Galería Elvira González
its second exhibition of US artist Dan Walsh
on Thursday, 11
, at 7 pm.
The exhibition will include nine large canvases, dating from 2009 to
2012, in which the artist continues to display his signature compositional
style that is rooted in Minimalism but tempered by freer and more personalized
elements and gestures. In Walsh
the linear and undulating design of the colour strokes, displayed as bars or
labyrinths, produce a visual play of vibration and movement that causes the
viewer’s gaze to go in and out of focus.
belongs to the post minimalist
artistic generation, and
his work is based on repeating forms that play with progressive complication or
architectural sensibility to his treatment of the space and background of his
paintings, often treating them as if they were architectural friezes. His main
references can be found in works from artists such as Peter Halley, Donald
Judd, Sol Lewitt and Philip Guston, while his use of repetitive prints laid out
in hierarchical compositions is indebeted to sources as diverse as Tibetan
mandalas, indigenous textiles and folk art.
, the creative
process is fascinating and it is in fact as important as the final result of
the work. It is this same process which generates the images of his paintings
and which, as he himself acknowledges, provides unexpected results. He knows
perfectly well how his work will start but he does not know how and when it
will end, so that the final result is unknown. Walsh
himself states that his painting is a vehicle to contemplate a place where the retinal meets the symbolic
1960) studied at the Philadelphia College of Art and at the Hunter College in
New York, where he currently lives and works. Hiswork has been exhibited at the P.S.1
Contemporary Art Center in Long Island, the New Museum of Contemporary Art in
New York (US), the Centre National d'Art Contemporain in Nice,the Denme
Synagogue (France), the CCNOA (Art + Architecture) Centre in Brussels (Belgium)
and the Kunstverein Medienturm in Graz (Austria). In addition, Walsh has made
numerous artist´s books that have been exhibited at the Gabinet des Estampes at
the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire in Geneva (Switzerland).
His work has been
included at the Biennial in Ljubljana (Slovenia) and the Biennial in Lyon
(France). Between 17 March and 26
May 2013, the artist will have a retrospective exhibition at the Fondation
Speestra in Apples (Switzerland), under the title of Table of contents
Uta Barth interview by George Stolz. May 2012
I want to ask you first about how you work --
your routine, not your work as object. How do you work?
:I always say that the painting I am
working on now was taken from my last painting. I famously don’t do drawings
and it’s not out of any great principle. I’d rather just see it on the canvas.
How do I work? What you wouldn’t know about
me is that I’m not exactly a brush fetishist, but I have a major commitment to
my brushes. My ability with the brushes is key to how these paintings look.
How did I end up painting like this, with
these little elemental kind of building blocks? How that happened is because
years ago I was so – not embarrassed but I was really kind of feeling awkward
about how I can put the paint on canvas. Everyone, every painter likes put
paint on canvas, but there was this time – and we’re talking about the 80s or
earlier – when everyone was living under the guise or the theater of another
movement, like abstract expressionism. You had to adjust somebody else’s gesture.
No authorship, no authority.
I can accept that, but it’s not particularly
something I wanted. It just didn’t feel right. I’d rather be earnest and a
little bit clumsy and get it right and at least say, not necessarily that I did
it, but that I didn’t have to go through someone else’s theater to do it, to
tape it out. Peter Halle would be the model of the time, to either tape it out
or use a certain kind of gesture.
So my joke early on about how to describe myself
was “Phillp Guston paints an Agnes Martin.” A kind of a clumsy,
flat-footedness, although looking at more transcendental subjects.
So what do I do in a studio? I make small
movements, discreet movements, and perfect movements, and I build a painting
that way. They are very simple gestures. You could say I am marking time. That
I am existing gracefully. But I do like to do a pass over painting, as a
printmaker would. GS
: Do you make prints?
Yes, I make prints with Pace. I love printmaking and I
like being around someone as inspiring as Joe Watanabe. I like the way he does
things. I feel like we are kindred spirits in that way.
There is a way of painting that is very much
about the elemental, step-by-step methological commitment. Whereas color for me
is exactly the opposite. I am hiding under a very methological approach and
what many would say is programmatic. But what I am getting out of color is I
think quite romantic and quite exploratory compared to the brush marks
themselves. It’s how much transparency I use and the color combinations and the
-- I don’t want to say quirky color but I have been in some very unusual
situations color-wise. And I think because of transparency and the formats I
can get away with with certain kind of color situations that I would bet that a
lot of other artists can’t handle. It’s because of my knitting, because of my
process. I think that’s important to separate these two.
: I’ve seen you refer in an interview to aspiring ‘to exist
in the middle of history and be stout.’ What do you mean by that, ‘to be
: It’s that you ate at the table, you digested history.
Think about Guston again. You represent with responsibility -- and now that’s a
very complex subject too. In history. You don’t have to prove anything. You are
there gracefully and strong and you understand what you choose to do and not to
I choose to be more of the decorative color
painter as opposed to being some kind of brooding Marxist. I choose that. It’s
a matter of choices. And grace, certainly.
Translation: Carmen Francí
to read the complete interview.