Dan Colen - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale London Thursday, June 27, 2019 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Massimo De Carlo Gallery, London
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    ‘I want the viewer to feel like they can leap into the paintings, and although the picture created by the flowers is essentially abstract, I want the viewer to be able to imagine what it would feel like to be immersed in that environment, to be bathed in it…’ - Dan Colen

    Executed in 2015, I Hate Work incorporates the visual disarray of Dan Colen’s earlier paintings whilst maintaining a serene and organic balance. In a flurry of blossom, the artist’s arrangement of visual whirlpools of flowers subsumes the viewer’s gaze into the heart of the canvas. While the flowers themselves, pressed into the surface, act as visual anchors, their pigment diffuses and radiates from their nuclei, with both a soft and intense hue.

    Questioning the painterly gestures of Jackson Pollock and the Abstract Expressionists, Colen cites the Pre-Raphaelites as an influence. Invoking the Pre-Raphaelites’ use of flowers to convey poignant symbolism, in the present work Colen explores both the anarchy and, conversely, order evident in nature. From his 2007 Nest installation at Deitch Projects, New York, to the present canvas, Colen’s work seeks to disrupt and challenge the limitations of painting, also seen in his Bubblegum and Birdshit paintings. With an anarchic abandonment Colen’s use of myriad organic mediums in his practice defies categorisation. Endlessly joyous in its evocation of colour and energy, Colen’s I Hate Work imbues the artist’s free and rebellious spirit.

  • Artist Biography

    Dan Colen

    American • 1979

    American artist Dan Colen has spent most of his career asking himself questions about the editorial decisions artists have to make when creating a scene from scratch on canvas. In his early work, Colen painted mundane interiors punctuated with fantastical elements. This manifested as part of a growing curiosity in the ethereal or divine intervention.

    Colen subsequently stepped away from paint as material and started using found objects as mediums with which to paint. Among these, Colen has used chewing gum, street trash, confetti, feathers, flowers and dirt. This methodology allows Colen to abandon control and create in a more free-form, subconscious manner.

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I Hate Work

signed, titled, numbered and dated 'Dan Colen 2015-16 DC. 2249 "I Hate Work"' on the overlap
flowers on bleached Belgian linen
279.4 x 226 cm (109 7/8 x 88 7/8 in.)
Executed in 2015-16.

£100,000 - 150,000 

Sold for £125,000

Contact Specialist

Tamila Kerimova

Director, Specialist
Head of Day Sale
44 20 7318 4065


20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

London Auction 28 June 2019