For his fourth show at Western Exhibitions, Dan Attoe presents a series of new paintings on panel that reflects the changing conditions of his life as a result of the ongoing pandemic. Known for his tight and highly detailed paintings, this body of work is looser, more impulsive, and improvisational as Attoe moves towards an unclear and incomplete method of story-sharing. The show will open on Saturday, November 6 during regular gallery hours and will run through December 18, 2021. The gallery is open to the public, with no appointment necessary, Tuesday through Saturday, 11am to 6pm.
Throughout his 20+ years of painting, Attoe has challenged himself to offer as much detail as possible: “I’ve always enjoyed finding the limits of my abilities and comprehension. For me, there’s something in hitting the end of the jar, the point where earnest representation meets awkwardness, where processing of reality meets metaphor, that is entertaining and telling about an artist’s psychological makeup.” While his paintings up until this point could be read as stills from short stories where every detail has meaning and a sequence of events can be assumed, the works in this show are fragments of constructed places and happenings that don’t reveal an entire story: outlines of trees washed out by hazy sun, ghostly figures inhabiting a blurry forest, an empty swimming pool deck on a hot afternoon, a washed-out suburban homecoming, a shy yellow and orange orb glowing alongside a thick forest canopy. Attoe captures the feelings behind the scenes.
The events of the past 18 months or so have influenced and inspired Attoe in numerous ways, especially with his methodology in the studio. Says Attoe: “the application of the paint became important and it made sense to me to apply it looser and chunkier.” Home teaching and daycare of his two young children led to consuming animated movies en masse, which led Attoe to develop a somewhat sinking feeling as he realized that he couldn’t compete with the beautifully rendered fictitious landscapes on the screen. Social upheaval inspired him to work faster, to respond, even if obliquely, to current events in realer time than prior painting practices would allow. Attoe also noticed himself spending more time on Instagram deeply inspecting other artists’ work and found a renewed interest in the texture of paint, alien colors and sense of humor.
Dan Attoe has had solo shows and been in numerous group shows in galleries and museums across the United States and Europe, most recently at The Hole in New York City and de boer gallery in Los Angeles. He worked with and was part of the inspiration for a line of clothing by fashion designer Adam Kimmel in 2011. Attoe is also one of the founders of Paintallica, an artist collective that has presented performative installations across the country, as well as Barneys New York and the Iowa State Fair. Dan Attoe’s work has been written about and featured in Frieze Magazine, Art in America, Artforum, The Los Angeles Times, Art Review, The Journal, Flash Art, Berlin Art Journal, PAPERMAG and The New York Times. He received his BFA from the University of Wisconsin in 1998 and his MFA from the University of Iowa in 2004. He is represented by Western Exhibitions in Chicago. Born in 1975 in Bremerton, Washington, Attoe grew up in parts of Washington, Idaho, Minnesota and Wisconsin, and now lives and works in Washougal, Washington.