Bloom: Dana Flores & Dan McCleary
Mar 3 – Apr 3, 2022
The Telluride Gallery of Fine Art is pleased to present "Bloom," an exhibition featuring the work of Dana Flores and Dan McCleary. Please join us for Telluride's ArtWalk evening on Thursday, March 3, from 5 - 8 pm.
It has been said that the only permanent thing in life is impermanence. The world around us is ever-changing, shifting, growing, and moving, whether we notice it or not. It is all too easy to live unaware of realities that seemingly exist outside our own. Dana Flores and Dan McCleary live differently. These two artists look deeply at day-to-day realities that are momentary and often overlooked. What’s more, they immortalize instances of beauty and capture the essence of the natural world in a way that allows for prolonged enjoyment.
Flores’s inspiration lies in simple objects she discovers in nature such as rocks, leaves, seeds, and flowers. She recognizes that these objects are anything but static and appreciates their every stage. “I love the flower from beginning to end,” she says, revealing the floral affinity she explores in her sculptural ceramic practice. Flores recounts watching a peony open and change color. When the petals eventually fall to the table, she leaves them there as they continue to transform. Similarly, McCleary chooses to focus on the ephemeral with his still-life paintings of fruit and flower arrangements. He places each object with painstaking precision: “Moving a plum a fraction of an inch to the left or right becomes a monumental decision,” he notes. Once his arrangement is in position, he spends as much time staring at it as he does putting it to canvas. He observes shifting shadows, drooping petals, softening stems, and captures them in real-time.
Through entirely different artistic means, Flores and McCleary work in the mindset that though the bloom may be brief, the memory of its beauty must be preserved. Flores chose clay as her preferred medium because of its tactile nature. She enjoys the mess that comes with working with clay and the feel of manually molding the material as she pleases. Since perfection was never her end goal, Flores moved away from the potter’s wheel over time and now primarily focuses on hand-building her forms. She likens the feel of each flower petal in her hand to a meditation, noting that “each stroke and movement across the clay helps me to breathe. I see the beauty in the world, and it always brings me back to my core.”
Through the stillness and solitude of the pandemic and without human subjects to paint, McCleary began to fully focus on still-life practice. “It feels right to focus on things that are so alive and silent,” he wrote in his essay, “Still Life Painting in Quarantine.” His paintings are about the passage of time, and composition and color are of the greatest importance. He deliberately limits his color palette to allow for a more intimate understanding of the colors he sees, staying as true as possible to his observed reality.
“Bloom” brings together two bodies of work that equally celebrate some of the briefest and most beautiful instances in life. Existence is impermanent; transience is inescapable. The works of Dana Flores and Dan McCleary generously provide us with the unique opportunity to linger as long as we’d like in moments that are otherwise temporary.