A huge thank you to Marrow Gallery in San Francisco for introducing us to The Hivery's current featured artist, Dana DeKalb. You may have seen Dana's beautiful work in our space in the last few weeks. We encourage you to take a closer look the next time you are in!
My paintings are rooted in the narrative tradition. I’ve always been fascinated by visual storytelling, especially with legends and myths, but also with comic strips and high school yearbooks. My own stories are told from an outsider’s perspective, the result of years spent as an American living abroad – I was born in Indonesia and spent my childhood as an ex-patriate in first through third world countries. I am a perennial observer, with a deep appreciation for the irony in our mutual misconceptions, as well as for our moments of connection.
In my work I present curious, open-ended narratives that explore the unexpected and exotic in seemingly familiar situations. Using odd props and visual non-sequitors, the subjects apply themselves earnestly to improbable tasks with devotion and good humor, despite a certain discomfort. There is the suggestion of a parable or morality tale in progress but with the lesson left unstated. My intention is that the viewer will become as absorbed in the characters as they are in their tasks, and that perhaps some preconceptions will be gently teased along the way.
The paintings are primarily acrylic and incorporate multiple colored glazes which bathe the action in a sensual, tinted light. The resulting scenes are simultaneously nostalgic and disorienting, reminiscent of antique postcards, theatrical sets or posed museum dioramas. I develop the imagery from combinations of magazine clippings, family photos, pictures from old travel guides and social studies books. Other influences include Asian and European miniatures, terracotta tomb sculpture, early American genre painting and scientific illustration.