Paula Cooper Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of works by Dan Walsh which will include large scale painting on canvas and more intimately scaled paintings on paper.
Celebrated for his work across a range of media, including sculpture, bookmaking, drawing and installation, Walsh has traced a particular trajectory in painting since the 1990s. Working with a focused vocabulary of unit-based forms—including lines, circles, grids and rectangles—he systematically layers brushstrokes according to defined sets of rules that yield complex compositions. “Minimalism, with its grid oriented and elemental base, has shown to be flexible,” Walsh states. “What was once a rigorous idea about reduction and essentialism is now just a starting point … The most important influence I take away from minimalism is the orientation of the viewer.”
Paintings on canvas dating from 2012 to 2021 present Walsh’s distinct perceptual effects and acute color modulations. In Outlet, 2021, monochromatic hues ranging from white to black impart surprising vibrancy, while in Benefit, 2015, lush pinks retreat into the ground and a muted gray comes to the fore. Meanwhile Truce, 2012, uses a palette of warm yellows and browns to dramatic, hypnotizing effect. In each case, Walsh’s meticulously layered brushstrokes retain a hand-drawn quality that activates his images with transformative humanism.
A series of paintings on paper completed in 2020 engage viewers on a smaller scale. Using the same vocabulary of forms, such as lozenges, circles and squares, Walsh imparts with conciseness much of the perspectival complexity of the larger paintings. Fewer of each form is used to structure the composition, allowing the elements to be treated with the same level of precision. The luscious pooling of paint on the surface of the paper informs a unique texture that helps to impart this immediacy.
Dan Walsh (b. 1960, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is a painter, printmaker, bookmaker, and sculptor. Walsh’s work has been exhibited in venues throughout the U.S. and Europe, including the Museum of Modern Art and the New Museum, New York; the Centre national d’art contemporain, Nice; The Rhode Island School of Design Art Museum, Providence; and The Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain, Geneva, Switzerland. He has also been included in the Ljubljiana Biennial, Slovenia, the Lyon Biennial of Contemporary Art, France, and the Whitney Biennial (2014). In 2019, his work was the subject of a 10-year retrospective at the Bonnefantenmuseum in Maastricht. He is represented in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Jumex Collection, Mexico City; and the Musée d’art Moderne et Contemporain in Geneva, among other institutions.
1. “Sign Fiction: Bob Nickas and Dan Walsh in Conversation,” in Dan Walsh: Pressing Matter, exh. cat. (Maastricht, Netherlands: Bonnefantenmuseum, 2019), p.55.