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Dana Gordon

1944 Boston, United States

7 Works exhibited

Current location

New York City

Represented by

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  • About the Artist
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Bibliography
  • Awards

Dana Gordon is an American abstract painter whose work for many years has explored playful shapes, and vivid colors to display an exuberant abstraction. As a multidisciplinary artist, Gordon also writes about art, has designed sets for opera and dance, and, in the period 1968-78, made avant-garde films as well as paintings.

He lives and works in New York City.


Education

The artist was born in 1944 in Boston. As a child, he was very close to his maternal grandfather who was a Talmudic scholar and in whom the young Gordon found a loving spirituality. Gordon moved with his family to Chicago when he was only five. His mother introduced him to the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings at the Art Institute of Chicago, while his father, a scientist who played the piano, exposed him to classical music and jazz. Growing up with an awareness of the city’s amazing buildings, Gordon was tempted to become an architect.

Dana Gordon painted as a child and took courses at the Art Institute of Chicago. Although his parents encouraged his appreciation of art throughout his childhood, when he decided, while in college, to become an artist, they turned totally against it, but he didn't change his decision. Dana earned his BA in art from Brown University, Providence in 1966, and his MA in art from Hunter College, New York in 1969.


Technique

Early in his career, Gordon produced shaped, three-dimensional canvases for about ten years. But in the mid-1970s, he "started over" (as he puts it), re-exploring painting directly from its most basic components, using mark-making and line as his main vehicle or entry point.

The results, from series to series, have sometimes leaned more to linearity, other times to clusters of marks, and still other times to the shapes that were delineated. The qualities of lines and calligraphy varied across a whole range, from infinitely thin pencil lines (edges of shapes) to very broad brushstrokes, wide enough to be shapes themselves.

In his 2010-2014 paintings, the line has become the edge of shapes, providing distinct areas for full expression of color. Gordon also thinks of the single shapes, adjoining shapes, and clusters of shapes as little paintings in themselves, within the larger whole painting.

In his practice, the artist doesn't use earth colors or black, but only spectral colors creating clear, specific and strong artworks. Asked about his approach to color, Gordon said: "A painter needs pure color like a composer needs pure precise tones."


Inspiration

When asked about his inspirations, the artist said, "I'm inspired by all my experiences and observations, by people, cities, landscapes and art, to make abstract paintings that are as full, rich, complete and meaningful as the great master paintings of the past. I want my art to provoke deep feeling and thought, as well as pleasure and joy. Essentially it asks, and answers, two questions: what does it feel like to be alive, and what is art."

Dana Gordon was immersed in an artistic environment during his youth, visiting the Art Institute of Chicago many times. However, the early epiphany that made him comprehend creativity emerged from jazz clubs visited in his teens: hearing and seeing the improvisations of Miles Davis and John Coltrane was, as Gordon says, "to be inside the creative thinking of artistic geniuses in real time, while they did it."

Living in downtown Manhattan in the late 1960s, Gordon was surrounded by a concentrated and very lively art world. During his studies in painting and sculpture at Hunter College, his teachers were such artists as Tony Smith, George Sugarman, Ad Reinhardt, and Ralph Humphrey, among others. Additionally, he worked for Smith (1968-69) and Sugarman (1967) as assistant in their studios. 

Dana was attracted to and inspired by their practice because they exemplified complete seriousness and dedication in art, as well as the highest level of artistic achievement. At the same time, he became friends with the painter Alice Neel, an equally serious and accomplished artist with a somewhat different view of art and the art world. 

He worked at MoMA for about a year where he could examine some of the most important works of modern art at length. Later, Gordon worked at the Honolulu Museum of Art where he studied its collection of Chinese landscape and Zen painting.

Dana Gordon’s compositions evoke somewhat Orphism Cubism and are kaleidoscopic and contemplative. When painting, Gordon is interested in the visual conversation between colors, shapes and lines.

This understanding of art is found not only in his paintings but likewise in essays he wrote for various publications about one of his inspirations, the artist Camille Pissarro. 

About Pissarro, Gordon wrote in the Wall Street Journal in 2007, "Pissarro is popularly known as the first Impressionist.  But in his own lifetime he was known for doing more.  He was, in essence, the first abstract artist.  He showed that painting’s basic qualities — colors, brushstrokes, materiality, lines, shapes, composition—were meaningful in their own right, and transformed paint into purely visual poetry."


Artist Statement

"One is faced with existential questions every time one starts to work on a painting, which is ultimately what makes it worth looking at, and doing. In general, I try to let everything I have experienced affect my painting. And then let the process sort itself out. The process is like a conversation (often an argument) with the painting and it's both mental and physical.

Painting is a comprehensive and open-ended visual language of intellectual, psychological, and emotional expression. (Its essence is truly visual, nothing at all narrative, literary, academic, theoretical, or political.)

Historically abstraction derives from all forms of art, but fundamentally it also underlies them.  Abstract form comprises our view of nature and is found in all of nature."


