Thursday, December 22, 2016

Fred Danziger at Roger LaPelle Galleries

Fred Danziger began as a studio artist with some profound concerns about the nature of man. As the years passed, he leavened this into witty canvases that posed visual and verbal conundrums. They resembled Cornell Boxes but they were almost entirely painted, sometimes including a real object or two. He has always been leery of what he thinks of as the wilderness of the New York school and its attendant gallery system. That early vision of robotic and tortured anatomy perhaps made him an artist who couldn't see the charm of abstract expressionism.

As such, his last three years have been spent seriously practicing plein air painting. This is the work
in his current show at Roger LaPelle Gallery here in Philadelphia, his eighteenth show at the same gallery over a long career.

What is immediately moving about these paintings is their open wonder at the world, given us via Fred's gentle and non-ironic eye. These are clear visions of a grateful and innocent heart. They have an almost folk simplicity, combined with color work that is sophisticated, yet not obtrusive to the intent of showing and seeing.

This is a vulnerable show, not pretentious or self-important, yet by that grace it amounts to all that matters in art. The artist whose work will always beguile us is one so beguiled with the world in front of him.

This is a refreshing show that I am glad to have seen.

"Maine: place and time"
Recent paintings by Fred Danziger
Roger LaPelle Galleries
Philadelphia, PA
Dec 2, 2016 – January 29, 2017