Danny First has been exploring sculpture for the past five years; first working in clay and more recently in bronze, to create whimsical busts. He has also developed a body of work utilizing reclaimed / recycled materials to create functional benches which incorporate text reflecting First’s droll sense of humor. Whether it is figurative or utilitarian in nature, First’s work is light and unpretentious. Informed by art history and the tradition of creating sculptural forms, First’s sculpture reflects the artist’s optimistic view of life.
Often, an artist's list of influences and references becomes predictable--if he is clearly influenced by one forebear, he will likely subscribe to that person's school, and an astute viewer can tease out subsequent connections. Not so Danny First. First starts from a classic stance--sculptures of Everyman, presenting viewers with tabulae rasa upon which to project one's own qualities. The effect is sublimely subtle, and gives viewers an additional hook upon which to hang their personal hats--we are all of us naifs at base, and First seems to revel in both the sadness and the humor of this. He acts as a guide for the viewer, but one who stays relatively mute throughout a tour, allowing his audience to puzzle over the very things as to which we think explanation should either be easy or forthcoming. After spending time with First's heads, one realizes that neither is the case--the truth is us, and the split-second reaction that First captures in his portrayals is the most innocent, the least edited of all. His Everyman is not purely blank, then--but as to why First leaves unsaid. His are portraits of the universal and the undefined--but still manage to carry a heavy pedigree, creating a polar experience of both gravity and levity.
The Minimalists: Donald, Tony, and Carl, 2011, Bronze, Edition of 5
32 1/2 x 16 x 12 inches each, 72 1/2 x 16 x 12 (including base)
Manfred, 2011, Painted ceramic on painted plywood base, Unique
24 x 16 x 12 inches, 68 x 15 x 12 (including base)
Abram, 2011, Painted ceramic on painted plywood base, Unique
24 x 16 x 12 inches, 68 x 15 x 15 (including base)
Leroy, 2011, Bronze, Edition of 5
23 x 16 x 12 inches, 32 x 16 x 12 (including base)
On Hold For A Bigger Collector Than You, 2011, Laser-cut, recycled plastics, Edition of 15
32 x 26 x 24 inches
Please Wait To Be Seated, 2011, Laser-cut, recycled plastics, Edition of 15
32 x 26 x 24 inches