New Criterion magazine
Critic's Notebook, recommended art exhibition of the week of Nov 24, 2014:
“Dana Gordon at Andre Zarre Gallery”
While many artists paint widely, Dana Gordon paints deeply. For over a decade, Gordon has been dedicated to understanding the possibilities of embedding a surrealist-like form within a colorful grid. His kaleidoscopic work recalls stained glass and Orphic Cubism. Following up on a breakout exhibition at Williamsburg's Sideshow Gallery in 2013, Gordon has now landed at Chelsea's Andre Zarre. In one chapel-like room, white sheets of smoke billow up over his grids, just as Gordon's keen painterly touch cuts against the digital sense of the compositions. —JP
The New York Sun's review of the same show
by Ann Saul, Nov 26, 2014:
“Color and Line”
Dana Gordon’s artwork, on view at Andre Zarre Gallery, raises the age-old controversy of color versus line-quality in painting. The argument dates back to the Renaissance when painters in Florence considered design preeminent while Venetians maintained color was of central importance. Gordon’s canvases coax line and color to share importance in a display of exuberant abstraction. Executed with great precision, vivid colors and playful shapes are carefully arranged in Gordon’s thoughtful compositions. In “Endless Painting 1,” 2014, two column-like forms go off the top and bottom edges of a large vertical canvas. Inside these baroque forms are uniformly sized blocks, each square its own pure color, sometimes only subtly distinguished from neighboring colors. Gordon’s columns are wild checkerboards with edges that curve and wave and dip and scoop their way from top to bottom.“Endless Painting 6,” 2014 (aka "Shapely Controversy"), creates a strong contrast between background and foreground. Against thinly painted red, green, and pale pink stripes, a flurry of shapes in dazzling colors seem to fall like oddly formed confetti. Gordon’s shapes are carefully molded in heavy impasto paint with a palette knife, a bas-relief in color that pops off the canvas.
The New Criterion, May 2013
“Gallery Chronicle” by James Panero (art critic and executive editor, the New Criterion)
On “Dana Gordon and John Mendelsohn: New Paintings” at Sideshow Gallery, Brooklyn, “Jane Freilicher: Painter Among Poets” at Tibor de Nagy Gallery, “Fedele Spadafora: New Paintings” at Slag Gallery, Brooklyn, and “John Dubrow: Recent Work” at Lori Bookstein Fine Art.
"Dana Gordon: New Paintings,” Sideshow Gallery, Brooklyn, on April 13-May 12, 2013.
We live in an age that could use a few more heroes. Artists who pursue beauty regardless are heroes of a certain stripe. Freed from the requirements to please others, they create art that must be pleasing only to themselves. Dana Gordon is an abstract painter who has developed along such lines.Gordon’s arrival in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, with a front-room exhibition at Sideshow Gallery, is therefore both a noteworthy event and a long time in coming. The show opens at just the right moment. The paintings, variations on a theme Gordon has been mining for decades, have reached a vein of coloristic brilliance that calls out to be seen. For me, the best painting is the large untitled one* from 2012 at the entry to the back room—like the painting "Some Talmud", five feet wide and six and a half feet tall. Here the balancing act is near perfect. As we look to make sense of its shapes and colors, the painting shimmers between puzzlement and resolution—an Orphic kaleidoscope that demonstrates how Gordon’s long journey was worth the trip and how fortunate we are to see what has come of it.
*(Actually entitled “Balancing Act”)
Huffington Post Arts and Culture:
By D. Dominick Lombardi
“New Paintings at Sideshow Gallery”
Richard Timperio's Sideshow Gallery is one of Williamsburg's cornerstone visual art institutions. As early as 1994, Timperio mounted exhibitions in a coffee shop on Bedford Avenue providing a venue for the otherwise under-recognized local artists. Six years later in 2000 he opened his current space familiar to many by its graffiti covered façade and crowded openings where such luminaries as Jonas Mekas, Larry Poons, TODT and Robert C. Morgan have graced the walls and floors.Sideshow Gallery's current exhibition, Dana Gordon and John Mendelsohn: New Paintings, features the art of two established non-objective artists who operate well within the vagaries of abstraction. Gordon's method is to pit fluid forms against a tight grid of precisely rendered squares. Where the shapes overlap, Gordon changes color to amplify the convergence -- an approach that best plays out in the oil on linen painting Night. Here, the artist employs a quieter, subtler palette that reminds me of the way eyes adjust slowly in dark or dimly lit spaces, while at the same time, conveying an accord between the otherwise unrelatable patterns. Some Talmud, another oil on linen painting, is executed on a very coarsely textured canvas, which in this instance is the best surface to receive the modulations in color the artist's occasionally bristly brush strokes cause.
