Dan Christensen: Calligraphic Stains & Scrapes (Paintings from 1977 to 1984)


Info: Dan Christensen: Calligraphic Stains & Scrapes (Paintings from 1977 to 1984), Feb  8 - Mar  9, 2024

Dan Christensen: Calligraphic Stains & Scrapes (Paintings from 1977 to 1984)

New York, New York, February 8, 2024–Berry Campbell is pleased to present its third solo exhibition of works by Dan Christensen (1942-2007). This exhibition focuses on works created between 1977 and 1984, the eight-year period in which the artist created his Calligraphic Stain and Calligraphic Scrape paintings. Christensen, an artist with an intense passion for the possibilities of new paint materials and techniques, epitomized the union of paint and science in twentieth-century Color Field painting. In the late 1960s, Christensen’s art was championed by curators, critics, and art dealers with many of his paintings being placed in important public and private collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. In 2009, Karen Wilkin curated a major retrospective of Christensen’s work, Dan Christensen: Forty Years of Painting, for the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Missouri. In his review of the exhibition, notable critic Peter Plagens observed, “he combined elements to arrive at some sort of visual poetry.” 

The first period of the exhibition will highlight Christensen’s Calligraphic Stain paintings, featuring Atlantic Champagne (1979), a monumental painting not seen since Christensen’s retrospective. In the Stain paintings, Christensen poured paint, often in layers, into the weave of unstretched canvases laid on the floor. The “calligraphic” aspect of these works was created by applying paint with sticks, brushes, and turkey basters, that create armatures or ‘tree-like’ drawing along the work’s surface. In contrast to the subtle tones of works such as Atlantic Champagne or Glacier Bay from the late 1970s, his 1980s works, such as Tuscarora and Professor Bop reveal the transition to bold and brightly colored paintings. 

In the Calligraphic Scrape paintings, the second portion of the exhibition, Christensen moved into a new phase applying his paint with greater ferocity and physicality. Christensen still begins the process by layering colors to create a ground, but the “drawing” that was once stained on to the surface becomes dimensional with explosive splatters and thick drips of paint, showing Christensen’s energetic style of applying paint. YT3 (1984), Bajo Sexto (1984), and DeSoto’s Orange (1983) are all examples of Scrape painting from the early 1980s.

Dan Christensen: Calligraphic Stains and Scrapes (Paintings from 1977 to 1984) is accompanied by a 20-page exhibition catalogue with an essay by Lisa N. Peters, Ph.D., who has written extensively on Dan Christensen. This exhibition is on view from February 8, 2024 through March 9, 2024 with an opening reception on Thursday, February 8, 2024 from 6 pm to 8 pm.

Christine Berry and Martha Campbell opened Berry Campbell Gallery in Chelsea, New York, ten years ago. The gallery has a fine-tuned program representing artists of post-war American painting that have been underrepresented or neglected, particularly the women of Abstract Expressionism. Since its inception, the gallery has developed a strong emphasis in research to bring to light artists overlooked due to age, race, gender, or geography. This unique perspective has been increasingly recognized by curators, collectors, and the press.

Last year, Berry Campbell moved to 524 W 26th Street, one of the most prestigious blocks in Chelsea. The 9,000 square foot space was previously inhabited by art world icons such as Paula Cooper Gallery and Robert Miller Gallery. For further information please call at 212.924.2178, visit our website at berrycampbell.com, or email at info@berrycampbell.com.