Dan Colen

Dan Colen
Untitled (Vete al Diablo), 2006
Wood, wire, polyurethane, papier mâché, gesso, oil paint
182.9 x 121.9 cm base 30.5 cm

Drawing from mass media, environmental experience and sub-cultural language, Dan Colen’s work infuses a sense of magic in the under valued and ordinary. In Untitled (Vete Al Diablo), a graffitied boulder is fictionally transplanted from suburban wasteland. Towering as a henge-like monument, it immediately conjures images of teenage ritual, exuding a reliquary aura as degenerate totem. It is in fact made from papier mâché expertly faux finished to look like the real thing. Colen creates a duplicity in the sculpture’s rough hewn appearance, elevating the overlooked and forsaken to a contemplative object of inspiring craftsmanship.

Dan Colen
Secrets and Cymbals, Smoke and Scissors (My Friend Dash's Wall in the Future), 2004
Styrofoam, oil paint, paper, metal
269 x 287 x 15 cm

Dan Colen’s Secrets and Cymbals, Smoke and Scissors (My Friend Dash's Wall in the Future) is a life scale recreation of the interior of his friend’s apartment. Reconstructed from snapshot photos, every element has been meticulously crafted and exactly placed. Using the deceptive qualities of trompe l’oiel, each newspaper clipping, flyer, sticker, photograph, and hand-scrawled note has been deceptively rendered in paint. In duplicating this plebeian scene Colen imbues the collected ephemera of a person’s existence with a heightened drama, creating both an exacted portrait and amonument of wonder.

Dan Colen
Untitled, 2007
Oil on canvas 19 parts
Dimensions variable

Dan Colen
Life Marijuana, 2006
Mixed media installation comprised of 1 digital print and 4 unique framed Lambda prints (accompanied by CD with digital file of print)
320 x 250 cm Unique Lambda prints 38 x 38 cm each

Dan Colen
Rama Lama Ding Dong, 2006
enamel, and moulding paste on wood
134.6 x 101.6cm

Dan Colen’s text paintings, such as Rama Lama Ding Dong, are a practical response to his time consuming realist work. Quickly scrawled in spray paint over plywood boards which are built up with sanded layers of moulding base and acrylic, they retain a tension between immediacy of expression and perfection of surface. Spelling out song lyrics, random thoughts, or absurd slogans Colen’s texts create a form of urban poetry, conjuring effete images through word association and bereft aesthetics. Often times Colen hand-renders these works, creating the effect of aerosol through painstaking brush technique.

Dan Colen
Untitled (going, going, go…,), 2005
Oil on canvas
96.5 x 96.5 cm

In Untitled (going, going, go…) Dan Colen presents a traditional still-life. His composition apprises worldly indulgence and inevitable mortality, including all the accoutrements of 17th century memento mori: wine cask, pen and ink, extinguished candle. Drawing comparison to Ed Ruscha’s semiotic pop paintings, Colen’s canvas is rendered with the cool precision of graphic illustration, rendering the romantic scene in contemporary language. The word ‘going’ is subliminally repeated in the lingering trails of smoke, underscoring the painting’s message with pop logotype.

Dan Colen
No Sex No War No Me, 2006
enamel, and molding paste on wood board
144.8 x 101.6 cm

Dan Colen
The Awesome Power of Nature, 2006
marker on canvas
61 x 48.3 cm

Found in a thrift shop, Dan Colen’s The Awesome Power of Nature is an appropriated painting. Framed backside out, Colen conceals the image and instead exhibits the stretcher, raw canvas, and hanging wire: a blank field of projection upon which the previous owner has written a profound response to the unseen painting. Bringing into question concepts of authorship, authenticity, and creative potential, Colen’s ‘misused’ canvas distils a rarefied elegance from the banal and discarded.


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