Dan Colen (b. 1979 in Leonia, New Jersey) graduated with a BFA in painting from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2001. A painter, sculptor, and installation artist, he uses lowbrow ephemera such as bird droppings and chewing gum and explores the potential of these materials, unbound by the controlled approach of conventional paint.
Colen’s works explore the extent of the artist’s involvement in his work – to what extent is the product the result of the artist’s own hand, and to what extent is it governed by the forces of nature and its physical and psychological context? He draws upon themes of sub-cultural language, mass media, and urban life, heightening the neglected into a position of glory that invokes wonder and mystery. Colen says that through the glorification of these materials, his goal is to “equalize the world to say there is no high and low.”
Dan Colen’s work has been shown in numerous institutions including Dallas Contemporary, Gagosian Gallery (London, New York), the New Museum (New York), and MoMA PS1 (Queens). He lives in Manhattan and works in Red Hook, Brooklyn and upstate New York.
RxART worked with Dan Colen to create an installation throughout the Activity Center at St. Mary’s Hospital for Children in Bayside, New York. His work is also featured in our Coloring Book Between the Lines, Vol. 2.