Paula Cooper Gallery opens an exhibition of new paintings by Dan Walsh

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Paula Cooper Gallery opens an exhibition of new paintings by Dan Walsh
Installation view, Dan Walsh, Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, April 4 – May 18, 2024. © Dan Walsh. Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York. Photo: Steven Probert.

NEW YORK, NY.- An exhibition of new paintings by Dan Walsh opened on Thursday, April 4th at 534 West 21st Street. Expanding his investigation into system-based abstraction, Walsh’s new paintings appear effortless and inevitable despite the exacting process of their making. The composition of each painting is grounded along the lower edge and employs a vocabulary of unit-based forms—including lines, circles, lozenges, and rectangles, with some structured around a loose pyramidal shape. Walsh softens the geometry of the grid with movement, rounding the edges to form dynamic compositions illuminated in vibrant color. Subtle chromatic variations in paintings such as Rally, 2023, delight and trick the eye, playing with figure and ground and necessitating a curiously engaged looking. Of another painting in the show, Call, 2022, critic Bob Nickas has written:

The image simultaneously evokes electronic circuitry and Pacific Northwest totems, technological as well as symbolic visual languages, equally encoded—his image seemingly carved to be imprinted / painted. […] Call, in its pared down chromatics and “perforations,” also calls to mind wood veneers that have been incised, or a template from which other images may be generated. [1]

Rather than using preparatory drawings, Walsh has described how the logic of a painting reveals itself to him during its making, and the appearance of each work can change dramatically during the weeks spent systematically layering brushstrokes. This way of working arises from the artist’s equally prolific output in printmaking and artist’s books, mediums characterized by their inherent seriality. Also borrowed from his work with paper is the somewhat surprisingly handmade quality of the paintings, which activate his images with transformative humanism.

[1] Bob Nickas, Dan Walsh: The Process of Painting (Geneva and Zurich: JRP | Editions and Galerie Tschudi, 2023), p. 10.

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