press release

Chisenhale Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition of new paintings by Dan Perfect.

Dan Perfect's paintings have a restless energy that permeates their dense compositions. Grounds and figures merge to depict a seething internal world with an imperative to create, connect and situate disparate elements. The paintings include a tumult of ambiguous forms and allusions to lost toys, dream characters, masks, animals, foliage and half-remembered places, as though before our eyes myriad options are sifted and assembled to define a character for each work.

Perfect's paintings make use of an eclectic set of art historical references, including Peter Lanyon's vertiginous, glider-flight inspired abstractions and Patrick Heron's late garden paintings, whose line, colour and light have strong echoes in Perfect's vivid conception of place. Perfect's work also has transatlantic strains of the graffiti-like compositions of Jean-Michel Basquiat with their drug-fuelled glee in palimpsests, chromatic clashes, defacement and strident affirmation of identity.

There is an urgent curiosity evident in Perfect's work that imagines a landscape populated by archetypes, where familiarity, loss and discovery collide. Leading us through this – subsequent to the paintings' initial overall impact – is Perfect's assured use of line that disciplines and delineates in order to avoid a descent into visual hysteria, and which connects the viewer to a panoply of decision-making. Perfect's free-associative works on paper, from which these paintings are developed, have an affinity with animation in their hermetically-sealed immediacy, and exploit the inherent instability and seductiveness of colour. Perfect's palette is sometimes reluctantly English, so that the compensatory and escapist dreamworld of America is filtered through the three-day week and power-cuts of Britain in the 1970's.

Steve Ditko and John Romita's deftly penned illustrations for Marvel Comics' The Amazing Spiderman are also a discernable presence in Perfect's work. Both Perfect and the Marvel illustrators employ a dynamic and compressed perspective to convey an action-packed supernatural world where the everyday and extraordinary are enmeshed and mutually dependant.

Perfect synthesizes vocabularies to paint something intensely personal so that, with their meticulous planning and process of playful and anxious discovery, these paintings present a frozen fragment of a larger flux. We are encouraged to witness the chaotic nature of an inner-life, and the consequent drive of these works to temper and deftly transform its content. Perfect's paintings present a picture of the world where fantasy and reality battle for the upper hand.

A fully illustrated catalogue published by Chisenhale Gallery accompanies the exhibition, with texts by Martin Herbert and Simon Wallis, and distributed by Ridinghouse Editions through Cornerhouse.

Dan Perfect was born in London in 1965. Group shows since 2001 have included Death to the Fascist Insect that Preys on the Life of the People, Anthony d'Offay Gallery, London; Becks Futures, ICA, London (2002), which traveled to CCA, Glasgow and Mappin Art Gallery, Sheffield; Exploring Landscape: Eight Views from Britain, Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York, and Recent Acquisitions, Southampton City Art Gallery. Solo shows since 2001 have included Floating Islands, Habitat, London; Perfect Drawings, Karsten Schubert, London (2003) and Recent Paintings at One in the Other, London (2006).

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Dan Perfect