Group III: Drive in (Empty) (10), Drive in (Full) (17), Crescent Avenue (27), 2008
Dan Colen creates mixed-media, sculptural, and painted works that locate interest and magic within the seemingly ordinary and undervalued. Drawing from mass media, local subcultures, and sources such as Walt Disney film stills, he combines the intensity of real life with reflections on the subjects of immanence and belief. His meticulously painted surfaces often replicate scrawls of graffiti, accretions of bird droppings, and absurd slogans on inadvertent monuments and sites, such as in the green-splattered oil painting Bird Shit (2007) and No Sex No War No Me (2006), where the enamel medium resembles spray-painted text. Using debris from the street—ranging from a flip-flop, to paint cans to string—Colen reclaims, scrutinizes, and transforms the everyday object.