In Dusk, the latest series of Daniel Bodner paintings, the light at the day’s close is the central focus-- specifically that moment when clear daylight is subsumed by the softer, more uncertain tones of dusk. He elaborates on that moment when objects begin to lose their sharp edges, and vague forms, including those of human figures, loom and surge by. The world he depicts is a natural world as defined by the artificial, human-made light of street lamps and surrounding buildings.

Daniel Bodner’s older paintings evoke a light born not so much of brushstrokes but instead seemingly seared into the very fiber of his canvases. The apparently ephemeral compositions of this earlier work underscore a certain pure directness, giving the viewer the impression that the depictions within the paintings occurred just as the viewer’s gaze settled upon them. In this new series, his keen eye turns increasingly to the darkness; in bringing his own light to that dark, Bodner gives shape what we are able to see, and interpret.

Luminous interpretations

People stroll through Amsterdam’s beloved Vondel Park in the works of Daniel Bodner. The contours of some are quite sharply etched against the artificial glow of streetlights. From his Academy days onward, Bodner has felt compelled to closely examine public spaces, human figures in these spaces, and the subtle interactions between these two elements. Additionally, Bodner has explored the merging of the more modernist--even ‘flat’ space--with a more traditional approach, as found in the painting of landscapes. Bodner’s approach to painting scenes that he has photographed veer not so much toward pure representation as they do carefully calibrated interpretation. The intentions guiding Bodner’s brushstrokes qualify what we might initially perceive from the surface. In this way, Bodner chooses to pull the prominent ambient space into the background, while the shadows of the people are brought to the foreground. This deliberate integration into the same layer of paint results in two elements normally viewed at different depths of field being pulled together into one, simultaneously making and denying the space, as it were. Bodner explains that “in my paintings different visual fields, or spaces, crash into one another. I particularly seek to emphasise contrasts: are we seeing an object or its shadow; something one dimensional--or two; lightness or dark; day or night?”


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