Relevant Quotes

James Panero, executive editor of the New Criterion, has been reviewing Gordon’s exhibitions for years and says about his work: 

“Dana Gordon has been working through a particular abstract construction that positions a color form within a grid. While many artists paint widely, Gordon paints deeply. He has been singularly dedicated to understanding the possibilities of this particular idiom.The gradual evolution of his work has become an art project in itself. I can think of few artists who are as thoughtful in examining the building blocks of oil on canvas (…) Rather than exhaust a simple language; Gordon has demonstrated how a few basic elements can captivate us with a kaleidoscope of visual interest


Notable Distinctions

He is the recipient of several grants and fellowships including the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, the Edward Albee Foundation, the Wisconsin Arts Board, and other. In 1980, he received a grant from Change, Inc., Robert Rauschenberg's foundation.


Exhibitions

Since the mid-1970s, Dana Gordon has widely exhibited in one-man and group shows, mostly on the US East Coast. His first New York solo show was on display at the Ericson Gallery on Madison Avenue in 1982. His exhibitions have been reviewed in many notable magazines and publications including the New York Times.


Collections

Gordon's work is featured in public and private collections nationally as well as internationally, including the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Philip Morris Corp and the American College of Greece.

SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2019

"Retrospective" Westbeth Gallery, New York, NY

2018

Galerie Metanoia, Paris, France

2017

Sideshow Gallery, Williamsburgh, Brooklyn, NY

2014

Andre Zarre Gallery, New York City

2013

Sideshow Gallery, Williamsburgh, Brooklyn, NY

2003

Gallery Camino Real, Boca Raton

1997

Andre Zarre Gallery, New York City

1996

The Courthouse Gallery of Anthology Film Archive, New York City

1995

“Kunstmuhle,” “next” kunst verein International Studio and Exhibition, Graz, Austria

1994

 Adelphi Univer sity, Garden City, Long Island

55 Mercer Gallery, New York City

1993

55 Mercer Gallery, New York City (January)

55 Mercer Gallery, New York City (October)

The Painting Center, New York City (October) (Co – founder of the Painting center)

1988

Ruggiero - Henis Gallery, New York City

1982

Ericson Gallery, New York City

1973

Pyramid Gallery, Ann Arbor

1967

Armour Gallery, Chicago
 

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2016    

Mishkin Gallery, Baruch College, NYC, curated by Richard Timperio

Sideshow Nation IV, Thru the Rabbit Hole, Sideshow Gallery, Williamsburg, Brooklyn

2015

Mishkin Gallery, Baruch College, NYC, curated by Richard Timperio

Sideshow Nation III, Circle the Wagons, Sideshow Gallery, Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Paperazzi, Janet Kurnatowski Gallery, NYC

2014

Andre Zarre Gallery, 40th Anniversary Exhibition

21 and Counting, The Painting Center

Sideshow Nation II, the Alamo, Sideshow Gallery, Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Paperazzi, Janet Kurnatowski Gallery, NYC

2013

Surviving Sandy, Industry City, Brooklyn, curator, Phong Bui

NurtureArt Benefit, Bernarducci Meisel Gallery, NYC, curators, Lamensdorf, Panero, SmithStewart, and Tribe, October,2013

Sideshow Nation, Sideshow Gallery, Brooklyn

2012

Bushwick Open Stud ios, 1013 Grand Street, Brooklyn

What Only Paint Can Do, Triangle Arts Assoc., Brooklyn; curator Karen Wilkin

Mic Check, Sideshow Gallery, Brooklyn

2011

It's All Good, Sideshow Gallery, Brooklyn

2010

Bushwick Open Studios, 1013 Grand Street, Brooklyn

2001

Charles Cowles Gallery, NYC

1996

Old City Hall, Prague, Czech., “Sentient”, artists from the Graz International Studio

1995

 Andre Zarre Gallery, NYC,“Paper and Canvas,” (other artists in show incl. Frances Barth, Ellen,Lanyon, L oren Munk, Doug Ohlson, Marjorie Strider, Joan Thorne, Thornton Willis)

Leubsdorf Gallery, Hunter College, NYC, “News, Surprises, Nostalgia”(other artists in show: Alice Aycock, Frances Barth, Arlene Bayer, Howard Buchwald, Jean Fineberg, Mike Glier, Anit a Janoff - Katjanelson, Mel Kendrick, Scott Pfaffman, Alan Sonfist, Carolee Thea, Joan Thorne, Clover Vail, Barbara Zucker)

Blondies Contemporary Art, NYC

1994

Andre Zarre Gallery, NYC, “Thru Thick and Thin” ( other artists in show incl. S.Delaunay, Hazlitt, Ohlson, Lanyon, Pereira, Strider, Xceron Hazlitt, Ohlson, Lanyon, Pereira, Strider, Xceron)

Blondies Contemporary Art, NYC

55 Mercer Gallery, New York City,“Friends”

1993

Paolo Baldacci Gallery, NYC

Art Initiatives at NY Law Scho ol Gallery, NYC,“Visual Evidence”

