29 April 2012
05APR12 - 25MAY12
Gagosian Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new work by Dan Colen.
Colen's art combines the intensity of real life with reflection on the subjects of immanence and belief, taking up with the extant objects encountered along his wandering path in order to revitalize the very stuff and syntax of painting. In his painting exhibition "Trash" (2011), he tapped into the individual histories of abject materials, exposing their latent energies as painting tools, vestigial imprints, and physical elements that often remain attached to the canvas after the painting process.
These fervid paintings readdressed mid-century painterly investigations of gravity and the flatbed picture plane, but unlike his predecessors' radical experiments where the paint or repurposed objects equaled the sum total of the work, Colen employed the spirited debris of the street—a flip-flop, a paint can, rags, string, bottles, a tire, and so on-as the means by which to move paint around on the canvas until they both—the tool and the medium—came to rest.
"Blowin' in the Wind" advances this investigation in three related groups of new work that were each once part of the process of the Trash paintings. The first uses pages from a nudie calendar; having fallen away from the surface of a Trash painting, here the remnant seductive pin-ups have been further manipulated with paint and pasted trash to create interplay between control, chaos, beauty and abjection. The second is a grouping of collages that use mismatched letters cut out of stained, smeared wrappers and packaging to spell out the word GOD—desperate, scurrying evocations of the supreme being and embodiment of ultimate faith. The third is a selection of readymade trash objects.
Suspended from the wall, their proximate relationships deliver a striking aesthetic depth. A yellow mop bucket, a McDonald's food bag, and an umbrella handle indicate the mediating plane of the canvas where a canvas no longer exists. Commonplace items, which Colen initially used as mark-making tools in the Trash series, become autonomous fetishes alluding to formalist assemblage. The beauty of each object resides in the physical manifestations of history--torn, mangled, and flecked with paint. Thus Colen continues to cultivate the marriage of spectacle and pure chance in relation to the materiality of the readymade and Modernist object and its aesthetic transcendence.
More on Gagosian Gallery