“At the heart of what I do is photographic transformation,” explains artist Daniel Gordon. “What happens when you put this color with that color? How does the camera capture depth?” A visit to his Brooklyn studio, filled with paper sculptures and scraps, reveals just some of the tricks up his sleeve. “It’s circular,” Gordon reflects of his unique process, which entails sourcing images online; using them to form paper objects; arranging those to create elaborate still lives or portraits; and then photographing, printing, and manipulating those tableaux again and again. “I am not trying to re-create the real. I’m interested in formal challenges.” For his upcoming show at New York’s Yossi Milo Gallery, Gordon further honed his technique to create monochromatic works in red, green, or blue. He’ll display them against wall murals, alongside Ettore Sottsass furnishings. “I’m a child of the ’80s,” Gordon notes. “Memphis is in my DNA.”
Daniel Gordon’s striking photographic still lifes are made up of multiple layers of colors, forms, and shapes. The objects in his compositions – vases, flowers, fruits, shells – are surrounded by bright backgrounds and multiple shadows, like doubles or ghosts. With their vivid colors and disorienting cut-outs and sculptural objects, his photographs create an alternate reality...
The New York artist enters his blue period. Gordon is best known for piling on colors and patterns in still-life photographs that begin with image searches online and result in paper sculptures of fruit, flowers, vases, and shadows trompe-loeil tableaux, which he shoots with a large-format camera. He also makes digital works based on the analog images, trading scissors and glue for cut-and-paste. The two photographs and three computer-based prints in this show are restricted to blue, although red and yellow sneak in, as grace notes of purple and green. The five pieces hang on four walls, which are wallpapered with enlarged details of the digital files. Its a picture of a picture of a picture that is also a room. Gordons palette sparks thoughts of cyanotype, an early photographic process also used for architectural blueprints. William Gass wrote that blue is most suitable as the color of interior life ”a good epigram for Gordon, as he juggles deep thoughts on photography and considerable visual pleasures.
The most engrossing piece in this first section is Daniel Gordon's "Clementines" (2011), a tabletop still life with a charismatically funky sense of space. Gordon fills a crumpled paper basket with the fruit of his hands, scissors and internet searches. He sets these little orbs with patchwork photographic skins against a background that poses multiple-choice options for defining place. This glorious ode to the unsettled nature of two-dimensional representation is what Cezanne might have made, had he used Photoshop.
DANIEL GORDON: NEW CANVAS at James Fuentes (through Feb. 26).
Mr. Gordon constructs elaborate still lifes out of paper, photographing them and printing them out at blown-up sizes. They have a tropical redundancy, featuring pieces of fruit with Cézannesque fractures. Mr. Gordon then edits these images on the computer, making spare abstractions from the outtakes. Completely digital, these are printed on canvas and resemble painted collages of the Motherwellian kind. Here, in his first show at the James Fuentes gallery, real and unreal play tag, and both win. (Smith)
Set in his Brooklyn workspace, the film follows photographer D aniel Gordon as he reflects on the pleasures and perils of a decade-long commitment to an intensive studio-based practice. With artist (and wife) Ruby Sky Stiler working next door, Gordon guides us through the process of creating several of his signature "constructed tableau" works—exuberantly colorful photographs of baroque tabletop still lifes that the artist meticulously crafts himself.
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What's the art of balancing work and family?
