IN AND AROUND MONOCHROME, BY CARL BELZ - LEFT BANK ART BLOG, MARCH 12, 2012

The pleasures that accrue to Daniel Levine’s paintings are of a different order, they’re delicate, ethereal. Their rarefied atmosphere is circumscribed by rigorously defined and scrupulously observed parameters: Levine paints only with primary colors and white, each monochrome is contained by a razor-sharp border of raw canvas, all of the pictures are minimally off-square. In a 2004 statement, he wrote, “I’m not motivated by objects, but by the idea of them.” In conversation with John Zinsser earlier this year, Levine referred to his own paintings as being “inherently internalized”, and he further acknowledged, “…my paintings aren’t ‘outwardly friendly’…” Asked about his influences, he referenced Philip Guston, John McLaughlin and Myron Stout as “…the ‘Father, Son and Holy Ghost.” Asked why he titled his pictures, he commented, “…people have names for God.” Yet, both his statement and his conversation are sprinkled with references to punk and popular culture, notable among them, Iggy and the Stooges and Tuesday Weld. In response to this devil-or-angel conundrum, I’d say the pictures’ significance is pretty clear. If I imagine being with one of them, in my home, say, I see myself in a private space, a space for meditation beatified by the painting’s austere and otherworldly presence, a space outside of which beckoning demons may hover, but they’re kept at bay by the radiant, life-giving light of the picture’s surface, leaving me at peace—with myself, with the world.

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