DAN MCLAUGHLIN: ODE TO JOY

4 JUNE - 20 AUGUST 2020

The artistic practice Dan McLaughlin (b. 1962 in Marlborough) has developed throughout his career is grounded by spontaneity and instinct, with colour and rhythm shaping the essence of every work. ‘Ode to Joy: Works on paper’ show reveals the artist’s longstanding experiments with watercolour and mixed media on paper, a process the artist himself describes as improvised, almost automatic. The works on display are from Dan McLaughlin’s recent body of work that spans from the beginning of 2019 to present, and is reflective of recurring motifs in his art: the imaginary landscape, juxtaposition of object and subject, the movement between fluidity and form. Despite the quest for the intangible, a sense of narrative structure is equally present, providing fecund land for fact-value debates.

Although Dan McLaughlin's depictions of subject matter are subtle, often mysterious and not immediately recognisable, with closer look they form particular images and uncover hidden narratives, conveying a revelation-like self-disclosure and expressing mystical insights with utmost clarity and enhanced immersion. Occasionally, they would capture familiar scenes, characters and landscapes, such as artist's friends, closed ones, Newton streets and gardens he walks by, natural vistas that bring to life memories from the past, while at other times manifest artist encountering the subconscious, offering him means to extend his perception of the world. “I use drawing and painting to learn how to give up control and recognise what Spinoza offered as one of the definitions to being human - to synthesise, in both Thought and Extension,”- he says.  Dan McLaughlin's work establishes itself confidently and organically within the realm of art history, as he openly recognises to be influenced by Beuys in the totality of his thinking, Terry Winters from the mid 80’s, Marcel Broodthaers’, Klimt, ter Borch and Velasquez. Through time, he developed his personal recognisable artistic language relying on expressive brushwork, pure jewel-like colors and strong, current-like internal rhythms in compositional structure.

by Varia Serova, Curator and Editor-in-Chief

The exhibition is accompanied by the publication of the artist’s recent article ‘Joseph Beuys: or Dissolution into Brand’, 2020. A definitive catalogue relating to the show is available.

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