From their home in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn, married artists Daniel Gordon and Ruby Sky Stiler candidly discuss the complex professional and personal dynamics of bringing a baby into their already busy lives. Gordon's and Stiler's studios are a study in contrasts. Gordon's studio in DUMBO is overflowing with color and materials, the floor strewn with paper scraps from which he creates elaborate still lifes to photograph. Stiler's studio in Gownaus is more orderly, her work table a puzzle of Styrofoam shards from which she constructs sculptures and casts elegant bas-reliefs referencing antiquity. Gordon and Stiler met in graduate school and, like many hard-working professionals in their thirties, the decision to have a baby was a difficult leap into the unknown. For Stiler, the transition from taking care of baby Gus to working in the studio was trying: feelings of satisfaction at going back to work hit up against feelings of guilt at not being at home with her newborn. For Gordon, life after the baby meant learning how to maximize his studio time within a set 9-to-5 schedule, while home became an unexpected release from the burdens of art. "Now having Gus, it's such a pleasure and a relief to have some other thing that's very important that pulls you away from all that stuff and pulls you away from your head," says Gordon. "You can't obsess and take care of Gus. You have to obsess about Gus, and then you can obsess about the other stuff." Featuring work by Gordon included in the exhibition "Screen Selections and Still Lifes" (2014) at Wallspace, and work by Stiler included in the exhibition "Circumstance" (2015) at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum.
Meticulously arranged and undeniably gorgeous, the work of this Brooklyn photographer requires an almost perverse amount of preparation. Cutting up hundreds of images from magazines, newspapers, and printouts, he constructs elaborate three-dimensional collages—primarily still lifes or portraits—and photographs them against graphic backdrops, enhancing colors and shadows in postproduction before making a final chromogenic print. (His latest pieces are on view through December 20 at Wallspace gallery in New York.) His time-intensive labors haven't gone unnoticed: Earlier this year he received the prestigious Foam Paul Huf Award for a photographer under the age of 35.
Large, pattern-on-pattern photographs make Matisse look like a minimalist. Each of Gordon's pictures is an elaborate construction involving the classic subjects of still-life (vases, flowers, shells, a skull0 lifted from the Internet and refashioned as wonky sculptural objects. Arranged on stepped-up platforms as if in a shop window and backed with crazy-quilt patchwork of dots, plaids, and squiggles, the entire setup is then photographed and Photoshopped until the distinction between reality and artifice completely dissolves. Gordon also isolates and blows up elements of the backdrops in smaller graphic abstractions, which can't compete with the still-life when it comes to delirious visual pleasure. Through Dec. 20. (Wallspace, 619 W. 27th St. 212-594-9478.)
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Daniel Gordon locates his photographs through a triangulation of painting, collage, and cutout. His C-prints compose still-life fare in complex tableaux, which he lights in-studio and captures on large-format film. Sourced from the Internet and cut freehand from printer paper, each element is inserted in a topography that makes little effort to disguise its seams. Plants sport skeins of hot glue; vases build up from clipped geometries; and apples resemble disused origami. Paper figures as a material at once volumetric and planar, drawn into space through facets and folds or collapsed into flatness by an abruptly scissored edge.
In a new group of large-scale still lifes that may be his best works yet, the photographer-sculptor Daniel Gordon hops back and forth across the analog/digital divide with a combination of playful insouciance and dogged determination...
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Horticultural Society of New York
With these elaborately collaged still-lifes of material sourced from the Internet and reconstructed in 3-D, the Brooklyn-based photographer continues to make some of the most dazzling and disorienting pictures around. Except for two multilayered silhouette portraits of young women, Gordon's subjects are vividly colored tabletop arrangements of flowers, fruit, ceramic vases, and a stray lobster or zucchini on patterned backdrops in the Matisse mode. The confusion between the real and the constructed is almost impossible to resolve; examined closely, the most straightforward elements are revealed as clever fictions, both shrewd and entertaining. Through Feb. 7.
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A disembodied hand. A peach pit. A blue eye. A lily. These are some of the images Daniel Gordon found, printed, cut out, stuck together, rephotographed and otherwise appropriated to make the images in Still Lifes, Portrait and Parts. Eva Respini likens his process to a kind of analog photoshop in her accompanying essay. He takes the most classical of artistic forms and reinvents them. What comes through to the viewer is Gordons gleefully vivid palette and the tactile pleasure of his constructed portraits and still life images.
