Originally from Pittsburgh, Fred Danziger is a Philadelphia based painter whose work I have long admired, and who I wrote about previously in 2012.
Danziger’s subject matter ranges from cityscapes, rich with city lights and city dwellers, to contemplative landscapes, so calm as to seem as far away from the bustle of the city as possible. Over his history as a painter, he has also taken on a variety of other subjects and a range of approaches.
All of his work, though, strikes me as a product of focused observation, a keen sense of seeing what’s there, and perhaps through that, what may be hidden past the surface.
I’m particularly drawn to his sometimes large scale portrayals of little areas of the natural world — ripples of rain on the surface of a forest pool, a few leaves floating on a creek, beads of rain clinging to blades of grass or seashells gathered in a subtle circle of light.
His rendering of natural forms is often rich with a variety of colors; reds, greens, oranges, yellows and violets can be seen in a single tree trunk, yet they are handled with such a command of color and value that they read true as naturalistic forms.
I also find that his intimate glimpses of nature hint of the transformative power of quiet contemplation; and somehow, that carries over into his urban scenes, at though the shimmering city lights and movement of the people are just another expression of the natural world.
I’ve seen Danziger’s work in person before, but I was pleased to have the opportunity to meet him a few days ago at the opening of his new solo show at the F.A.N Gallery here in Philadelphia.
He works in gouache as well as in oil, and I had a chance to talk with him about that, as well as about his inspiration for painting subjects in general.
The show is a treat for those in the area who can get to see it, combining some of his larger works, which are often finished to a high degree, with some smaller, more informal plein air pieces, both of the local area and of Maine.
As galleries close and move out of the “Old City” area of Philadelphia that once featured numerous galleries and a thriving artist community, the F.A.N Gallery remains a bastion of exceptional representational art in Philadelphia. (If you can stop in to see the show, climb the little circular staircase to see more of the gallery regulars upstairs.)
Fred Danziger – Recent Work will be on display at the F.A.N. Gallery until October 27th, 2018. During that time the artist will be in the gallery each Saturday from 2-4 pm.
In addition to the selection of Danziger’s work on the gallery’s website, there is an extensive archive of his work on his own website.