By Joel Anderson (Art and Poetry Editor)
Lyrical abstraction is classified by free flowing, expressive, loose, and experimental and abstract movements. And those qualities are exemplified in the work of Dan Christensen.
Dan Christensen began his art career in New York City as an abstract painter in the late 60’s. A graduate of the Kansas City Art Institute, Christensen rejected his realism training for the more expressive and freer abstract movement.
Christensen’s early work utilized spray guns. During this phase, Christensen created his “spray loops” series, which are still some of his most famous pieces today. The series is characterized by the look of someone who has been doodling on notebook paper with colored pencils. Christensen was one of the first American painters to popularize the technique.
Christensen’s art work wasn’t limited to just lyrical abstraction. Christensen also painted in Color Field, post-minimalism, and Abstract Expressionism; made famous by one of Christensen’s early influence’s Jackson Pollock.
Some of his most famous paintings from the color field era are his series of paintings called the “Plaid” series. In which Christensen used house painting rollers and window washing squeegees to produce the large square and rectangular images. The Spanierman Gallery LLC describes Christensen’s art as “original, surprising, and filled with joy, exuberance, and pleasure in the act of painting.” Art critic Clement Greenberg described Dan Christensen as “one of the painters on whom the course of American Art depends.”
And it’s not hard to see why. Through his art, and unconventional means of creating it, Christensen has laid the ground work for many modern artists to use the same methods in their own work. In particular, his lines from his spray paint era are clear in the modern computer graphic design from today.
In 2001, a retrospective of Christensen’s art was displayed at the Butler Institute of American Art, in Youngstown, OH. Christensen has permanent exhibits at The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York City, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Washington, DC., the Chicago Art Institute, the Nelson-Atkins Museum Kansas City, Missouri, Boca Raton Museum of Art and dozens of others.
Although he tried moving away from the style he pioneered, Christensen will still be closely associated with the spray paint art from his early career. It still leaps with excited exuberance from when it was created in the 60s.