What if the Internet had a body? In his DUMBO studio, artist Daniel Gordon photographs paper collages constructed from found images downloaded from the Web. I like to think about what Im doing as an optimistic version of appropriation, says Gordon, who wonders if he can transport digital images into real life by giving them a physical form. The artists paper tableaus, rich in vibrant colors and vivid patterns, are transformed in the process of making a picture with large format cameras. Its a fiction and a truth at the same time, says Gordon, whose early Flying Pictures series (2001-2004) created whimsical illusions of the artist in mid-flight. The film reveals the behind-the-scenes process of two of Gordons recent works a silhouette of Ruby Sky Stiler (the artists wife) and the still life Blue Watermelon and Shell (2013)” from photographing in the studio to the final printing process with Anthony Accardi at Green Rhino in Williamsburg. Also featuring the works Toe Transplant (2006), Blue Face (2010), July 15, 2009 (2009), Portrait in Orange and Blue (2010), Crescent Eyed Portrait (2012), Portrait in Yellow Orange and Blue (2012), Tropical Still Life (2012), Portrait with Blue Hair (2013), Still Life with Lobster (2012), and Still Life with Fish and Forsythia (2013).
Daniel Gordon (b. 1980, Boston, MA; raised in San Francisco, California, USA) lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
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What if the Internet had a body? In his DUMBO studio, artist Daniel Gordon photographs paper collages constructed from found images downloaded from the Web. "I like to think about what I'm doing as an optimistic version of appropriation," says Gordon, who wonders if he can transport digital images into real life by giving them a physical form. The artist's paper tableaus, rich in vibrant colors and vivid patterns, are transformed in the process of making a picture with large format cameras. "It's a fiction and a truth at the same time," says Gordon, whose early "Flying Pictures" series (2001–2004) created whimsical illusions of the artist in mid-flight. The film reveals the behind-the-scenes process of two of Gordon's recent works—a silhouette of Ruby Sky Stiler (the artistâ's wife) and the still life "Blue Watermelon and Shell" (2013)—from photographing in the studio to the final printing process with Anthony Accardi at Green Rhino in Williamsburg. Also featuring the works "Toe Transplant" (2006), "Blue Face" (2010), "July 15, 2009" (2009), "Portrait in Orange and Blue" (2010), "Crescent Eyed Portrait" (2012), "Portrait in Yellow Orange and Blue" (2012), "Tropical Still Life" (2012), "Portrait with Blue Hair" (2013), "Still Life with Lobster" (2012), and "Still Life with Fish and Forsythia" (2013).
...Daniel Gordon's work has a gestural quality. It's not a Post-Modernism sensibility nor does it offer-up a deliberately impoverished reference to the original source inspiration. His is in many ways a painterly eye which finds photographic equivalences for the brush stroke, the density of paint, the inflection of light to depict the natural world and the human form...
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Featuring Mikey DeTemple, Richard Kenvin, Ann Pibal, Michael Scott Moore, Danny Gordon, Mara Hoffman, Garth Weiser, Drew Heitzler, Rob Kulisek, Mark Mahaney, and more!
The 32-year-old artist makes photo sculptures pictures of assemblages from magazine cutouts and printed images found online that he shapes into crude figures, portrait busts, and still lifes that call to mind the more lurid works of Cindy Sherman and Hannah Hoch.
...Gordon has called his studio a "physical manifestation of the Web." He embraces a slightly rough esthetic, saying that he is interested in "showing my hand and letting people see the imperfection." In Portrait in Red, Blue and Green (2011), cut-out profiles cast silhouettes on surfaces behind them, making the third dimension of his setup explicit. Some of the images he cuts and tears apart are naturalistic, others have a glossy sheen and vibrant colors that create an illusion of slick digital effects, yet the overall quality of the construction announces, "Someone made this."...
...In fact, Gordon's deliberately gauche images look like the antithesis of Crewdson and diCorcia's polished work - but they also probe the boundaries between fact and fiction, questioning the veracity of photography and the nature of it's link with reality...
