The Impossible Sublime Forms of Dan Perkins

Dan Perkins’ paintings revolve around color and shape. Reminding of an optical illusion of sorts, his work might seem at first digitally made, but is, in fact, the result of oil paints (or, occasionally, gouache) on canvas.

But when it comes to picking just the right colors for each piece, Perkins relies on the computer. โ€œMost of my palettes start digitally: cropping, editing, distilling down colors from photos that I have taken, or gathered,” he relayed in an interview with Art of Choice. “I keep a running catalog of source material, mostly digital these days, but occasionally physical,โ€ he says.

Interested in optical shape play, his paintings evolved over time from image towards absolute abstraction. โ€œBy and large the images describe the natural world in some sense,” he says. “Increasingly, Iโ€™ve been investigating color and light at night, nocturnes in a sense.โ€

Based in Brooklyn, he treats color as a constant source of inspiration. โ€œFor me, the sublime and its shifting cultural definition has been a theme in my work, tangentially or directly, for many years,” he adds. “I often think of my current work as attempting to describe impossible sublime forms. Forms that seduce and reward; hopefully inviting the viewer to linger long enough to slowly tease out their logic.โ€

Enter his optical worlds:

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