PROJEKTRAUM LONDON is pleased to announce ‘The Patron Saint of Turning’ with new works by New York based artist Daniel Graham Loxton in his first show in the UK, and an essay by Myles Starr. Myles Starr is a New York City based writer and artist.
‘Imagine the vast Painters Library, where all the painters, their subjects, and lives sit bound in neat volumes. Daniel Graham Loxton often paces the stacks. When he reaches up to an item, he peruses, cites, and finds joy in what others have done. His own oeuvre is a volume with the working title, A Deep Faith in the Idea That There Is Something New Under the Sun.
We can imagine “The Patron Saint of Turning” as a chapter in the aforementioned volume. In it, Loxton’s unnamed protagonist seems to try to escape painting, skipping around the gulfs that separate it from drawing, collage, assemblage, and sculpture. The search yields no exit but new ways of painting that build upon the legacies of Abstraction and Conceptualism.
Historically, a painter decided on a subject and a composition first. The application of paint on a ground had to come second. Abstraction’s great breakthrough was abandoning the reverence given to the first step or dispersing with it altogether. Conceptual practices then insisted that neither paint nor ground was necessary for painting to occur. The delight in this exhibition, and Loxton’s practice at large, is reconstituting these sea changes in his own way, while never abandoning the sense of wonder and pleasure that painters have felt since they first rubbed pigment on a cave wall.
If one focuses in on pieces in the exhibition, they see the contours of the journey that led to this body of work. “Untitled (with R.D.)” appears to be an outline of western Scandinavia rendered in one white brush stroke. Next to it, sits a palette painted with green, brown and blue hues. “Stroke” and “painted” are stretched nearly to their breaking point. The left side of the work is a piece of studio drop cloth that was cut out months after a splash or spill occurred. It was painted more with a scissor than with a brush. The right side of the work also spent time as a non-painting, as a site for mixing colors before they were applied to a canvas. In both instances, preparatory steps for painting yielded a work whose marks had no planning or premeditation. Remarkably, Loxton delivers a reduction in painting that is as lively and plastic as a Soutine.
“Untitled (J&B Financial Abstraction)” brings references as disparate as Eric Carle, Michael Krebber, and Helen Frankenthaler into view. A “big apple” or “big bug” is centered on what looks to be a record sleeve (it’s actually an old shirt). Despite the red sphere’s central position, the blues and blacks that stain the foreground give it the appearance of readying itself to drive away. The painting holds some of the promise of a Bolaño story, built on love of the art that came before it but suffused with enough personality to be a meditation on its own moment.
“Untitled (Peter Falk)” seems to be an outlier among the seven paintings due to its clear figuration and nod to pop art. Although the dots on its left half and a portrait of Falk on the right differ in execution from the works that surround it, they were part of another day’s journey into what a painting could be. Loxton incorporates hobby art (googly eyes) and ballpoint pen drawing into his paintings successfully because he does so with restraint and consideration. Any further use of these motifs would be forced and any less would take away from the way they support the statements raised around them. For this reason, “Untitled (Peter Falk)” is a lynchpin of the presentation, giving us insight into the range of tools and strategies that Loxton employs to add, just one more thing, to his deeply held conviction that there is something new to be done in painting.’
Myles Starr, July 2021
Daniel Graham Loxton (born 1987 in USA) graduated with a BFA in Film & Video from the School of Visual Arts (NYC) in 2009. He has shown widely in New York at JDJ Projects, 57W57 Arts, and Wild Embeddings, among others. In spring 2021 Loxton had a solo show ‘Pillow for Dürer’ at Jir Sandel in Copenhagen, Denmark, that includes a forthcoming book of drawings with introduction by Los Angeles-based curator Chris Sharp. He is also a co-founder of Uffizi, a project space in New York, and has regularly curated exhibitions around the US. Loxton lives and works in Cold Spring, NY, USA. ‘The Patron Saint of Turning’ at PROJEKTRAUM LONDON is Loxton’s first show in the UK.
The Patron Saint of Turning | PREASS RELEASE