The Life and Times of Plaid
January 11–March 7, 2020
Opening reception: Saturday, January 11, 4–6pm
Artist talk: 4:30pm
Brian Gross Fine Art is pleased to announce the opening of The Life and Times of Plaid, an exhibition of new paintings by Bay Area artist Dana Hart-Stone, on Saturday, January 11, 2020, from 4-6pm, with an artist talk at 4:30pm. In this group of major new works, The Life and Times of Plaid is a 13-foot mural comprised of 616 digitally altered vintage black and white images of everyday scenes of the American West arranged like pages of a giant photo album. In another development, Hart-Stone explores circular formats, creating round paintings that pulsate with his signature patterns derived from appropriated photographs. Through the collection, manipulation, and juxtaposition of vintage imagery, Hart-Stone explores themes of collective memory and nostalgia through abstraction and complex visual rhythms. The exhibition will be on view through March 7, 2020.
Dana Hart-Stone’s works reveal the artist’s passion for collecting vintage, vernacular photographs of the West and digitally manipulating them to create his elaborate works. Hart-Stone’s use of a multitude of period photographs to create a visual field of imagery in The Life and Times of Plaid is a major departure from his previous work in which images were often manipulated to the point of abstraction. In each of the photographs reproduced, Hart-Stone has used vivid colors to highlight related thematic elements, imbuing the painting with a dynamic interplay of color. Additionally, Hart-Stone’s new use of his intricate patterning in rounded formats expands on the compositional strategies of his previous body of work, giving the viewer the feeling of looking through a kaleidoscopic lens at the past. Using serial imagery digitally printed in UV-cured inks on canvas, Hart-Stone’s paintings draw upon both the collective memory of everyday people of the rural American West and our collective cultural nostalgia for the time period.
In addition to looking back historically, Hart-Stone’s paintings are also master studies in color harmonies and intricate pattern making. In the title work, The Life and Times of Plaid, a 13-foot multi-panel work, Hart-Stone has arranged the found black and white images side by side, each in full reproduction. Within each photograph, Hart-Stone has used vibrant colors to digitally tint the plaid dresses, suits, ties, shirts, and upholstery fabrics, giving the work an optical charge. In works such as Prong Horn, Cow Story, Inspecting Lettuce, Distracted by Ric Rac, and On Parade, Hart-Stone explores rounded compositions, bending his patterned imagery into circular forms that draw the viewer in with rhythmic, pulsating tonalities. Each painting also has a thematic gambit tying together the source imagery used to create it. The stitching together of Hart-Stone’s images re-contextualizes the photographs in each of his works, allowing the viewer to look anew at this era of American history through the vehicle of abstract painting.
Born in Billings, Montana, Dana Hart-Stone attended Montana State University in Bozeman, and received his B.A. from San Francisco State University in 1997. His paintings and commissions can be found in numerous private and public collections, including the Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA and the Monterey Museum of Art, Monterey, CA. In 2019, his work was featured in the exhibition Ridin’ the West: Works by Roy De Forest and Dana Hart-Stone at Santa Clara University. This is his fourth show with Brian Gross Fine Art.