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William Daniels
at Marc Foxx Gallery, Los Angeles, California
Recommendation by Michael Shaw

Continuing through November 12, 2011

William Daniels’ small, oil on wood paintings belong to the ‘jewel-like’ school of art but are never precious. The seven works here, averaging roughly 14 x 12 inches, give or take, play with highly reflective surfaces in a way that’s visceral rather than slick. If he’s working from models, then they’re likely clumps of silver mylar that Daniels has crimped, folded and sculpted into various forms, often arcs. They poetically play with the properties of paint dragged on a hard background, resulting in imagery that vacillates from representation to painterliness, and from tightness to looseness (though one recognizes these works as being painstaking). Sections of the background bear sections of silvery reflection as well, causing the foreground object to be less defined.

The relatively bright colors infused into the reflective joints (these works are particularly color-heavy relative to the muted browns, grays and blacks Daniels has favored in prior bodies of work) at times defy the realistic source from which they reflect, just as the represented objects defy being fetishized due to their lack of smoothness. All that said, somehow Daniels manages to keep the viewer attuned to what’s before him more than being mindful of its source, a modest coup that give these paintings a subtle tension, and one that leads them to evade a state of simple covetousness.

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