Westwood Gallery, NYC is pleased to present a preview exhibition of New York based artist David Datuna’s mixed media wall sculptures. Datuna explores the meaning and sources of complex cultural identity and conveys his conceptual iconography based on symbols, flags and logos. Datuna’s artwork is a political, cultural and commercial commentary on our current collective consciousness. Lying beneath the undulating surface of interwoven eyewear fused together to create a prismatic surface metaphoric of a collective perspective is a defragmented foundation layer of collaged images and text harvested from political, cultural and social publications. Datuna’s objects stand in witness to the history and the current powerful status of the celebrated emblems captured, distilled and subsequently reflected back to us for personal re-examination. His artwork pays tribute both to Jasper Johns’ series of American flags and to the post-dada exploitation of the found object and collage tradition, but in fact it imbues timeless images with new meanings by anchoring them playfully both in the present and in their rich history.
Datuna plays on the significance of personal eyeglasses as a unique point of view, assembling lenses of varying magnifications to illuminate the underlying images. The glasses are a symbolic expression of identity, illusion, perception, fragmentation and unification. From a distance the flag can be seen as a kaleidoscopic image that unifies the whole as a patriotic symbol; on closer inspection the viewer can discern collaged newspapers with headlines of political and social culture, as well as pop culture images of celebrities. The flags of countries created by Datuna also convey a nationalistic identity to the viewer. The collages incorporate Presidential images, historical references and cultural influence. On exhibit are the American flag in red, white and blue, and an unconventional black and white flag. Without the familiar colors the symbolic image carries an idiosyncratic reference. Datuna’s largest flag to date, the Russian flag, measuring over 70×100 inches, was purchased by former President and current Prime Minister of Russia, Vladimir Putin. The flags of leading countries will be created by Datuna for a G-20 inspired exhibition in 2011.
Another series on view, fashion logos, represent luxury brands, such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Versace, and are an exclusive metaphor in the world of couture. Datuna embodies the logos with iconic underlying images epitomizing the history of the brand. Whether based on an individual designer such as Coco Chanel, the philosophy of constructive quality from LVMH or the family legacy of Versace, each cultivates the pedigree of the brand.
David Datuna’s artwork is in numerous corporate and private collections in the US and internationally. His performance “Chaotic Past” presented during the Los Angeles Art Show, January 2011, can be viewed on youtube.com. The art installation is a fervent expression of stacked dishwashers with dishes spilling out onto the floor. Although the assemblage appears chaotic, it is a commentary on urban archeology. A similar installation by David Datuna was recently purchased by MOMA Moscow.