The Drawers - Daniel Erban  Commentary written by Julie Oakes

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Perpetuating images of horror in their simplest primitive imaginings, almost as if they were done by a child which makes the horror more horrific, signifies intent. If the intent is to shock, it doesn't always work for often the response to Daniel Erban's work is a reactionary identification with it, an exclamatory response that has an affirmative rather than a negative reaction - perhaps because the resulting pieces are stunning. Tutored to accept our dark side from the time of Freud onwards, a mature acceptance of negative imaging is almost common place from the perspective of an educated viewer. It's hard to shock in the light of media coverage. A regal depiction of horror, in fact, becomes attractive and the need to act out horror is nullified by the satisfaction of understanding it and with discretionary caution, embracing it. Acceptance of the dark side through visual knowledge allows the opportunity to vicariously purge any notions of violence and disgust. Daniel Erban's work is morally responsible work. It accepts the sorry condition of aborted philosophies and like the needles poked in a voodoo doll, the substitute effigy suffices to pierce the heart of the contemporary conscience.

The abstraction helps to distance for the immediate impression almost misses the subject. This is the 'stunning' aspect. Although the stark, bold, graphic depictions of severing, hanging, vomiting, and obliterating brutality is unavoidably understood, there is a security in the position of the viewer for witnessing is not participating in the violence. Or is it? By accepting Daniel Erban's work, is the horror being endorsed? No, absolutely no! The shameful truth of a mitigated existence is further understood and by acknowledging the crass it loses power. The evil is not allowed to creep up and catch, unawares, a blithe compatriot. Instead the common passion for art ignites compassion, empathy and recognition that this twisted depiction of existence resonates and rings, sadly, true. The work is blatantly honest.

Letting out the psychological stops to slash, rip, and seemingly torture with a heavy black line on blood red paper or thick hand-made tablets, Daniel Erban's work is simultaneously disturbing and thrilling. He has committed strange and horrid thoughts to paper. He has raised the primal fear of unleashed violence like an unavoidable predator stalking a dream and creating the specters of nightmares.

Copyright 2006,  Headbones Gallery, The Drawers