Daniel Rich’s Rich Absence in an Exploration of “Parallels”

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Miles McEnery Gallery, NYC // February 08, 2024 – March 23, 2024

Daniel Rich has made a career showing us a richness of life through displays of absence. There is something marvelous about what we create, the structures we house ourselves in, the things we make to have the world move around us. For years, Rich has constructed paintings of grand and familar buildings, stripped of humans and almost logos of what we know of the structures in our lives. Empty stadiums, midtown Manhattan skyscrapers, post-Soviet Brutalist monuments, all alone, all without man or woman, just solidly in our consciousness. We made this. We make these things. 

There is a shift here in Rich’s subject matter. Gone are the grand facades and enter the entryways, the paths, the staircases, the shelves; the infrastructure of going somewhere or maybe just going nowhere. For Parallels, Rich’s new show at Miles McEnery Gallery in NYC, the minimal works evoke deeper understandings of office culture, these pathways of moving from place to place, of holding information, of how and where wait out our workday. There are stairs, yes, elevators, books, shelves, waiting areas at takeaway restaurants, all Bauhausian in their construction. Rich notes these feelings of “apprehensive, invited, voyeuristic… Interiors have the potential to evoke meaning for the viewer as well as for the artist.” Based on his photography and research, these works feel like places you have been, maybe forgot, maybe over-looked. 

I don’t know if Rich created Parallels to evoke the feeling of the old ways we used to work, we used to kill time, we used to count the clock before we got on our trains, in our cars, walked home. But these works give me an emotional rollercoaster of a response about why we built these places, where we go from here and what did we actually leave behind. It feels just like a parallel universe now. —Evan Pricco

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