Studio Visit with Danielle Orchard
Danielle Orchard is a painter living and working in Brooklyn New York. Orchard is represented by Jack Hanley Gallery and is a member of the artist run curatorial collective, Underdonk which is based in Bushwick, Brooklyn.
I recently did a studio visit with Dani and we spoke about painting, habits, work ethic, rejection and much more. Dani is a true painter and one that does not fuss around in the studio; her paintings are direct, yet sensitive and secretive all at once.
The figures, mostly female, are often doing every day activities like bathing, smoking, reading and sometimes kissing. There is something sweet about the portraiture in her work. In a very private way it makes me feel like I’m being let into the home of friends and strangers across generations.
I asked Dani about the cigarette I often see as a subject in her work. She noted that the cigarette form is a simple subject that allows her to play with color in an economical way while also referencing an unpopular habit. In doing so, Orchard demonstrates the way that painting is so powerful and relevant today.
Color and form flushes out the shape of a habit that speaks of social etiquette and of health all at once. Cadmium red, tan, white and brown in one swipe denote conversations we have all had at some point. It unlocks the intimidating and often academic language of painting and allows anyone to latch on, and maybe see his or her story in her work.
Rejection, the title of one painting Orchard debuted at Jack Hanley this spring, shows a female figure in a bathtub seemingly in despair or just purely exhausted. Living and working in New York can be hard, being an artist adds another substantial layer to that. The idea that every spring artists open up their mail and receive rejection letters and bills all at once paints the picture we all may feel at one time or another.
Her work moves and flows; it doesn’t stay still and I wouldn’t want it to. Ever since Bonnard (1867-1947) painted the every day in such a masterful way we have all been aware how important it is to sit with the mundane, sometimes sad, or ordinary parts of our lives.
In 2018 Dani Orchard is doing this in a fresh and human way, using yellows, reds and light blues along with fragmented human forms to jar my sense of time and place. I’m never quite sure what time frame these exist in, but somehow that is okay. I still look and feel empathy, curiosity and joy for the females, the books, the flowers and even the cigarette’s in her paintings.
In her recent solo show at Jack Hanley, ‘A little louder love’ which was reviewed in the New York Times, Orchard debuted a successful body of work and is gearing up towards more shows in the 2018-2019 year ahead. I encourage you to follow her and her beautiful paintings along.