CARBONDALE ” Though their meaning might not be immediately apparent, there’s something about Dan Giese’s petite, richly hued paintings that is fascinating. A mixture of organic and geometric shapes, they feel womanly and natural, yet futurist and urban.
They’re not didactic, hitting you over the head with an obvious meaning. That, Giese thinks, is all for the better. While the Wisconsin native (and former Brooklyn and Snowmass Village resident) has his own reasons and themes and meanings behind these pieces, he doesn’t want to tell anyone how to feel about them.
To him, that’s not what this kind of sharing is about.
When did you first know that you were an artist? “I’m still not sure that I know it. But it was one of those things, like way back, in fifth grade, I got some moderate praise for just, like drawing some stuff. I think that was maybe the start where I was interested in images conveying some sort of meaning or excitement. From then on, I loved to draw, just like planes or cars or whatever. And I just kept going and thought, ‘Well, maybe there’s a line of work in this, and I’ll go to school for it.’ But once I got into school, I sort of steered away from the commercial side of things and just was more interested in the pursuit of visual aesthetics, you know, semantics, stuff like that. … People want to get some sort of idea of what is in my head. This is what I propose. This is how I present a lot of my ideas. And so it’s not something that’s forced on anyone. If they want to see it and think it, they can come to the work and see that it is, it’s just shared experience, I think, as opposed to just a dictation of my thoughts.”
So, what part of you are you sharing with this? “I would say that this is a little bit of my ” rebellion sounds a little, I don’t know, naive ” it’s a movement in opposition to branding and corporate advertising and the way that, I think, desire and sex is sort of pushed on people in order to create some sort of want, some sort of need. … There’s definitely a subliminal sort of thing that sort of happens. And I kind of want to push back against that. I want beauty to be more for beauty’s sake and more for the sake of intellectual and aesthetic enjoyment, furtherance of your own capacity, as opposed to making you want to buy something. Which, I don’t know, seems somewhat, uh, relevant, in these particularly rough financial straits.”
What would you love people to take away from these pieces? “That’s not quite something I’ve thought about before. In making artwork, I think I’ve always wanted people to come away with some sense of freedom, about creating the meaning of their own lives. You’re free to interpret life however you want and, I think, if looking at a painting is a seed for them, I think that’s great.”
What draws you to these womanly shapes? “That’s sort of a classic sense of aesthetics. We base all of our design decisions on proportion, and there’s a lot of that golden mean just within your body. And I don’t know if I love curves because I like the shapes of women’s bodies or I like the shape of women’s bodies because of the shapes of the curves. It comes hand-in-hand, sort of. There’s something nice, in my mind, about just the shapes of rounded, organic figures. … There’s also a bit of a sci-fi narrative going on in my mind when I paint, and it’s not fully fleshed out yet. In some of my darker moments, I envision this sort of post-apocalyptic thing where there’s just a few sort of half-man, half-machines ” it’s very terminator like ” but in, at least a couple of these, there’s a sort of this attached view finder to the head of the figure. But the woman there (gesturing to one of his pieces) has like this accentuated view finder, enchanted vision, sort of looking either into the future or into the schematics of the world, and I think because, partially, we’re visual beings, we’re visual and audio-oriented, that will have to be part of our evolution, our way forward, how we see things.”
What would you say is the most important thing in your life ” as an artist or also just as a person? “That’s hard to say. I definitely feel these needs, one of them being to produce something, be productive. And art fits into that in a way that is non-industrial. People, I think, are most important, just because that’s where you get, that’s where I get, nourishment of thoughts and different perspectives and love ” and yeah, even criticism. That’s just as important as caring and stuff. It’s like, to be a concerned adjusted human being, you have to be in touch with the people around you. So yeah, people, people are important. Art comes in second, I guess. It’s a way to communicate with people, a way to share.
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