Dan Colen

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Dan Colen

Born 1979 New Jersey.
Lives and works in New York

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. Dan Colen works in painting and sculpture. One of his best known sculptures (not on show) Untitled (Vete Al Diablo), consists of a graffitied boulder that has been fictionally transplanted from a suburban wasteland. It is in fact made from papier- maché expertly crafted to look like the real thing. Dan Colen creates an ambiguity in the sculpture’s rough hewn appearance, elevating the overlooked and forsaken to a contemplative highly crafted object.

His paintings are often 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, Dan Colen’s texts create a form of urban poetry, conjuring up images through word association and impoverished aesthetics. Realism is central to Dan Colen’s practice, sometimes he creates the effect of aerosol spray through painstaking brush technique.

He blurs the boundaries between high and low culture, elevating an intrinsic value from the disenfranchised. In the painting Untitled (Blow Me) displayed in Unholy Truths, Dan Colen employs an almost Disney like technique to spell out a profane but wistful message emanating from within a still life.