DAN COLEN (B. 1979)
DAN COLEN (B. 1979)
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PROPERTY FROM A PROMINENT AMERICAN PRIVATE COLLECTION
DAN COLEN (B. 1979)

The Sorcerer's Apprentice

Details
DAN COLEN (B. 1979)
The Sorcerer's Apprentice
signed, titled and dated '"The Sorcerer's Apprentice" Dan Colen 2012-2013' (on the overlap)
oil and pigment on canvas
71.8 x 109.2 cm. (28 1/4 x 43 in.)
Painted in 2012-2013
Provenance
Gagosian Gallery, New York
Acquired at the above by the present owner

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Jacky Ho (何善衡)
Jacky Ho (何善衡) Head of Evening Sale

Lot Essay

'I wanted these paintings to reveal themselves during the making, similar to how the trash paintings came to be. I was thinking about alchemy. So there's this juggling act; I'm starting and often ending with an image, but the oil paint and the process of using that oil paint will open up the possibility for the artwork to take a new direction.' —Dan Colen

The Sorcerer's Apprentice embodies what Dan Colen seeks to explore in his Miracle series (2010-2018) and throughout his artistic practice: to what extent does art emerge from or independent to the artist? The Miracle series was conceived based on film stills from the 1940 Disney film Fantasia, arousing our collective imagination of the fantastical imageries animated by the entertainment giant. The arch of an electrifying gradient of purples emerges prominently from a dark black ground, with alluring specks of fuchsia and blues dancing playfully across the composition. Colen’s brushwork emulates bursts of magical powder and liquid, emanating the same ambience of mythical wonder in Fantasia. Meandering between abstraction and representation, the overwhelming explosion of colours alludes to themes of creation, doom, and the evasive yet all-consuming power of sorcery. From his unrestrained mark-making to his choice of combining oil with pigment, Colen imbues his painting with a sense of raw, visceral timelessness.

The creation of the painting was at once a departure from and culmination of Colen’s earlier artistic styles and practice. In his earliest paintings, Colen painted with precision using oils. Often depicting mundane interiors that include fantastical elements, leading to his growing curiosity and exploration of all things ethereal and divine, as with The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Subsequently, Colen diverted his initial concentration on oils to incorporate found objects into his compositions, such as chewing gum, feathers, street trash and many others. He was a part of the then informally titled Bowery School comprising his contemporaries Dash Snow, Ryan McGinley, Agathe Snow, Hanna Linden and Nate Lowman amongst others. It was a social network formed by the then New York downtown milieu of young counter-cultural artists in the early 2000s who sought inspiration from everyday life and ephemeral materials. Experimenting with new materiality enabled Colen to embark on a whole new realm of expressive freedom. The Miracle series—and specifically The Sorcerer's Apprentice—saw Colen’s renewed relationship with oils as a medium, returning to explore its essence while fully utilizing its material potential to mimic the enchanting, spellbound trail left by magic.

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