Dani Leventhal is an Ohio-based visual artist who works in video, installation, and drawing. Her work is an accumulation of moments- collected, cut, pared down and reassembled- that yield narratives both mundane and profound. Culling from her life and the lives of those around her, Leventhal juxtaposes found and created images to produce secondary and tertiary sensory landscapes that are challenging, beautiful, unnerving and tender. Her videos and two dimensional works are at times diaristic, confessional, and analytic, providing a perspective of where the stories of individuals overlap and intertwine.
Through an intuitive process of collaging images and material, Leventhal’s works on paper incorporate personal and found photographs, film stills, paper fragments, fur and found objects, and marks made in oil, wax, and watercolor. These works mirror the thematic overtones of her films, including an insistence on physicality and empathic experience. Her collages transform time-based notions into tactile and physical totems. By cutting and cropping images taken from her own videos, sculptures, and installations, her collages are assembled from cross-disciplinary materials, in the language of cinematic montage.
In Leventhal’s work, drawing is used as a means to texture and unify images. With concentric marks mimicking fences, boundary walls, and the rings of water surrounding the site of a dropped rock, these marks radiate and represent the impact and the interpersonal relationships of friends, family, and community. These marks serve as the function of echoes- time-based, multi-generational narratives of behaviors and how the process of learning is through the every day.
Probing topics that range from the banal to the brutal, the domestic to the spiritual, Leventhal’s work is life-based. Deeply personal and interrogatory, Leventhal makes visible the unspoken, delicate, and tenuous binding relationships that separate and unify. Working with themes including childhood, aging, homelessness, sexuality, grief and caregiving, her work reminds us what it means to be human: to care for, tend to and create space for each other.
Dani Leventhal (B.1972, Columbus, Ohio) has recently screened at the 2017 Whitney Biennial, Rotterdam International Film Festival, NYFF Projections, Oberhausen, The Ann Arbor Film Festival, Union Docs, PS1, The Nightingale, Everson Museum and Anthology Film Archives. She is the recipient of a Wexner Film/Video Residency Award, the Kazuko Trust, the Eileen Maitland Award and the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice Visual Arts Grant. In 2003 she received an MFA in sculpture from the University of Illinois at Chicago and in 2009 an MFA in film/video from Bard College. Her drawings are in the permanent collections of Yale University and the Museum of Modern Art.