PERRY RUBENSTEIN GALLERY
527 WEST 23RD STREET
December 11 - January 17, 2008
Opening Reception Thursday, December 11th, 6:00 - 8:00 PM
New York, November 26, 2008
Perry Rubenstein Gallery is pleased to present Downburst, Daniel Rich's first solo exhibition at the gallery, featuring paintings made over the past year. Rich turns selected images circulating on the Internet, in newspapers and magazines into unique paintings, highlighting the events they depict and the process of their documentation.
The body of work made for Downburst centers on the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the ongoing turmoil in the region of the Middle East. The title of the exhibition refers to a meteorological phenomenon where, unlike in a tornado, strong winds are directed outwards from the point where the downburst hits land or water. Drawing a metaphoric parallel between Rich's practice and this phenomenon, the title denotes that his works are part of a process of uncontrolled, widespread reception of a single event, the effects and visibility of which reach far beyond its origin.
The hyper-realistic paintings often depict buildings and sites that have been destroyed or altered since the source image was taken. Saddam (2007) shows a monument to Saddam Hussein that was demolished right after the end of his dictatorship. Rich lifted this image from the Internet after reading an article that described the order for U.S. soldiers to destroy the dictator's image whenever they encountered it in public spaces. Rich's recent painting, Obama's Visit to Baghdad (July 2008) (2008), in part points out the political act of U.S politicians visiting war zones and taking helicopter tours. The World (Dubai) (2008), on the other hand, comments on the architectural, seemingly experimental dreamland that Dubai and the United Arab Emirates represent, and attempts to draw attention to the parallel existence of a whole different reality that is not too far away.
The self-imposed task to paint in Rich's particular way is similar to an act of reconstruction, of rebuilding a given image. Once he has selected an image, Rich makes an enlarged print, scaled to the size of the board. Following a rigid process that he has set up and follows for all of his works, he then determines the colors of different areas, and draughts the outline of the painting. Subsequently masking area after area, he methodically adds colors. Rich usually removes any human presence from the source images and transforms nature and buildings into almost schematic representations. Denying himself any further pictorial intervention or personal comment, he does not make an overt political statement with his works. Instead, he strives to take on a neutral position, setting his conceptual and practical focus on selection and the process of transferring the image from one medium into another.
The images Rich chooses to paint are both personal and subjective choices. They mirror his own history of seeing and perceiving events happening in other parts of the world and their mediation through images in the news and popular culture. Rich provides no answers, just questions. It remains open if whether by highlighting easily accessible mass media images in meticulous unique paintings he reclaims or questions painting as a privileged category of images. However answered, Rich's work acts both as a discourse on mass-produced pictorial sources of information and as a quasi-monument to the events depicted in the source material.
Daniel Rich was born in 1977 in Ulm, Germany. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Rich received an MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2004); a BFA from the Atlanta College of Art (2001); and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (2004). His work has been exhibited in New York at Elizabeth Dee Gallery (2005), at Sunday Gallery (2007), and at Mario Diacono Gallery, Boston (2007) among others. Concurrently on view at Perry Rubenstein's 534 West 24th Street space is Folded, Danish artist Peter Callesen's first solo exhibition in the U.S.
Thoughts *Image: Daniel Rich, Obama's Visit to Baghdad (July 2008), 2008, Enamel on wood, 30 x 25 inches
(76.2 x 63.5 cm)
Perry Rubenstein Gallery
527 West 23 Street
534 West 24 Street
526 West 24 Street
New York, NY 10011
T 212-627-8000, F 212-627-6336
Gallery hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM.
Members of the press please contact:
Jennifer Bono / Kathrin Meyer
Perry Rubenstein Gallery