Dan Christensen - Red-Red, 1968 (detail)

Dan Christensen

Abstract Expressionism, Lyrical Abstraction

July 27, 2013

Dan Christensen was an American abstract painter best known for his unfettered use of color in various styles, including Color Field painting, Lyrical Abstraction and Abstract Expressionism. In his swirling, ribbon-like line paintings, he explored the limits, range, and possibilities of paint and pictorial form.

Born in Cozad, Nebraska, in 1942, Christensen decided to become an artist when, as a teenager, he saw the work of Jackson Pollock on a trip to Denver. After receiving his B.F.A. from the Kansas City Art Institute, Missouri, in 1964, he moved to New York City. There, he became part of a large circle of young artists who had come to Manhattan during the 1960s.

Christensen came to prominence with "spray loop" paintings, produced by using a spray paint gun, characterized by powerful ribbon-like configurations and shimmering allover surface effects. Reversing the trend brought on by minimalism’s reduction of art, these works heralded the revitalization of painting as a visceral experience. His work progressed in several directions, continuing to create luminous marks in his pieces using a variety of applicators like squeegees, brooms, and spray paint guns.

Featured image: Dan Christensen – Red-Red, 1968 (detail). Acrylic on canvas. 90 x 120 in. 228.6 x 304.8 cm. Photo courtesy Berry Campbell Gallery