It is almost impossible to truly explain the feeling of being in a mosh pit while your favorite band is rocking out, or to convey with words the ecstasy of a rave party when you’re surrounded by a sea of bodies all moving to the same beat. Dan Witz uses art in an attempt to project these out-of-body experiences and capture the fleeting moments of utter chaos and disorder which, somehow, create the harmony of coexistence and signify some of the most visceral involvements in the contemporary society. For more than 30 years now, Witz has managed to build quite a career behind his name. The rebellious and provocative nature of his work is once more celebrated by the amazing Jonathan LeVine Gallery in a new show of Witz’s latest artworks, entitled Mosh Pits, Raves and One Small Orgy.
From his roots in the street art movement to a remarkable studio practice, Dan Witz has developed a versatile style which incorporates both modern, digital and old master techniques. Being a member of a noise band back in his twenties, the artist was able to experience the unspoken allure of the “organized” chaos and disorder which fluctuates between the members of the band and the crowd. During this period, he also had the chance to tour Europe and visit the old master museums, which significantly influenced his artistic career. Merging old master style realism and the rebellious spirit of anarchy, punk and street art nature, resulted with something quite extraordinary. The ritualized violence of the mosh pits depicted with almost hyperrealistic paintings sucks the viewers in and transports them into the scene of mayhem. Witz’s practice usually consists of him first taking photographs from practically inside the action, and then digitally printing the files in monochrome onto the canvas, when the painstaking process of painting actually begins.
Stepping a bit further away from his usual subject of the hardcore scene, Witz created a new body of works which focuses on rave scenes. As in the essential characters of the two sub-cultures, violence is significantly more present in the hardcore spectrum of the music and scene, while the rave parties overflow with euphoria and drifting away from reality. This shift is also evident in the artist’s careful use of illumination and tones which compose a significantly different feel and atmosphere in the rave scenes. Taking things even further in this direction, Witz also created sexually explicit, yet quite subtle depictions of orgies where numerous nude bodies are interlocked in a communal experience of sexual pleasure. Well beyond the immensely realistic technique and almost photorealistic depictions of the human body in all its forms, shapes and sizes, paintings of Witz capture an unspoken sensation of visceral experience. When asked in an interview once, what was the hardest part of the human body to paint, Witz answered the Soul…
Building upon his signature approach to painting, Dan Witz fuses art style of the old masters with subjects of the modern society. New themes in his latest body of works include rave parties and orgy scenes, depicted through his usual style of realistic interpretation of the human form. The extensive formal training and studying of fine art and design, combined with a unique approach to painting of contemporary subjects, has granted Dan Witz the status of one of the most prominent artists of today. His latest series of works are on view in the new exhibition entitled Mosh Pits, Raves and One Small Orgy, on view April 2 - April 30, 2016, at Jonathan LeVine Gallery in New York. The opening reception is scheduled for Saturday, April 2, 6-8pm. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to enjoy the new work by this remarkably versatile and unique artist, as his paintings will transport you right into the heart of chaos, lust and ecstasy.
All images courtesy of Jonathan LeVine Gallery
Featured image: Dan Witz - Dan Witz - A Small Orgy (detail)
Jersey City, United States of America