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Dan Lydersen

  • 20131015143744-dan-lydersen-oct-show-2013
  • 20140127210148-bacchus_on_the_beach
  • 20140127211255-cast-away
  • 20140127211434-playhouse
  • 20140127210621-friendly_fire
  • 20140127210746-neptunia
  • 20140127210855-side_saddle
  • 20140127211146-bacchante
  • 20140127211028-arcade
  • 20140127211628-stalemate
  • 20110102175116-swing
  • 20110102171607-christ_and_the_woman
  • 20110102173917-gone_tomorrow
  • 20110102173129-fish_food
  • 20110102174952-self-portrait_with_piercing_and_periscope
  • Vivarium
  • Little_lamb
  • Annunciation
  • Soft_serve


Denver, CO

Birth year

Lives in

Works in


San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI), 2007, MFA
UCSC (University of California Santa Cruz), Santa Cruz, 2002, BA

Representing galleries

iconic, humor, allegory, oil, contemporary, California, emerging landscape figurative, imaginary, nature, old-masters, religious, renaissance, surreal realism painting, figurative, pop, realism, landscape, surrealism, traditional


My recent paintings are a reconciliation between past and present, particularly in regard to Western culture’s notions of spirituality and the relationship between society and nature. Drawing from a variety of contemporary and historical sources, from the Renaissance to modern cinema, literature and popular culture, the paintings are an attempt to come to terms with the present through the immediate marriage of today’s visual culture with that of the past. Both theatrical and satirical, comical and somber, the paintings pose a view of humanity that is steeped in the existential turmoil that lies between materiality and spirituality, where society trudges persistently forward into the future while the human search for meaning and purpose as mortal animals remains unresolved.

Having its roots in the Renaissance and manifesting itself in all manner of contemporary media, the notion of the rectangle as a window into an alternate reality has become an inherent mode of viewing in human culture. Whether via canvas, computer or television screen, there exists an eager willingness to suspend one’s disbelief and subscribe to the illusion of simulated space depicted on a two-dimensional surface. In my work, this notion of the rectangle as window is utilized to present fragments of narratives that are imbued with a degree of reality while also recognizing themselves as fictional constructs. Consisting of familiar archetypes from historical painting to contemporary popular culture, these narratives seek to draw focus on the grotesqueness, beauty, comedy, and horror that lie just beneath the surface of the ordinary. In this way, the rectangle is not only a window but also a kind of fun-house mirror that reflects an image of the real world while distorting it into something otherworldly.

The images themselves come from many different places. Some are calculated references to art history or contemporary culture and others are the result of free association, improvisation or imaginative flights of fancy. Some paintings aspire towards coherent satire or self-reflexive commentary on the nature of painting while others use history and current events as a loose foundation for constructing open-ended narratives. Some paintings are simply imaginative explorations executed for the sake of satisfying my own curiosity. In any case, central to each painting is a particular worldview that seeks to balance tragedy with comedy, beauty with ugliness, and rationality with uncertainty.


MFA, Painting, San Francisco Art Institute. 2007.
BA, Art, with emphasis in Painting and Drawing, University of California at Santa Cruz. 2002.
Summer Study at the American University of Rome, Italy. 2001.

Individual Exhibitions
Blue Skies From Now On, Jack Fischer Gallery, San Francisco, CA. 2010.
Yesterday's Here
, Jack Fischer Gallery, San Francisco, CA. 2008.
Diego Rivera Gallery, San Francisco, CA. 2006.

Selected Group Exhibitions

Devil Town, Gallery 1988, Los Angeles, CA. 2011.
The Realists: New, Recent and Historical Works, Artzone 461, San Francisco, CA. 2011.
Outlandish, Bedford Gallery, Lesher Center for the Arts, Walnut Creek, CA. 2011.
I Know You Art, But What Am I, Gallery 1988, Santa Monica, CA. 2011.
Pillars of the Earth, Distinction Gallery, Escondido, CA. 2011.
Surrealism Now, Casa Museu Bissaya Barreto, Coimbra, Portugal. 2010. (catalog)
Annual Art Auction, The Lab, San Francisco, CA. 2010.
The Lost Underground Art Project, Gallery 1988, Los Angeles, CA. 2009.
San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, San Jose, CA. 2009.
Family Pictures, Root Division, San Francisco, CA. 2009.
Crazy 4 Cult 3-D, Gallery 1988, Los Angeles, CA. 2009.
Opening Salvo, Jack Fischer Gallery, San Francisco, CA. 2009.
Aqua Art Fair, Miami, FL. 2008.
10 Under 30, Haines Gallery at Sullivan Goss, Santa Barbara, CA. 2008.
Red Dot Art Fair, New York, NY. 2008.
MFA Selections, Gatehouse Gallery, The Di Rosa Preserve, Napa, CA. 2008.
No Gifts, Please, Michael Rosenthal Contemporary Art, Redwood City, CA. 2007.
Red Dot Art Fair, Miami, FL. 2007.
San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, San Jose, CA. 2007.
Cream, From the Top, Arts Benicia, Benicia, CA. 2007.
San Francisco Art Institute Graduating MFA Exhibition, Fort Mason, San Francisco, CA. 2007.
Red Ink Revisited, Red Ink Studios, San Francisco, CA. 2007.
SFAI Now, Red Ink Studios, San Francisco, CA. 2007.
Continuing MFA Show, Diego Rivera Gallery, San Francisco, CA. 2006.

Artist Talks and Panel Discussions
Guest Lecturer, Berkeley City College, Berkeley, CA. 2010.
"The MFA Experience", Moderated by Michael Schwager, Di Rosa Preserve, Napa, CA. 2008.
"Artists' Forum", Moderated by Kenneth Baker and Glen Helfand, Arts Benicia, CA. 2008.

New American Paintings #97, December, 2011.
Spencer Young, "Blue Skies From Now On," Art Practical, January 13, 2011.
Kenneth Baker, "Lydersen Represents," San Francisco Chronicle, December 25, 2010.
Dan Lydersen, "Dan Lydersen," Direct Art, Volume 17, 2010.
Maren Jinnet, "The Art of Devotion," Wired Magazine, April 2010.
Richard Bammer, “Top of Their Class,” Vacaville Reporter, July 20, 2007.
Saunthy Nicolson-Singh, “Buildings and Bones,” Sacramento News & Review, October 19, 2006.

Recent Exhibits

Dan Lydersen participated in these exhibits:

Aug, 2015 Aspen Ice Garden, Aspen, CO.
Art Aspen with Patrajdas Contemporary Booth #A9
Feb, 2015 The 2nd Annual Pow! Wow!: Exploring The New Contemporary Art Movement Exhibition
Honolulu Museum of Art School
Jul, 2014 New Visions of the West
Whitespace Contemporary
Oct, 2013 New Work
Jack Fischer Gallery
Aug, 2013 Endless Vacation
Oct, 2011 The Realists: New, Recent and Historical Works
ArtZone 461 Gallery
Click here to see all exhibits for Dan Lydersen
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