Attoe’s paintings depict natural wonders — waterfalls, beaches, mountains, rocky cliffs, over-sized forests — populated by tiny figures spouting even tinier diaristic missives, hand-painted in silver and culled from the artist's stream of consciousness. The miniature humans disrupt the grandeur of nature; their small stature and utterances pull the viewer from the beauty of the landscape. His drawings share the same concerns but inverted — the phrases and disconnected images, often cartoonish, are larger, swirling around painstakingly-rendered small-scaled narrative vignettes. Attoe makes a small drawing every day that he keeps for himself — the drawings in this show expand upon this practice, employing images, ideas and phrases that might not serve as the primary source for increasingly pared down (but still gloriously sumptuous) canvasses. In a review in Art In America in 2014, Sue Taylor writes “the forest settings in his paintings thus constitute a kind of day residue, making him seem a regionalist who functions psychically and symbolically.” And in The Portland Oregonian, John Motley observes that each of the works on paper “features a small graphite drawing at the center with loosely connected embellishments rippling outward. Multiple drawing styles reinforce the varying perspectives on youth and childhood, from pure, storybook fantasy to a less-innocent complexity, where fear and sexuality mingle.” Attoe said in a recent interview, “The landscape can be enjoyed for its beauty, and the disparity between it and the figures, but it also exists in service to these contemporary people in funny or ordinary clothing saying everyday things about e-mails or engaging in interpersonal clumsiness.”
Dan Attoe’s most recent solo shows were Recent Landscapes at Half Gallery in New York (reviewed in BlouinArtInfo); Landscapes with Water, at Peres Projects in Berlin (reviewed in Frieze); and Dan Attoe at 1430 Contemporary in Portland (reviewed in Art in America). He has been in numerous group shows in galleries and museums in the United States and Europe. He worked with and was part of the inspiration for a line of clothing by fashion designer Adam Kimmel in 2011. Attoe is also one of the founders of Paintallica, an artist collective that has presented performative installations across the country, as well as Barneys New York and the Iowa State Fair. Dan Attoe’s work has been written about and featured in Artforum, The Los Angeles Times, Art Review, The Journal, Flash Art, Berlin Art Journal, PAPERMAG and The New York Times. Born in 1975 in Bremerton, Washington, Attoe grew up in parts of Washington, Idaho, Minnesota and Wisconsin, and now lives and works in Washougal, Washington. He received his BFA from the University of Wisconsin in 1998 and his MFA from the University of Iowa in 2004.