The Painting Center, NYC,“The Preview Show“

1991

The Right Bank Gallery, Williamsburg, Brooklyn;

Brand Name Damages Gallery, Williamsburg, Brooklyn

1989

Ledis Flam Gallery, NYC,“Paintings I Like” (five artists, incl. Amy Sillman, Peter Acheson)

1988

Triangle Artists Workshop, Pine Plains, New York

1987

Kouros Gallery, NYC, “Knowing What I Like”; curator, John Bernard Myers

1985

Peder Bonnier, Inc., NYC

Northside Arts and Industries, Williamsburg, Brooklyn

1984

Peder Bonnier, Inc., NYC

1983

Painting Space 122, NYC,“Jump — Four Painters”

1982

“New New York”, Phoenix Museum of Modern Art, Coral Gables Metropolitan Museum, Florida State University Art Gallery; curator, Albert Stewart (other artists incl. Amenoff, Basquiat, Fischl, Kendrick, Sherman)

1981

Neill Gallery, NYC,“Cloudworks”; curator, Peter Frank

Ericson Gallery, NYC

626 Space, NYC (performance)

1980

Hunter Gallery, Hunter College, NYC, “Frames”, curator, Dorothy Zeidman

“Small Works”, Wash. Sq. East Galleries, NYU, NYC, curator, Patterson Sims, Whitney Mus.

626 Space, NYC (performance)

Artists Space, NYC (performance)

1976

Boston Visual Artists Union Gallery, Bost on,“Documents,” Harbor Gallery, Boston

1975

Harbor Gallery, Boston 1974 Nashua (New Hampshire) Arts and Sciences Center

http://www.nysun.com/arts/color - and - line/88946/ (review of Andre Zarre exhibition)

http:/ /www.newcriterion.com/posts.cfm/Critic - s - Notebook - for - November - 24 -- 2014 - 7641 (Zarre ex.)

http://www.newcriterion.com/articles.cfm/Gallery - chronicle - 7642 (review of 2013 S ideshow ex.)

http://www.newcriterion.com/articles.cfm/Gallery - chronicle - 7282

http://www.supremefiction.com/theidea/2012/01/gallery - chronicle - february - 2012.html

http://www.pirihalasz.com/blog.htm?post=834515

What Only Paint Can Do, curated by Karen Wilkin

James Panero, "Appreciation: artist Dana Gordon", blog Supreme Fiction, 1/18/2012, linked in blogs PaintersTable, Art Matters

http://www.supremefiction.com/theidea/2012/01/appreciation - artist - dana - gordon.html

Grace Glueck, “Dana Gordon at Andre Zarre”, New York Times, 11/14 & 11/21/97

New York Magazine - Oct 1996 - Edith Newhall: Dana Gordon — Recent abstract pa intings; 10/8 1 1/9. Anthology Courthouse Gallery, 32 Second Ave

 “Watchlist”, Der Standard, Vienna, Austria, 9/29/95

 “Besuch im Kunstlerhimmel”, K. Hofmann - Sewera, Kleine Zeitung , Graz, Austria, 9/19/95

Hilton Kramer,“In with the Out Crowd”, interview, Artforum, March, 1995

Helen Harrison,“Strong Individual Messages”, on Adelphi solo exhibition, NY Times, 11/27/94

The New Yorker, recommended viewing, solo exhibitions 1988, 1993 Ne w York Magazine - Oct 1993, Edith Newhall: "Dana Gordon — Thick - surfaced, gestural abstract paintings; through 10/23." The Painting Center, 52 Greene St.

NY Magazine, June 1988, Edith Newhall: "Large Scale abstract painti ngs with broad gestural field s of color, and mysterious allusions"; Ruggiero Henis Gallery, 415 West Broadway

Stephen Paul Miller,“Dana Gordon at Ruggiero - Henis”, COVER, 1982

S. Gill,“Knowing What I Like”, Artnews, Summer, 1987

John Russell,“Knowing What I Like”, NY Times, 2/13/87

Ste phen Paul Miller,“Dana Gordon at Ericson”, NY Journal of the Arts, September, 1982

Shelley Rice,“Frames”, Artforum, Summer, 1980

1990 & 1993

Edward Albee Foundation Fellowships

1992

Millay Colony for the Arts

1988

Triangle Artists Workshop

1986

Pollock Krasner Foundation Grant

1978

Wisconsin Arts Board Fellowship NEA US - UK Bicentennial Exchange Grant, alternate

1977

Faculty Research Grants, University of Wisconsin

1975

Faculty Research Grants, Univ. of Massachusetts

Works by Dana Gordon

Order by

2014

122 x 162.6 cm

8200,00 €

2014

152.4 x 198.2 cm

12000,00 €

2011

152.4 x 182.9 cm

10300,00 €

2010

182.9 x 152.4 cm

10300,00 €

2011

152.4 x 198.2 cm

10300,00 €

2011

152.4 x 198.2 cm

10300,00 €

2014

122 x 152.4 cm

7400,00 €

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