Dana Piazza received a BFA Magna Cum Laude from the School of Art+Design at Purchase College in 2010. His work was recently exhibited at Gallery 263, Limner Gallery, and The Arts Center of the Capital Region. He will be shown at Geoffrey Young Gallery, Muriel Guépin Gallery, and Room 68 in December 2017, and at Albany Center Gallery in 2018.
In addition to creating artwork, Piazza has provided graphic design services for Ellsworth Kelly Studio and MASS MoCA, and worked as an artist assistant for LoVid. Currently, he is the Gallery Manager of Sohn Fine Art Gallery, in Lenox Massachusetts.
My recent work consists of handmade ink drawings on paper. The drawing process is repetitive, continuous, and driven by a pre-determined set of instructions.
Each drawing begins the same way: by choosing the type of mark to repeat. This determination is strongly influenced by the characteristics of the pen. For example, a brush pen naturally draws triangles; a chisel-tipped pen naturally draws squares. Yielding control to the tools empowers them with a Ouija board sense of free will.
Once the type of mark is chosen, it’s repeated over and over in an interlocking pattern, akin to weaving. Each new mark strives to match the previous mark as closely as possible—but subtle, human variations always occur. Subsequent marks inherit these irregularities like genetics. Over time, a small error will perpetually grow into a larger fold or ripple.
Once the quantity of repeated marks exceeds a certain threshold, the marks converge into a single gestalt—like cells forming a living organism. Each drawing is named after the type of mark that it’s made of.
Continuous drawing forces mark placement to be an automatic, split-second determination. It’s similar to how a runner’s foot placement happens instinctually, without thinking. Speed helps reduce second-guessing and hesitation. There’s a rhythmic, mantra quality in this way of drawing. After warming up, it becomes a flow-state, like a runner who’s found their stride.
This conceptual algorithmic approach is a means to limit the frequency of conscious, subjective interventions and influences over the drawing’s own natural, self-determining progression. Under this minimal stewardship, each drawing grows freely like an ivy.