BravinLee programs is pleased to present its third one person exhibition of new paintings by Douglas Florian.
The work in the exhibition was painted over the last five years. They obliquely reference geology, paleontology, anatomy, zoology, and cartography, among other things. The title of the exhibition, Dawn Thieves, refers to Eoraptor, one of the worlds earliest dinosaurs, and Greek for “dawn thief.”
This is his first exhibition of paintings on wood. He has previously been known for his gouaches and collage on paper. Florian is a noted poet and author and has written verse regarding his change to oil on wood.
I work on wood. On grooves and grain. I push it with paint, But the wood don’t complain.
I work on wood: With gnarls and knots. Revealing, concealing, And peeling in spots.
I work on wood. With pictures iconic: Centered, adventured, But never ironic.
I work on wood: Spliced slices of tree. I work on the wood And the wood works on me.
Douglas Florian’s last exhibition at BravinLee programs in June, 2010 was favorably reviewed by Roberta Smith in The New York Times: children’s books that are wittily educational, especially about animals. Working in gouache with collage, he depicts just about anything with an impressive combination of accuracy and improvisation and is similarly free with language. Mr. Florian, who always works on paper bags, has shown in art galleries since 1985, presenting work that is generally more abstract if no less playful than his illustrations. Here his excellent eye for color shines, and an organic multiculturalism is given full expression. Tantra, Elizabeth Murray, maps, free-range calligraphy, Marimekko handmade wrapping paper and Gerhard Richter all come to mind in this show of 33 small paintings, most done this year. You may initially want to dismiss Mr. Florian’s gallery works as tasty bonbons, sweet and light and insufficiently nutritious, or as part of a genre of skillful drawing-painting that has been around since the 1980s. (Like Mr. Florian, by the way.) But no matter how relaxed and loopy the main motifs may appear, they are intensely worked — painted, rubbed, drawn on, scraped, with added bits of collage and painted paper. Some are so distressed they appear brittle and stiff, as if painted on ultra-thin sheets of metal. Others might almost have been left out in the rain or used as flooring. In any event, many of these works convey an imposing compression of time and attention without ever getting precious or obsessive about it. They engross, with plenty of nutrients and their own kind of big.” (Roberta Smith, The New York Times, June 2010)
“The artist and poet Douglas Florian is best known for writing and illustrating award-winning
Douglas Florian lives and works in New York City. He has had solo exhibitions at Yeshiva University Museum and at the University of the Arts in Pennsylvania. His work has been included in exhibitions at the Drawing Center, The Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, and at The New York State Museum at Albany. Florian is also a children’s book author and illustrator and a show of his poems and paintings is on view at Poets House, in New York through April 28th.