Im inspired by cooking and food, Matisse, and being in the ocean, among other things, the artist Daniel Gordon says. Gordons photo collages, or, more accurately, pictures of sculptures made of photo collages, can look like layered casseroles of art historical references and finely diced printed matter. I begin with an idea of something Id like to make, search for images online, print them, and then construct a three dimensional tableau that is then lit and photographed with a large format camera, he explains. Improvisation is central to his constructions, which combine newly found images with the scraps of old, previously used pictures, and often feature grotesque, cartoonish anatomies.
Gordon was included in MOMAs seminal New Photography show in 2009, and his recent Still Lifes, Portraits, and Parts series is on view this month at Wallspace gallery. Heres a selection.
Gordon constructs assemblages out of magazines and then photographs the results in lurid color. The portrait busts, which dominate his show, are unstable patchworks of facial features, hanks of hair, bits of blue-, red-, and peach-colored skin, and other random body parts that draw upon Romare Bearden, Hannah Hoch, and punk graphics. Still-life tulips and zinnias in crumpled paper vases, lumpy clementines tumbling from a bowl mock tradition without trashing it. Weird beauty and cartoon grotesquerie flip back and forth like a lenticular image, keeping us happily off-kilter. Through Dec. 17.
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The subject of Woman with a Blue Eye (all works cited, 2011) like all the sitters for Daniel Gordons recent portraits is a bust built from photographs. The woman they form is scarred with seams and rifts. One of her eyes is bigger and more brightly blue. Her hair is blonde and thickly pixelated in some spots, softly unfocused and brown in others. A purplish pattern blue particles emerging from a red field like sandpaper grit interrupts the skin in a swath of color from the right temple to the left cheek.
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I can fly. I just can't do it for very long. I began taking photographs of myself in flight about ten years ago, when digital cameras were becoming easily available. Because digital images are so simple to alter on a computer, I wanted instead to manipulate photos the old-fashioned way: light through a lens exposing an image on film. This allowed me to make pictures that were at once documents of the truth and a visual fiction.
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Collage historically has used simultaneous viewing to belie the notion that photography is truthful. Multiple photographs juxtaposed present multiple truths. The Internet, however, has scrambled the way we interpret the stream of images we encounter there.
If I could choose one superpower, it would be flying. My new three-year-old acquaintance Adam, who was wearing Superman pajamas (complete with cape) when I met him the other night, agrees. As he flitted around his apartment, cape flying, he seemed almost to soar. Regrettably, I never had Superman pajamas, but I spent many a summer day dashing to the edge of the swimming hole near my home. When I reached the edge Id jump and close my eyes: for an instant, I was flying. When I asked the photographer Daniel Gordon the superpower question, he promptly replied, Compressing TIFF files into JPEGs with my mind. But Gordon hasn't quit trying to fly just because hes' a grownup. For five years, Gordon roamed the lush countryside of the Hudson Valley, staking out pretty take-off spots. When he found a landscape that caught his fancy, he would return with a large-format camera and tripod, leap into the air and with the help of an assistant capture his ephemeral flight on film. The most triumphant of these images comprise his book Flying Pictures.
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Wonder and innocence motivated the recent Yale School of Art graduate and photographer Daniel Gordon to create Flying Pictures. Armed with nothing but courage, his camera, and long underwear, he spent 2001 to 2004 in New York's Hudson Valley and Northern California's Bay Area in front of his tripod shooting his leaps into the air in 125ths of a second.
Gordon's fusion of landscape photography and performance art awakens nascent superhero fantasies that have long been crushed by the constraints of reality. And he does it all without the help of Photoshop. "When I started making these pictures, Photoshop was really blossoming in the photo community," he recalls. "I was interested in pursuing a project that would showcase traditional methods of manipulation with straight photography. I can fly, just not very well."
