Daniel John Gadd


November 3rd, 2017 – December 10th, 2017
Opening Reception: Friday, November 3rd, 6PM to 9PM 


Daniel John Gadd "Falcon" (2017, oil, wax and mirrored glass on wooden panel, 38” x 28”)

Daniel John Gadd “Falcon” (2017, oil, wax and mirrored glass on wooden panel, 38” x 28”)


[Click here to view exhibition catalogue online, with essay by Jason Andrew]

DAVID&SCHWEITZER Contemporary is proud to present Falconry, a solo exhibition of new works by Daniel John Gadd, opening November 3rd, 2017 and running through December 10th, 2017. An opening reception will be held on Friday, November 3rd, from 6pm to 9pm.

Falconry (the hunting of wild quarry in its natural state and habitat by means of a trained bird of prey) is the title of 31-year-old Daniel John Gadd’s second one-person exhibition at DAVID&SCHWEITZER Contemporary. In this body of work Gadd is both the Falcon and Falconer — a metaphor for the painter painting himself. The works endeavor to own and to appreciate the beauty of that which is wild within one’s self — learning to live with and mitigate the danger within. The work in this exhibition clearly places him among the most powerful, innovative and important abstraction artists working today.

Borne out of love of modernism and trained as figurative painter as were earliest abstract masters, Gadd is of a generation far enough removed from that rich history to embrace its past while reinventing and extending abstraction’s relevance and punch into the 21st century. He does this in part by reversing the chronology and historical sequences of ABEX and Cubism – adding an affinity for the use of non-traditional materials with Vernacular Artists.

Referencing aspects found in the work of American Masters such as Elizabeth Murray’s love of Cubism and shaped formats, Joan Snyder’s color sense and languid/free/fierce marking in the service of a personal story telling, Thornton Dial’s use of non-traditional deconstructed formats and materials, and James Castle’s painfully intimate poetic references to birds, Gadd invents a post-modern modernist mash-up that blurs the boundaries of painting and sculpture, abstraction and figuration, “high” and “low” art. This aesthetic is borne out of Gadd’s own life’s histories, his personal struggles, and triumph over them, through his love of family, and his love of the act of and history of painting. He creates work that runs the range of human emotion – violent, fragile, sensitive, fierce, vulnerable, and compassionate all at once. These works are deeply moving, and flat-out beautiful. Gadd’s is a wholly original voice, rarely heard from a painter this age.

The late brilliant curator Klaus Kertess once wrote:

“Art is a platform for experience, not a lesson. What is being proposed here is not a return to formalism but an art in which meaning is embedded in formal value. An acknowledgment of sensuousness is indispensable — whether as play or sheer joy or the kind of subversity that has us reaching for a rose and grabbing a thorn.”

Kertess was writing about what he believed made truly great art — and while he passed away before he ever saw Gadd’s work — these words eloquently describe the greatness found in this brilliant young painter.

Part of the founding principles of DAVID&SCHWEITZER Contemporary, and its predecessor Life on Mars, is our belief that painting must look to its history to find its future. Our gratitude goes out to Jason Andrew (and his beautiful job curating this selection of Elizabeth Murray’s works) and to the Murray–Holman Family Trust and Pace Gallery for working with DAVID&SCHWEITZER Contemporary to exhibit Elizabeth Murray’s masterful works on paper in conjunction with our Daniel John Gadd exhibition. They have provided us the opportunity to fulfill that founding principle by showing the crucial, vital relationship between the American master Murray and her continuing influence on one of the best of this generation, Daniel John Gadd.


— Michael David Painter/ Curator/Co-Director David and Schweitzer Contemporary 10 -10 -17


Elizabeth Murray

“Torn from the notebook: drawings by Elizabeth Murray”

curated by Jason Andrew, Estate of Elizabeth Murray, Courtesy of Pace

November 3rd, 2017 – December 10th, 2017


Elizabeth Murray "Study for Education" (1995, colored pencil on paper, 9 1/4" x 5 15/16")

Elizabeth Murray “Study for Education” (1995, colored pencil on paper, 9 1/4″ x 5 15/16″)

On view are twelve drawings for paintings dating from single decade (1987-1995) of Elizabeth Murray’s illustrious career. This exhibition coincides with a major exhibition of paintings Elizabeth Murray: Painting in the ‘80s on view at Pace (510 W25
th Street, NYC) through January 13, 2018.

In an interview in 1986, Elizabeth Murray stated, “Primarily, I think that all my work is completely intuitive.” This group of drawings was been selected to show just that. As working drawings for paintings, many splattered in paint capturing the immediacy of the moment, offer insight to the process of one of America’s most celebrated artists.

The 80s were an important decade for Murray. The artist had become “bored with squares and rectangles” and sought to break from traditional. “Shapes are nothing new” she said, “and in the beginning I wasn’t trying to do something original with the shape, I just wanted to work with different edges. The Russian constructivists and Mondrian, they are fascinating, but lines and squares don’t ultimately continue to hold that much interest for me. If there is anything I know about myself […] is that change is a real pattern for me.” And so, she set to working out her ideas in notebooks and in doing so, she re-imagined a new space for painting.

Drawing was an important part of Murray’s process. However, she never allows it to dictate the final outcome in her paintings. Drawing was not a means to an end. Drawing was variations upon variations of a single idea:

“Usually I start intuitively […] I have a little book, record book, and I do little drawings inside that […] Recently since I have had more time and energy I’ve been doing more drawing around the painting or for that painting. I certainly don’t’ do a drawing before and then do the painting. That I’ve never done. It would kill it for me. I don’t think that way.”

Murray was protective of her relationship with her ideas — to approach the canvas with multiple ideas and allow for the immediacy of the moment and the paint to take over. “If I analyzed it before then I would really have nothing to do. I can virtually not imagine approaching the work that way because it is so intensely about this relationship, this time that is new and very unknown when you begin, and then gets more known and then gets unknown. It would take the life out of it complete for me to work any other way.”

*All quotes: Elizabeth Murray in PROFILE, Vol. 5, No. 3, 1986.


This exhibition was organized in collaboration with the Estate of Elizabeth Murray and Pace Gallery, which is presenting: 


Elizabeth Murray: Painting in the 80s
November 2, 2017 – January 13, 2018
Pace Gallery​, 510 West 25th Street, NYC