Routine Scenic Machine
For his first solo exhibition at moniquemeloche, Dan Gunn (American, born 1980, lives Chicago), who considers himself primarily a painter, will make all new work including wall-based, free-standing, and hanging constructions. Simultaneously present and elusive, Gunn’s work elicits an awareness of the viewer’s own visual and spatial perception through the construction of objects that highlight the interconnected relationship between artist, viewer, and object. “I am trying to construct an indifferent object that has recently become the object of desire, yet leave it in that mixed state,” says Gunn.
Using the many languages of abstraction, Gunn builds a series of malleable surfaces that display different functional, aesthetic and cultural relationships between their constituent parts. However, for Gunn, abstraction is not used to reveal some underlying truth but rather as a way to notice the everyday structures that influence our relationship with pictures. Among other things, Gunn’s work examines our curious relationship to commercial display and the found object. In the artist’s words, “everything changes once it’s found, becoming involved in a chain of associations and symbolic appropriations. A rags to riches story.”
Gunn’s highly-crafted works combine everyday materials (fabrics, tinsel, chalkboards, etc.) to emulate enticing devices of presentation (shop windows, stage sets, architecture, furniture, etc.) alongside more traditional painterly techniques that complicates easy categorization. His shifting materials alternately use transparency and opacity, solidity and screening. Perforated layers reveal obscured surfaces. Surfaces echo other surfaces. Structures recall other structures. A formal kinship of both surface and structure give unity to the whole, while balance and opposition create tension. With an emphasis on the primacy of embodied experience, Gunn’s installation aims to be simultaneously seductive, quirky, and even sublime.
Prior to earning his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2007, Dan Gunn received a Bachelor’s degree in Physics. His interest in physics greatly overlaps with his current artistic practice, where he continues to investigate the peculiar qualities of materials. In an intuitive construction process, he experiments with effervescent substances, grouping objects together in search of revealed affinities and a deeper understanding of the world. His work has been reviewed in publications such as Artforum.com, Artslant.com, NewCity Chicago, TimeOut Chicago, and the Chicago Tribune. In 2010, Gunn had a much lauded solo exhibition Multistable Picture Fable at Lloyd Dobler Gallery in Chicago and was included in the Contemporary Art Council’s group exhibition New Icon curated by Britton Bertran at Loyola University Museum of Art in Chicago. In January 2011, he was one of four young artists invited to participate in our annual Winter Experiment. In September 2011, concurrent with our exhibition, Gunn will have a solo show – the 12×12 UBS: New Artists/New Work series – at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and will have work in a group show at the A+D Gallery at Columbia College. His work is currently on view at the James Hotel Chicago lobby gallery.