Friday Night Dialogues: Exploring ‘Pale Male’ with Roz Dimon


Roz Dimon’s “Pale Male”

Imagine an artist at work. What would you see? Most likely you’d conjure up a painter in a smock, standing at an easel, paint brush in hand with jars of paint ready to be applied to the canvas.

But that is not what Roz Dimon looks like when she makes art. No smock, easel or paint brush for her. Instead, Ms. Dimon sits at a computer screen.  “My brush is digital,” she says almost defiantly. 

Ms. Dimon says she uses digital as the medium itself, not just as an act of production. She started her life as an artist with a traditional paint brush in her hand, but now, she says, “I’ve got a pixel in my heart.”

Ms. Dimon went digital some 30 years ago.

She has perfected her digital brush strokes to create two distinct kinds of art. One is a digital drawing with every mark on a separate layer. The other is an interactive art called DIMONscapes. She described DIMONscapes in a recent telephone interview as “a single painting that is many paintings combining infinitesimal layers of imagery and words. I like promoting access into a piece of my artwork, and I can because of computers.”

In terms of the content of her work, she continued, “It has always been about American idols and icons, from Wall Street, to Nike, to Jesus.”

At the Shelter Island Public Library Friday Night Dialogue on September 15 at 7 p.m., Ms. Dimon and art historian Gail Levin will feature as its centerpiece one of the artist’s most renown DIMONscapes — “Pale Male: A Pilgrimage.”

The piece is in the permanent collection of the 9/11 Museum in Manhattan and it was featured in an international symposium in Tokyo earlier this year. “Pale Male” was, in fact, inspired by the 9/11 tragedy.

The name of the work refers to the red-tailed hawk that moved to Manhattan in the 1990s and established a new home on a co-op building on Fifth Avenue across the street from Central Park. In many ways, Ms. Dimon said in a 2015 interview, the work “is a spiritual journey about finding home when your own is lost.” In transforming Pale Male, the hawk, into “Pale Male” the DIMONscape, Ms. Dimon created 80 to 100 layers of images.

Gail Levin is an artist in her own right. She also is an art historian, biographer, curator and a distinguished professor. She and Ms. Dimon will help the audience delve deeply into the many layers and images of “Pale Male” to connect to the art in a meaningful way.

Roz Dimon is currently working on another DIMONscape for the Shelter Island Historical Society that will tell the history of Havens House. She will have a show in New York City in October and November of 2018. She is also writing a book about  going digital.

This should be a fascinating conversation about Ms. Dimon’s work and the direction art is taking in the modern world. There is no charge for this program although donations are gratefully accepted.

Up next: Join us at the library on Friday, October 6 when Charity Robey will speak about her research on Peconic Bay scallops.

Submitted by Judy Hole Suratt