Appreciation: artist Dana Gordon
by James Panero
Posted at http://www.supremefiction.com/theidea/2012/01/appreciation-artist-dana-gordon.html and PAINTERS-TABLE.COM
Since I began visiting him in his studio a decade ago, 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. Gordon does not take short cuts. He is unconcerned about the commercial viability of his work. He is rather dedicated to the conversation of art—a visual conversation that is articulated through basic colors, shapes, and lines. This approach—informed by painterly intelligence—gets reflected in his paintings as well as in the sensitive essays he has written for several publications on one of his inspirations, Camille Pissarro.
Rather than exhaust a simple language, Gordon has demonstrated how a few basic elements can captivate us with a kaleidoscope of visual interest. His paintings only get more arresting over time. “My recent work," he says, "is such a solid integration of all that has gone before in my work (and in my life experience, and my experience of prior art) and is so full of potential, that I can find plenty of inspiration through it.”
I find plenty of inspiration through it as well. This latest work is stunning. As he traces out a grid that is much denser than in previous work, his shapes take on new shimmering qualities. The work reminds me of stained glass, or perhaps Orphic Cubism. These Orphic investigations into shape and color have led him to create some of the best paintings of his career.
Opening this Thursday, Gordon will also take part in “What Only Paint Can Do,” a group exhibition curated by Karen Wilkin at the Triangle Arts Association in Dumbo. For Gordon, the show's arresting title is a statement of fact. Gordon knows what only painting can do, and it's a delight to see what his paintings do for us.
The Recent Paintings of Dana Gordon
Solo exhibition at Gallery Camino Real, Boca Raton, Florida, .....date...2003
Catalog essay by Hilton Kramer (1928-2012), chief art critic of NYTimes 1965-82; founding editor, New Criterion, 1982-2012; previously editor of Arts magazine and art critic of The Nation
The American painter Dana Gordon belongs to a generation of artists who came of age when the masterworks of modernist abstraction were well-established in the museums, in the academy, and in the art-conscious public's imagination as an integral part of the mainstream legacy of Western art. Modernism had always offered new and ambitious talents a multiplicity of ideas and conventions from which to take flight into some personal realm of pictorial expression. This younger generation of abstractionists now finds itself challenged by contending traditions within the field of modern art.To a thoughtful and energetic embrace of the optimum powers of abstract painting, Dana Gordon brings great distinction in the paintings in this exhibition.We are made to feel 'the whole culture of modern painting' as a kind of pictorial narrative in his work. And a dynamism, an intimacy and a lyric grace, a rare combination of high aesthetic intelligence and worldly experience that gives Dana Gordon's paintings their special distinction.
New York Times
by art critic Grace Glueck
“Dana Gordon, New Paintings, Andre Zarre Gallery,” November 14, 1997
In this exuberant group of abstract canvases, broad, ribbony brushstrokes – some thin, some loaded with paint—make sweeping tracks across the canvas. Their gestural loops and curves contrastingly cradle areas of loose, small pattern that suggest vines and floral effusions. In “Reuben's Dream,” for instance, the interstices of dark blue-green strokes are filled with lively floral intricacies: green vines and yellow flowers that might be squash blossoms... Although the paintings are big, these richly colored areas give a hint of Persian miniatures, as well as paisley shawls. A very lively eyefest.
“In with the Out Crowd,” March, 1995
Interview of art critic Hilton Kramer on whom he would have put in the 1995 Whitney Biennial”:Re the Whitney Biennial,
“I would include the following: Helen Frankenthaler, Paul Georges, Jane Wilson, Hugh O’Donnell, Dana Gordon, Anne Arnold, Dale Chihuly, Julius Hatofsky, Sonia Gechtoff, Timothy Woodman, William Bailey, and Helen Miranda Wilson. They’re all artists of significant quality and accomplishment."
Jonas Mekas's letter
One time that Dana Gordon and the artist/filmmaker/curator Jonas Mekas encountered each other on the street near where they lived in Soho in New York, it prompted an immediate visit to Dana Gordon's studio. Mekas knew Gordon's films but not his painting. After the visit Mekas wrote Gordon this memorable letter,
July 22, 1995
Just to tell you how much I liked your paintings! I still see them. They have a tremendous presence, as paintings — their color, their structure, and the PAINT. THE PAINT! There is energy in the paint, when it’s used well, and you use it well! The two paintings, which you said are from three years ago, stand there with such unique presence, inimitable presence, as some objects of nature, such as huge rocks, or calanques, or mountains. What I saw in your studio, the few pieces of the last few years of work, I find it about the best painting done today. No intellectual, formalistic, “art” baloney. Straight, good, terrific, inspiring painting. What my little visit to your studio did, it restored my faith in art. Yes, there is still art today and there will be always art and there will always be artists — when all “art” fashions will pass away and all “art” journals will be forgotten and even most museums of art will be forgotten. So I thought I should tell you this, and I mean it from the bottom of my heart.
