Daniel Rich
Systematic Anarchy

January 23 – March 15, 2014
at Peter Blum 57th Street

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Caught in the Middle of Irony and Tragedy

The Wall Street Journal

Daniel Rich (b. 1977) paints architecture the way that architects build it: on top of a sturdy, underlying armature, the exterior parts added with the click-click-click precision of metal-and-glass panels being bolted into place. Of course, it helps that Mr. Rich's astutely chosen subjects -- in a lovingly installed show consisting of just five pictures -- are big, late-industrial projects. They include a dusty-pink office building in Kaliningrad, the Russian enclave lying between Poland and Lithuania; close-ups of Lloyd's of London and the Notorious Foxconn headquarters in China; an aerial view of Tokyo, and a look inside a giant Amazon book warehouse that might as well be a city in itself.

"Tokyo" (2013), with its eerily people-free blue and gray buildings punctuated with shafts of rusty red and buttery yellow, and "Amazon Books" (2013), a dizzying vista of ink-and-paper volumes that may make you resolve to read only on a digital tablet from here on out, are the two best works -- probably because their hard-edge paint application lends them an alluring sharpness. The bits of background trees in "Kaliningrad" (2013) and the shiny, rounded balconies in "Lloyd's of London" (2014) force Mr. Rich ino subjective, fuzzy gradations of paint that loosen his otherwise air-tight premise. These are quibbles, though. This is a succinctly impressive example of painting being alive and well if you know where to look.