Dan McCarthy — Paintings & Drawings
Paintings & Drawings
Past: March 17 → May 5, 2012
For his second solo show at Galerie Suzanne Tarasiève, Dan McCarthy is presenting a new set of paintings and drawings.
The representation of the human figure constitutes the centre of McCarthyʼs pictorial universe. The men and women he puts before us are stylised, set against an abstract background with a rainbow across it. Neither the representation of the figures nor the title of the works tell us anything about their origins or identity. These are emblematic figures with no clear ethnic origin.
McCarthyʼs figures are surrounded by a free space, echoing the liberty experienced by the artist during his childhood in southern California when he stood before the immensity of the Pacific Ocean.
“We lived four miles from the beach. As soon I was able to I started going there alone. Before you even reached the sea, you could feel the salty air, like a magnetic field drawing the compass needle in the right direction. You get an extraordinary sensation of space and light when youʼre on the edge of the Pacific, as if youʼre at the end of the world, with that mass of salt water crashing onto the sand, an unknown, dangerous and unpredictable force.”
Behind his images of fish and surfboards are memories of Hawaii and Huntington Beach.
The artistʼs technique is close to drawing, with an emphasis on spontaneity. Often, he draws in pencil directly onto the canvas. He copies portions of anatomy, trying to find the right balance between the exactitude of the drawing and an expressive approximation. He paints quickly using water-soluble acrylic paint which he dabs as he goes along.
His personal artistic pantheon includes Vélasquez, Goya, Munch, Manet, Hokusai, Hiroshige, Van Gogh, Ingres, Monet, El Greco and Pablo Picasso. Like Munchʼs paintings, many of McCarthyʼs works feature a black shadow haunting the scene like a ghost.
The exhibition at Galerie Suzanne Tarasiève marks a new development in his painting. McCarthy is still using the same codes, figures and atmospheres, but where the figures in previous paintings evince a sombre mood or are surrounded by darkness, the ones in these new works are radiant: the colours produce an enchanted halo of light, and the rainbow suggests a reaching for happiness.
Born in Honolulu in 1962, Dan McCarthy spent his childhood near and on Huntington Beach in Southern California. He enrolled at the San Francisco Art Institute in 1982. Since 1989 he has been living and working in New York.
His work has been exhibited regularly in Europe and the United States, notably at the Drawing Center, New York, and Klaus Engelhorn Contemporary Art in Vienna. His works are held in many private and public collections in France and internationally (MOMA PS1, New York, Musée dʼArt Moderne de la Ville de Paris, etc.).
Opening Saturday, March 17, 2012 6 PM → 9 PM