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The young artist, whose pictures of collaged constructions are in MOMA's New Photography," shows earlier work here, some of which was made while he was still an undergraduate at Bard. The pictures are modest in scale and most appear, at first glance, to be rural landscapes: lush green fields, hills covered with wildflowers, a grassy lot patched with snow. But each also depicts a figure suspended in midair—it's Gordon himself, attempting to fly like Superman. Shirtless and in long johns, the artist is a diver prepared for a belly flop, but for this frozen moment he's in a state of ecstatic abandon, and we're right there with him. In a few particularly lovely pictures, Gordon is no more than a tiny speck on the distant horizon, no bigger than a fly. Through Nov. 14. [Koenig Projekte, 541 W. 23rd St. 212-334-9255.]
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...For other artists photography is the final stage of a process that might be called sculpture or collage in a different context. Before he pulls out the camera, Daniel Gordon makes crude figurative sculptures from cut paper and Internet printouts. The body (often a female nude) slips back and forth between two and three dimensions. Mr. Gordon has a gift for cruel-comic exaggeration that's reminiscent of Cindy Sherman and the Dada photomontage artists John Heartfield and Hannah Höch...
Talia Chetrit: Where does the imagery in your collage work come from? Are they based on moments from your life or are they fictional? And would you consider these to be tableaus or do the images build a narrative?
Daniel Gordon: I make my pictures alone in my studio, but I view my work as a peculiar collaboration between myself, and what I've chosen as my material: Images found on the Internet that I print and construct into a 3-dimensional tableau, that is ultimately photographed. This process presents limitations as well as unexpected direction and it is in this way that I don't anticipate a pictures meaning or formal qualities before I begin to make it. Instead, I let the criteria of the process guide the subject matter, discovering what the work is about as it comes to life. So I guess I'd say that even if the imagery I'm attempting to depict is taken directly from my life experience, the process of making allows for a kind of improvisation that often takes the construction to a fictional place. As far as a narrative is concerned, I'm more interested in creating a mood or playing with a particular theme than I am in creating a story. I've been thinking a lot lately about how meaning can be made not only in each particular image, but in the space between them—I think that's where the strongest indication of a narrative is in my work...
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...For me though, it's the things that give away the illusion that complicate things, and make the pictures more interesting. Recently I've been pushing my pictures more and more in the direction of revealing as opposed to concealing. So when I talk about magic, I'm really just talking about how amazed I am at what the camera can do. When I think about illusion on the other hand, that seems to be more about the artists hand...
Excerpt from interview with Brad Phillips
EG: I think that your photos articulate a very contemporary, very ambivalent grasping for bodily experience. Most people in this country aren't in danger of violent attack, nor do they use their bodies in a way that increases their awareness of them. You can watch Saddam being hung on YouTube or see photos of killing in Darfur, yet we have no way to square these images with our own lives. In your work there is a recurrence of deformed, battered or otherwise pieced together figures. These models are disturbingly corporeal, even as they remain clear constructions. All their angst resides literally on the surface. Can you talk about your use of the figure in relation to your photographic process?
DG: I think the body has always been a present subject in art making. Using the human form is universally a way to relate to people, and its possibilities are endlessly engaging. I try to use the body as a tool to create an environment where one might identify, feel disgust, anger, empathy etc., and be aware of their own physicality. Instead of setting intentions, I've tried recently to discover the literary form, or it's "meaning", as I go along. Of course, being a member of the world I am influenced by media and images like anybody else, but I'm not trying to make overt political or social references. Basically, my work is intuitive.
Daniel Gordon's large color photographs, the subject of a solo exhibition at Zach Feuer Gallery in Chelsea, have several things going for them. They operate in the gap between collage and set-up photography, which is a lively place to be at the moment. They benefit from an impressive if not entirely original way with scissors that involves creating figurative tableaus from cut paper and cut-out images that Mr. Gordon then photographs. In addition, he seems motivated by a deeply felt obsession with the human body and the discomforts of having one. Not for nothing is this show titled "Thin Skin II"...
Three aisles below sits Zach Feuer Gallery of Chelsea. There, you'll see Manhattanite Daniel Gordon's labor-intensive concept— he constructs 3-D scenes out of photographs and then reshoots them. Gordon makes small moments (suchas a guy shaving) seem terribly important.