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Dana James

American, b. 1986
On Drifting Apart, 2019, Encaustic, oil, and pigment on canvas, 48 x 52 inches (diptych)
On Drifting Apart, 2019, Encaustic, oil, and pigment on canvas, 48 x 52 inches (diptych)

Dana James' moonlit paintings are akin to a nightlight discovering its way through caliginous explosions and fractured, multi-panel constructions.

Dana James' moonlit paintings are akin to a nightlight discovering its way through caliginous explosions and fractured, multi-panel constructions. Energetic bursts of color grow up from the ground, evoking windblown nature, roaring oceans or the stillness of a manmade swimming pool. The shifting light of iridescent paint, a material quintessential to James' work, resembles the transient flashes of color experienced upon falling asleep, or a sweeping landscape briefly illuminated by the headlights of a moving car. 

Dana James' moonlit paintings are akin to a nightlight discovering its way through caliginous explosions and fractured, multi-panel constructions. Energetic bursts of color grow up from the ground, evoking windblown nature, roaring oceans or the stillness of a manmade swimming pool. The shifting light of iridescent paint, a material quintessential to James' work, resembles the transient flashes of color experienced upon falling asleep, or a sweeping landscape briefly illuminated by the headlights of a moving car. 

 

Through the assemblage of both new and recycled pieces of canvas, each painting wears its own process-based history. Used, dirty canvas is bifurcated by bright, garish color creating a surface that speaks to the evolution of time and temporality. The contradictory nature of James' paint handling calls our visual memory, and the way in which it serves us, into question. James deliberately places contrasting materials and processes next to one another through the act of pouring paint, creating multi-dimensional layers of wax, throwing loose pigment, and mark making. The pieces are then constructed into asymmetrical panels, breaking out of traditional square and rectangular painting modules, and initiating an active dissonance and harmony. At once dark and feminine, James' paintings are dreamily immersive in warm and colorful beauty, but we are actively looking over our shoulder for dark detonations. 

 

James states "My paintings act as panorama of linear time; they serve as a reminder that we are small and predictable creatures, incessantly creating and shedding beautiful accounts of the earth and its elements. Upon completion, they are visual diaries that speak to contradiction, a latency caromed by intermittent activity."

 

Dana James (b. 1986) is a painter and New York native now residing in Bushwick, Brooklyn. She graduated from the School of Visual Arts in 2008. Her work has been the subject of solo presentations at the Lodge Gallery (New York), Urban Gallery (Philadelphia) and Union Gallery (New York) among several others. She has been featured in numerous group exhibitions including Breaking the Frame, Hollis Taggart Contemporary, The Thread, a two person show with Lizbeth Mitty, M. David & Co. Brooklyn, NY, and Silence is Accurate, Capetown South Africa. Her work has been presented in exhibition spaces and art fairs across the U.S and can be found in private and public collections including the ISLIP Museum of Art and SIA in Cape Town, South Africa. James has been featured in publications such as Hyperallergic, Artforum and Art Critical.  

News

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John Knuth, East Side, 2017. Photo: Ian Byers-Gamber. Courtesy of the artist and Hollis Taggart.

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