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Daniel Gerhartz: Pairings

June 19, 2018 - Kelly Skeen

Daniel Gerhartz’ brilliant oil paintings are fueled by the artist’s commitment to classic beauty and a profound sense of emotion. His soft-edged realism has a poetic and serene tone while his luminous palette gives his subjects a nearly iridescent appearance. The artist’s chiaroscuro technique cultivates a spiritual and dream-like presence within his paintings. Whether an idyllic landscape, a child’s face or the contour of the human body, Gerhartz often feels a spiritual connection to his subject matter. “There is such a profound message in all beauty,” he states.

For Gerhartz’ 2018 solo show, “Pairings,” the Wisconsin artist has painted a series of works that portray harmony and balance between two opposing beings or ideas. “It adds another layer, which I love,” says Gerhartz of his painted dualities. “Whenever I’m building a piece with two figures there’s always one that’s dominant, usually making eye contact or engaging with the viewer, but that figure is not always visually dominant. I’m really balancing between design elements and the emotional aspect of the work. In the end, I’m just trying to build a strong work of art.”

In Bohemian, for example, the female figure is the engaged presence, gazing at the viewer behind her male counterpart. Her figure is partially obstructed by his guitar while his attention is held by something outside the picture plane. The couple has a loose and luminous quality as they stand by the ocean where they’re touched by a soft breeze. “There is a contented look on her face but it’s a mystery as to what she’s thinking,” says Gerhartz of the female figure in this painting.  “If I over delineate the narrative, it limits what the viewer can bring to the piece.”

According to Gerhartz, Norman Rockwell and Alphonse Mucha also painted background figures that made subtle connections with the viewer. “It’s where I get a lot of my design sensibilities,” he says of their work.

Other dualities for “Pairings” include ballet dancers - a recurring theme for Gerhartz - as well as familial relationships. In other works, a second presence is merely suggested in a still life setting or with a solitary introspective figure. Gerhartz hopes that viewers layer their own experiences into his paintings and resonate with the emotions he puts forth. We hope you’ll join us for the opening of his solo exhibition on Friday, July 6thfrom 5-7pm.

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