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A R T I S T ' S   S T A T E M E N T


     It is always my hope that the work I create will speak for itself and not require any sort of treatise to make it accessible. It is intended to be a visceral experience. I work in relative isolation and have little interest in what is current or trendy in the art scene. I do pay attention to historical precedents for what I’m doing and often choose to extend trails blazed by artists whose work I am drawn to.
     I am primarily influenced by the forms, colors and processes of the natural world. Nature has always been a miraculous thing to me. I am always amazed by what I see. I love the sea – sailing in particular, I love flowers and gardening. Beauty is an important element of my work. I want it to be beautiful even if maybe it’s a little threatening at the same time.
     I am increasingly concerned with the figurative elements in the work. While that has always been there, I would have to say that now the work, especially the sculpture, is completely about the figure in a dream state where forms can merge freely.
     I am often asked about the spoon images in my work. I came to sculpture from a metalsmith’s background, which included working as a flatware designer. One of the first pieces to attract my attention when I started making sculpture was Giacommetti’s Spoon Woman. That piece became the jumping off point for my use of the spoon as a female allegory.
     My techniques and materials are varied. Whenever possible I prefer to work in bronze for my sculpture. I work metal in traditional blacksmiths fashion using heat and hammer, forging and forming the metal as it goes through its own transformation from hard to soft and back again.
Dan Feldman -2001

    

 My dialogue with ideas relating to the utensil began in 1984. At the time I was working as a designer for Towle Silversmiths in Massachusetts. Initially my concerns were limited to the parameters of function and the esthetics of form. Gradually, I began to introduce a narrative element into the work as a means of touching on the nature of utility and what that means in the context of human existence. Tools, utensils and implements are singular in their identity as human attributes. That is, we are completely dependent on them for survival. As such they tie us to the past, our primitive origins, and perhaps to the future as well. The utensil, as an extension of the body, forms a direct link between the intellect, the psyche and the external world. It is a primary communicative device. From an archaeological perspective this notion of communication extends beyond the mere function of the implement to a point where it defines culture. Whether one looks at a ritual object or one of daily use, the form and embellishment are richly imbued with the history and worldview of its people
Dan Feldman - 1988

Biography


    
 Dan Feldman’s work spans an eclectic range of scale, media and subject matter. He has exhibited in museums and galleries across the country and is represented in numerous private collections. Mr. Feldman has worked as a designer in the flatware industry, as a wax and moldmaker at Tallix art foundry, as a cabinetmaker, and as a product developer for Pure Madderlake, the noted floral designers in New York City. He has also worked as a mountain guide for the National Outdoor Leadership School in Wyoming and spent two years helping to develop an alternative housing project on Cheyenne River Indian Reservation in South Dakota. In addition, his research on sacred mountains in the Four Corners region of the United States, was published in the book, Mountain Peoples, edited by Michael Tobias.

     Mr. Feldman's designs for flatware have received awards from the American Craft Museum, the Innovative Design Fund and been featured in the Industrial Design Annual review.

     Mr. Feldman’s formal education includes a Master of Fine Arts degree in metalsmithing from the State University New York at New Paltz, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Boston University

Solo Exhibitions

2005
Coffey Gallery, Kingston, NY

1997
Hasbrouck House, Stone Ridge, NY.

1994
Donskoj & Co, Kingston, NY.

1993
Stephanie Griffin Gallery, Kingston, NY.

1988
Black Sheep Gallery, Woodstock, NY.
Donskoj & Co., Kingston, NY.
Salon ThÈ La ThÈ, New York.


Group Exhibitions

2005
This is Not an Archive, Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College Annandale, NY

Encaustic Works 2005, Samuel Dorky Museum, New Paltz, NY

2004
Sculpture, The Pearl Gallery, Stone Ridge, NY
Ships Happen, Donskoj & Co., Kingston, NY


2003
Craft Transformed, Fuller Museum of Art, Brockton, MA


2002
Spring Award, Works on Paper, Bled, Slovenia


2001
Kingston Sculpture Bienniel, Kingston, NY
5 Sculptors, The Inn at Stone Ridge, Stone Ridge, NY

2000
Three Sculptors, Castaways, Woodstock, NY.
The National Small Sculpture Exhibition, Hattiesburg, Mississippi

1999
The Alphabet by 27 Artists, Donskoj & Co., Kingston, NY.
Small Works, Carrie Haddad Gallery, Hudson, NY.
New Work by Five Sculptors, Wild Rose Inn, Woodstock, NY.
Rondout Scuplture Biennial, Kingston, NY.
Body and Soul, Woodstock Artists’ Association, Woodstock, NY.

