For his first solo exhibition, “Yes, yes I will,” Los Angeles-based artist Dané Estes presents oil-on-canvas paintings, mostly unstretched, works on paper and a wooden wall relief, all of which, though made in the past year, contain elements that make them feel much older. Before beginning the purely painted aspects of each work, the artist creates a dynamic, textured surface that lends the pieces a sense of age. As a result, the canvases appear like found objects with a former life before the oil even hits the canvas. In a work like La Tempesta III, 2022, smudged surfaces top layered, repetitive lines that yearn to escape the canvas, telling a story of yearning for and leaning into another space and even time.
Each of the show’s works from the titular series “Yes, yes I will” features bold, playful, squiggly lines on raw canvas. Some paintings recall fire, others a storm, and all have a frenzied motion in them, the result of chance-based gestural mark-making. As the title indicates, there is an assuredness to these particular works. Estes is confident in his stroke. “I will” also implies futurity— something was done, and something will also be done later, and the viewer resides in the middle of that energetic exchange. The drawings on view are similarly self-certain. Many drawn on crinkled book pages, again incorporating aged elements to balance their shiny newness, these oil-on-paper works use thick, intersecting black strokes to convey both a clear mark as well as a more exploratory, vulnerable line, seen particularly in Dionysian Study, XXXVI, 2022.
“Yes, yes I will” is rounded out by Self-Portrait, 2023, a wall relief comprised of found wood, tar, oil paint, and steel. Here Estes goes full throttle with the nod to the past—we see nails and screws from days of yore, and the artist himself added paint and charcoal to further antiquify the bars and blocks, which are themselves remnants of a former sculpture he once made. This is how Estes portrays himself—an admixture of many older elements, including the many older artists to whom he is indebted, and who push him forward into the certain “yes” of something new.
Dané Estes (born 1988, Dover, NH) is a Los Angeles-based painter and sculptor. He studied fashion at Parsons – The New School, New York. His sculptural mixed media works include oil paint, charcoal, tar, and wood. Estes’ two-dimensional works range from large-scale bold, layered, gestural oil-on-canvas paintings to more intimate oil stick-on-paper drawings. These pieces include smudges, squiggles, and meandering lines, often restricted to two or three colors or tones. There is a force to the artist’s gesture, as well as a softness, and the repetitive nature of his lines imply a seeking or searching, so that the viewer experiences the dynamic process of art-making, rather than a static, stagnant piece. As a result, Estes’ works continue to move as we enter into the space with them. His first solo exhibition is with Simchowitz Gallery DTLA.