Saturday, May 26, 2007

Dan Proops

Dan Proops exhibit at Menier Chocolate Factory; photo by Val Phoenix
Sam's Desktop II
Menier Chocolate Factory
Through 26 May

A painter who plays with notions of the digital age, Dan Proops' latest exhibit is quite clever. Housed in the Chocolate Factory, an old reclaimed space, the show features paintings of familiar computer images such as the Google logo, as well as works that look back to old masters, such as Caravaggio.

I took a shine to Proops' take on Jasper Johns' "Flag", substituting scroll bars and folders for the stars and stripes. It says something about modern life, surely, that the image is still recognisable, even in dull greys and yellows.

In "Caravaggio Censored", Proops depicts John the Baptist in a Caravaggioesque style but then pixellates the model's genitals, creating a startling juxtaposition of classic chiaroscuro colour and modern digital distortion. Other pictures he has done on this theme pixellate more curious facets, such as the earring in "Girl with a Pearl Earring". The practice asks questions about censorship.

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