Keep going, and thanks,
"Works from two separate series are part of this show, illustrating two different but related approaches to paint handling and composition. The earlier group of canvases, dating from 1992, uses densely woven strokes to create complex traceries of juicy color. Their imagery refers interlacing forms like latticework and lace, as well as the muscles and sinews of living bodies.The swirling arabesques of “Itself” hark back to the nature-derived vibrance of Jackson Pollock's “Sounds in the Grass” series, using an all-over composition to create a field of radiant energy. The title also suggests that, allusions aside, the work is fundamentally self-referential, a celebration of painting for its own sake.In his series from 1993, Mr. Gordon loosens the skeins of pigment, enlarging the strands into ribbons and ropes. In “Whitman's Idea” the strands are pulled taut across the surface, and in “Knot Not” they imitate the twists of knotted cord without actually intertwining. Multiple layering gives each canvas a rich, almost sculptural texture that disturbs but does not shatter the composition's equilibrium.These are beautiful paintings, filled with the controlled exuberance of a carefully orchestrated spectacle.”
The Painting Center
Dana Gordon was one of the five artists who in the winter of 1992-93 decided to found the Painting Center in New York's Soho district, in response to the urgent need at the time for a space devoted entirely to the exhibition of paintings. Gordon was also president of Soho's famed, long-established artist-run 55 Mercer Gallery around this time. (Both galleries have since moved to Chelsea. 55 Mercer is now called M55 Art.) The four other artists who together with Gordon thought up the Painting Center and got it going are Louisa Waber, David Fratkin, Marilyn Giersbach, and the late, great Carl Plansky.
The Paris Review
The Paris Review published Gordon's 1992 painting "Monk's Repertoire" as the cover illustration of its Winter 1993 issue #129.
“Dana Gordon Paintings 1992”,
Solo exhibition at 55 Mercer Gallery, January 1993, Soho, New York.
Exhibition catalog -- excerpts from one of the three essays in it:
“Remarks on Dana Gordon”
By Valentin Tatransky (1953-2009), art critic and artist who wrote reviews and essays for Arts
magazine and Art International, particularly in 1977-1984 or so, and other magazine and
"...crystalline structure...," Gordon said. When I'm in the studio and listening to Dana Gordon talk about his art, his conversation reminds me of Robert Smithson.... Those of us who follow painting in New York and who take the fine arts seriously, are asking if any significant art is being made outside formalistical circles--and in the end you have to say yes. There are, indeed, surprises. Hockney's pencil drawings come to mind, a Brice Marden here and there, Billy Name's photographs--and then there is Gordon to see and take seriously.
“Knowing What I Like”, a group exhibition at the Kouos Gallery, NY, NY, curated by John Bernard Myers. Gordon's was the only work, out of eleven artists, mentioned in both reviews:
New York Times, Feb 13, 1987
NYTimes's chief art critic John Russell
Review of the group show at the Kouros Gallery in New York
...Dana Gordon is well worth seeking out. In particular the big painting “La Siesta” has a juicy hedonistic swing to it, with its adumbrated palm tree blasting off into a pink and blue empyrean.... another artist of whom it would be good to see more.
Art News, review by S.G.
...According to the catalogue essay, the artists were chosen on the basis of the “personal pleasure” they have afforded the curator, and on “the avoidance of the bane of fashionability that keeps them idiosyncratically themselves.... Dana Gordon's work grows out of the kind of lyrical abstraction exemplified by Helen Frankenthaler. In La Siesta the leaves of a palm tree sprout from a stump of green paint against a glowing field of purple, pink and green.
Gordon's first New York solo show of paintings was at the Ericson Gallery on 73rd Street near the old Whitney Museum.
NY Journal of the Arts, Fall 1982
Stephen Paul Miller
Dana Gordon paints as soothingly as Brice Marden, but loose and multi-colored. Each canvas is cut horizontally into two distinct fields of color. The color schemes themselves are never decorative and each is the natural outcome of the play of the painting's composition. Both halves seem independent, self-supporting havens as well as havens in support of one another. This is work of consoling vibrancy."
(This Ericson Gallery show led to Gordon's inclusion in a 1982 traveling exhibition called “New New York”, curated by Albert Stewart and shown at museums and universities in the US in Tallahassee, Coral Gables and Phoenix. Among other artists in the show were Gregory Amenoff, Jean-Michel Basquiat, David Deutsch, Eric Fischl, Mike Glier, Michael Hurson, Mel Kendrick, Robert Longo, Ann McCoy, Cindy Sherman, Laurie Simmons, Andrew Spence, and Joel Peter Witkin.)