Mosh Pits, Raves, and One Small Orgy: Dan Witz’s New Solo Show
The OG continues to develop his acclaimed mosh pit series while also exploring new surroundings
All images are courtesy of the artist and Jonathan LeVine Gallery
Dan Witz paints motion. For decades, he’s ensnared viewers in his “academic realist” riptide of what it’s like being in the throws of the pit at hardcore shows. With the hyperreal detail of every fine line and sweat-soaked strand of hair, the Brooklyn-based artist depicts figures proud with the fuck-yeah of virility. They writhe and mosh in aggressive mass to the sounds of bands like Agnostic Front and Vision of Disorder. But by Witz’s hand, as the amorphous crowd finds their collective spine in the spike and pummel of each song, the scene becomes almost punk rock ballet.
“I’m an academic realist painter, but I’m living in the 21st century,” explains Witz, “so I’m not going to be painting Roman soldiers invading, or some gothic baroque composition…The highest aspiration of an academic realist painter are these big group figure paintings, and I’m using the hardcore scene as my subject.”
This weekend, Dan Witz will unveil what will be his third solo exhibition at Jonathan LeVine Gallery. Mosh Pits, Raves and One Small Orgy: New Paintings by Dan Witz, continues his nearly 17-year journey with the acclaimed mosh pit series, but also finds the OG venturing into new thematic territory.
Incorporating per usual both digital and old master techniques in this new series of large-scale oil paintings, Witz offers a satiating mouthful of rampant, unapologetic hardcore crowds. But, he also expands beyond the comforts of his usual setting with a pair of works depicting rave scenes. With this atmospheric shift, the compositions called Brite Nite permeate with a sense of euphoria rather than aggression. The artist further pushes this notion of pure pleasure-seeking in Small Orgy, a seemingly-undulating rendering of interlocking nude bodies in the midst of ascending corporeal ecstasy.
While building upon established themes, Witz still remains steadfast and forever loyal to his skillful methods of conveying light, shadow and, as always, frenetic movement.
Mosh Pits, Raves and One Small Orgy opens this Saturday, April 2, at Jonathan LeVine Gallery (529 West 20th Street, Gallery II). The solo exhibition will run through April 30, 2016.