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Born in 1936, Daan van Golden dipped in and out of most modern art movements, always maintaining a stoic balance between meditative beauty and studied esotericism. Nonetheless, his freewheeling sensibilities often proved to be too warm for hard conceptualists and too cold for soft expressionists. For his first solo exhibition in Los Angeles and the first gallery show since his passing earlier this year, Overduin has omitted any of his iconographic paintings and chosen to focus on an assortment of photographs spanning five decades.
In the first room are art-historical references: Study Dürer (2007) and Free Study after Matisse (2016). The former, an elegantly representational cropping of a bird’s wing; the latter, an intimate cropping of a contoured abstraction of a bird’s wing—in a painting, in the artist’s studio. On the far back wall, there is an elongated and grounded shadow as wistful self-portraiture (Agua Azul, 1987/2007), reflecting back on the other nearby works. The actual man is only ever seen in an obscured state, but he continuously points his lens outward into the real world with acute and astute sensitivity and specificity.
In the adjacent room, the character and characteristics of the individual reveal themselves more clearly, including in a suite of five images documenting the artist’s daughter, Diana, at age ten, cartwheeling in front of an Yves Klein painting. Van Golden was one to oscillate between the personal and the political without feeling cramped by internal or external pressures. A sophisticatedly offhand yet overt example here is Sex Pistols (1979/2007), a photo of the Queen of England’s silhouette on public wall tile, with the infamously commercialized punk band’s name scrawled on her head in black marker. Whether it was family, influence, or circumstance, everything was fair game for this cautiously sentimental seeker.
Daan van Golden runs from September 30–November 11, 2017 at Overduin & Co. (6693 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028).