as a vehicle for the voice coming out. I saw it as the bare bones of me: a self-portrait, not as a tête de mort but as a real person. The palm of a hand with partially bound fingers is here represented flanked by two skulls. The artist has attached a piece of asphalt to the wrist. The painting is dedicated to James Kirsch, a correspondent of Carl Gustav Jung’s who was Dine’s psychoanalyst at the time.
© Jim Dine / SOCAN (2020)