1998
Outdoor Sculpture , Kouros Sculpture Center, Ridgefield, CT.

1997
For The Table, Donskoj & Co., Kingston, NY.
Linear Delights, Woodstock Artists' Association,Woodstock, NY.

1995
Idols, Icons and Myth, The Loft, Kingston, NY.
Rondout Sculpture Biennial, Kingston, NY
MIN-UMENTALS, Watermark/Cargo Gallery, Kingston, NY.

1994
Water Works, Elena Zang Gallery, Woodstock, NY
New Art From Kingston NY, Gallery at Park West, Kingston, NY.

1993
Contemporary Landscape Sculpture, Elena Zang Gallery, Woodstock, NY.
Food for Thought, Donskoj & Co., Kingston, NY.

1992
Copper III. Old Pueblo Museum, Tuscon, AZ.

1989
The Object Contemplated, Perkins Gallery, University of Delaware.
The Human Condition, Mid-Hudson Arts & Science Center, Poughkeepsie, NY.

1987
Silver in Service, Castle Gallery, New Rochelle - Georgia State University Art  Gallery, Atlanta - Bellevue Art Museum, Bellevue, WA.

1986
Color in Context, The College Art Gallery, SUNY New Paltz.
Eighty-Six for Eighty-Six, Steuben Glass, New York

1985
Contemporary Metals USA, Downey Museum of Art, Downey, CA.
Enamels International, Long Beach Museum of Art, Long Beach, CA.
Emerging Talents, Quadrum Gallery, Boston
Metals Expressions, Joe L. Evans Center for the Crafts, Smithville, TN.
Designed and Made for Use, American Craft Museum, New York.

1984
Boston University at the Renwick Galleries, Smithsonian Institute,  Washington D.C.
Statements in Sterling, Lever House, New York

Awards

1986
Honorable Mention, Industrial Design Annual Review.

1985
Innovative Design Fund Award.
American Craft Museum Design Award

1983
Juror's Award, Art of Peace, Fort Collins, Colorado

1980
Tucker Fellowship, Dartmouth College Marcus Heiman Award For Creative Arts, Dartmouth College.

 

Reviews

"Work That One Ups Proteus" by Kathi Norklun
Woodstock Times August 14, 1997

     When are changes made? At what point does grief transmute to joy, apathy become despair, impetus give way to adventure? In a wink the decision is made, and what was one hting begins to become another. Can you register the moment at which the pupa starts to become a butterfly, an acorn an oak? The turning point, the moment of divergence, slips by.

    Dan Feldman has made the juncture of metamorphosis a central subject in his work. Ten years of art production, including watercolors, drawings, oil paintings and the sculpture for which he is better known, are currently on exhibit at Hasbrouck in Stone Ridge. The slippage from one state to another is repeatedly evoked.

    An image on paper of a lit candle facing both light and darkness, diagrams the alchemy for us. The candle – one of many instances in Feldman's work, of a vertical figure cutting through space and somehow catalyzing its transubstantiation – slits the page down the center. On one side of the divided page is light; on the other, darkness. The border between light and dark does not, in this case, simply portray a symbolic divide. It is, rather, a divide that wishes to be crossed – as the dark candle, holding aloft a flame, will so ephemerally do. It is the possibilities, even the inevitability, of crossing over that fascinate the artist.

    Feldman's spoons are low, round encompassing hollows, much larger than life but still fulfilling their spoon nature. Until they draw up into their stems: then, in a wink, the transmutation begins, and what would have been a spoon handle becomes a green, sprouting thing, an exquisite, voluptuous, single curl of the blade of a leaf in the space previously reserved for inert matter. Feldman can play with the visual rhyme of spoon, bulb, womb, seed; the greenery that sprouts from the cup then, is not arbitrary, but naturally evocative. But hte incident of change is still startling – that was a spoon, and this is a leaf. The point at which the change in direction, the decision to become another, is made is usually marked by the artist in some way, as by a binding, a bandage, a band, or a ribbon.

