This past weekend I had the joy of viewing Hoboken artist, Daniel Morowitz’s first solo show titled Young and Hung, up the Hudson at the Beacon Artist Union (bau Gallery) in Beacon, New York. The show featured 14 paintings either done in oil or acrylic paints (or both), most on canvas. According to bau, they consisted of intimate images of the artist and his boyfriend, alone and together, usually in the bedroom with the addition of more explicit imagery referenced from the internet. The show is structured as a narrative—a series of events of perhaps one particular evening. The portrayals straddle between displays of intimacy and the act of sex along with the moments that could precede or follow and are seemingly presented chronologically. The subjects are set in an atmosphere that reflects the darkness in mood of a dimly lit bedroom to a sudden dreamlike vibrancy of color characterizing the heat of intenser moments.
With this show Morowitz takes us on an extremely intimate journey. Before entering the main gallery we are introduced to a painting, titled, Invitation. It shows a figure sitting, waiting for our arrival and as if we are to know what the subject is thinking by the artist’s careful use of red within the largely cool relaxed pose as if we are looking at a heat map or infrared thermography of his body. It is through the use of color that Morowitz often relies on to represent the changing intensity of the scene. In the setting of the paintings we see darker, more earthy tones in the quiet scenes in the bedroom but then brighter, livelier colors as the figures engage each other. Additionally, splotches of flat color are often employed to characterize the emotional sensations experienced by the subjects—I imagine as the way it would look when one would see stars from getting hit on the head. The shapes of the figures also morph into a more abstract forms as the activity increases—whether it be physical or psychological. The abstraction intensifies along with the height of the encounter and in what can be seen as a climactic scene in the painting, New Eden Lunch, a beautiful rhythm is achieved most notably by the ribbons of paint flowing through the figures. The luminosity increases to an almost pastel palette with the delight of the moment as the figures are transported out of the familiar dark sanctuary of the bedroom into the bright as day euphoria of orgasm.
As the narrative plays out and as I engaged each and every painting I couldn’t help to imagine the thoughts and emotions of the artist and his partner and the ecstasy or awkward uncomfortableness of each moment. The show was a truly sensory trip and I highly recommend checking it out for yourselves and see it as a whole as the artist intended.
Christopher G. Coleman
Daniel Morowitz's work is showing at bau each Saturday and Sunday through February 5. Gallery is open 12-5pm.
Beacon Artist Union (bau Gallery) is at 506 Main Street, Beacon, NY 12508. Please contact the gallery for more information.
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