Netherlands-based artist Daniel Mullen merges color with geometry in his exquisite abstract paintings. Massive planes of color appear to rush forward from deep within the canvas, fanning into designs that lead the viewer's eyes across the beige-toned canvas. The layers, although delicate on their own, add together to create visual depth.
Originally from Scotland, Mullen received his BFA from Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam, a school associated with the Bauhaus movement. There, he became fascinated with modernist architecture and explored how perspective can organize color, light, hue, and depth in his paintings. “My work examines light, space, and phenomenology through the medium of painting,” Mullen tells My Modern Met. “I sketch by hand on exposed linen and then paint these ever-evolving spatial forms. The thin translucent layers of color contrast with the hard-edged lines, which then invites the viewer into a tonal field—offering an encounter with spatial and one might say almost spiritual phenomena.”
Mullen cites color field painter Mark Rothko as an inspiration and has been examining how color affects our senses. “Color is a fundamental aspect of experiencing our inner and outer lives,” the artist says. “It is a mode of communication so primal as to be inextricable from the building block of the natural world and how it communicates. Before we perceive anything specific, we feel and see color.” As a result, Mullen's body of work focuses on what happens when perspective and color fields interact.
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