March 31 – April 21, 1984
In his first one-person show in New York, Dutch artist René Daniëls exhibits a group of paintings, many of which were completed during a recent six-month stay in New York. In this series of paintings, Daniëls continues his use of recurrent material from previous paintings in combination with past and current New York impressions and experiences. A painting of the Brooklyn Bridge joined with the Arc de Triomphe is a version of a painting done in 1979 after an earlier visit to New York; the World Trade Towers silhouetted against vertical brushstrokes first appeared as Two I's Fighting Over a Dot in 1982. Other paintings depict flashes of light in a rock club and portraits of an artist as magician and observer of the scene.
"René Daniëls' paintings are greatly varied in form and content, but they are explicit in meaning. They suggest more than they reveal; they communicate in indirect speech. This indicates that they are not so much oriented towards a specific problem of form or a specific theme, but rather that they seek to evoke an atmosphere to which form and content are subservient. That is why the paintings are sometimes so different and at the same time have a certain unity... they are unpredictable and indeed often influenced by chance associations. The unity in the work of René Daniëls is of a different order; it derives from a number of recurring ingredients which seek to arrive at their own specific forms and visual qualities in ever different constellations. Those ingredients have to do with his basic attitude, with the way he works and with certain highly developed affinities. In his working method more and more emphasis comes to lie on the automatism of the action from which the painting originates — that automatism draws on a memoire involontaire (backed by the innumerable sketches and notes) and immediately reminds one of the ecriture automatique of surrealism. This kind of sign system brings with it a sense of the poetic use of metaphor, of absurd humor and critical reflexion, or the special use that is made of titles and untranslatable puns, which sometimes adds a literary significance to the image and makes meaning jump back and forth." Jan Debbaut, Dutch Art & Architecture Today, May 1983
René Daniëls has exhibited extensively in Holland with one-person exhibitions at Helen van der Meij Gallery (regularly from 1978) in Amsterdam and the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, Holland. His work has been included in major international exhibitions such as Westkunst in Cologne, Documenta 7, Zeitgeist in Berlin, 60-80 at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the 1980 Paris Biennale and the 1983 Sao Paulo Biennale.
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