    Or shovels turn to feathers, spades to curls, feathers to arrows, arrows to spoons. In "Wedding," a recent bronze cast to look like a wood carving on a wood base, aspoon becomes a fork; but the juncture is elaborately tied, the spoon and the fork handles visibly overlap. The one becomes the other not by magical transmutation but by conscious grafting, hoping, perhaps, for a more natural pairing in the future.

     Nothing is quite as it seems in these works; we are less and less sure of our Platonic ideals of furniture, fork and figure. Some recent pastels show truncated torsos that seem to be, at their abrupt edges, slipping into another state. An abstracted brown figure dropping a realistically limned blue rose in the painting space is less the magician than the ground from which this Pygmalion rose erupts. During a time when Feldman, who also designs flatware, was working obsessively on drawings for a simple archetypal bowl for a customer, he broke from his trance with a series of mixed-media drawings on brown paper that show bowls, but in an elusive, unstable state, not the eternal, essential bowl at all. Imagine twinning the aesthetics of Jim Dine and Odelon Redon: here are simple, mundane objects, gaping like mouths, circling like events, living like columns. The bowls take part in an atavistic architecture of idealism;the drawings look a little like sketches of ancient temples.

   Included in the exhibition are numerous sketches and paintings of the sea, from docile harbours to threatening shoals. Vertiginous waves curl with the same transformative power as the blades of green on the sculpture. There on the lawn outside the restaurant, the change is uplifting and joyful. Here on the wall, it is dangerous and thrilling. For better or worse, at every moment, anything could become something else.

 

"DAN FELDMAN – Allegory of Love" by Beverly Penn
Metalsmith, Summer 1989, Vol. 9 No. 3.

   Steeped in historical and cultural tradition, the utensil is, for Dan Feldman, symbolic of human need, nurturing and sustenance, healing and alchemy, labor and struggle, exploitation and many other, more subtle expressions. Fundamental to each of Feldman's pieces is the potential of the utensil (as an implement) to shape or somehow control human existence.

   The strength of Dan Feldman's work is its allegorical character. In the strictest literary sense, allegory employs narrative as a structural vehicle. Within the visual arts, however, allegorical meaning is deciphered by reading one text through another, however fragmentary, intermittent or chaotic their relationship may be. Feldman’s sculptures and drawings are active on many levels simultaneously: his work has meaning linguistically, stylistically and even psychoanalytically. It is not evaluative or conclusive but enigmatic and changing.

  In Wedding, the two utensils are a bound pair, their handle-to-handle connection marked by a tight, stained wrapping. They are, in a sense, bandaged together. Just barely visible above and below this tourniquet is the flatware pattern of each piece, which essentially brands them as members of unlike sets. In his sensitive wrapping, Feldman partially conceals this pattern that marks their individuality. It is an eloquent reference to the compromise that unity often requires.

   Feldman constructs his Wedding allegory from codes that are deeply rooted in Western culture. One can move through Feldman’s work as if reading poetry, looking to nouns and verbs as signposts of meaning. The verbs "to fork" and "to spoon" contrast male and female sensibilities. Discerning the fork as a piercing implement and the spoon as a collecting one furthers this comparison, as does the notion of prodding versus coddling. In Wedding, the bound fork and spoon are stuck vertically against an oversized rectangular steel panel (4 feet by 8 feet) that is painted and patinated. The pair are centered within a smaller more confining rectangle of lighter value that floats on the larger painted surface.

   Wedding very successfully capitalizes on a reciprocal relationship between the visual and the verbal. The word "wedding" floats on the surface of the piece like an invented shape that is but one part of the sensitive balance of line, shape and color. In contrast, the utensils become almost hieroglyphic codes, coyly and mysteriously waiting to be deciphered. Each aspect, however, also retains its integrity and meaning as a word or as an object. Choosing which text to read is the joy of discovering this profoundly beautiful and intelligent piece.

     Feldman moves his objects away from their everydayness and specificity through his use of allegory. His role as artist is as interpreter of images already saturated with meaning as he weaves yet another text of information through the existing one. As a result, the pieces are both satisfyingly grounded in the essential while they soar sublimely in our imagination with the magic and pathos of fantasy.

Upcoming Events

September 17 - December 11, 2005

Encaustic Works 2005, Samuel Dorky Museum, New Paltz, NY

 

 

 

 

"Wedding"

 

"Bowl Series II"

 

"Wedding"

 

 

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