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Daniel Gordon Looks Back

August 12, 2016

How does an artist keep it interesting in the studio? In his Windsor Terrace workspace in Brooklyn, photographer Daniel Gordon reflects on his decade-long commitment to intensive practice and artistic invention. Gordon creates one of his signature “constructed tableau” works—exuberantly colorful still lifes meticulously collaged out of discarded pieces of paper, that are in turn photographed. Thinking back to his earliest student works, Gordon says, “Back then I was trying to figure out what my voice was and I was also just kind of learning how to make stuff physically . . . I think it became more interesting to show the crumpled paper and the handmade stuff.”

In the studio next door Gordon’s wife, sculptor Ruby Sky Stiler, shares a similar dedication to craft and experimentation, acknowledging the psychological difficulty of a day in, day out studio practice where inspiration is never a certainty. “I’ve been in a stage for a couple of months where I haven’t been able to figure out where I want to go. And you have to be delusional to keep coming back everyday to make more failures,“ says Stiler.

Back in Gordon’s studio, we see the results of his most recent push towards something new, an ingenious layering of abstract shapes that humorously reference a human portrait. “I think the real question is how can you continue to work and continue to be truly invested and truly interested in what you’re doing,” says the artist. “And, for me, the only way to do that is to try new things—to invent new ways of making pictures.”

More information and credits


Art21 New York Close Up Created & Produced by: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Director & Co-Producer: RAVA Films. Cinematography & Editing: Rafael Salazar & Ava Wiland. Design & Graphics: Open & Uros Perisic. Artwork Courtesy: Daniel Gordon. Music Courtesy: Podington Bear. Thanks: Ruby Sky Stiler. An Art21 Production. © Art21, Inc. 2016. All rights reserved.

Art21 New York Close Up is supported, in part, by The Lambent Foundation; the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; and by individual contributors.

Closed captionsAvailable in English, German, Romanian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Italian

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Daniel Gordon

Daniel Gordon was born in 1980 in Boston, Massachusetts, was raised in San Francisco, California, and lives and works in New York. Gordon creates works that dissolve distinctions between collage, photography, and sculpture. His practice involves culling images from the Internet, digitally altering them, and using them to construct tableaus, which he then photographs. His ability to integrate digital and analog images creates a joyful disorientation in which fiction and truth are indistinguishable from each other.

Ruby Sky Stiler

Ruby Sky Stiler was born in 1979 in Portland, Maine, and lives and works in New York City. Her monochromatic sculptures and reliefs draw upon a wide range of cultural references, evoking the forms of classical antiquities and the fractured aesthetic of Cubist painting and collage.

“I’m interested to see where the line between a photograph, and a painting, and a sculpture lies.”

Daniel Gordon

Bridging Digital and Analog

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