Simple Thoughts and Complicated Animals Dan Attoe

Press release

Javier Peres is very pleased to present the second Berlin solo exhibition of Dan Attoe, Simple Thoughts and Complicated Animals, featuring new works in painting and mixed media sculpture.


Devil's Tower is a monolithic igneous intrusion located in the Black Hills of northeastern Wyoming, US. It is most famous for its presence in the 1977 Spielberg film "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." This film, which focuses on man's obsession with UFO's, is ostensibly concerned with alien abductions, but in this case the invaders are benevolent beings, a departure from the green men and scary angular-faced monsters of every previous film in this genre. It is also a tale of obsession (by multiple protagonists) with the monolithic form.


Frederic Edwin Church, arguably the most successful and prominent painter of the Hudson River School, spent a large portion of his fortune purchasing the mountain above his studio/farm to construct his "Olana." While this purchase does not suggest he also shared an obsession with monoliths, given what we know about his life and works there is more than a small chance that the man loved hanging around-and painting- mountains.


It is no small feat to make a series of landscape paintings that reflect a coherent and specific vision almost 100 years after Ernst Ludwig Kirchner interpreted the aura of his beloved Swiss mountains, but Attoe accomplishes this part of the program with characteristic humility. In "Simple Thoughts and Complicated Animals," Dan Attoe reveals his ritualistic landscapes by taking us along on that most American of past-times: the road trip.


From inside the coals of a ghastly fireside biker ritual to the now-not-so-remote arctic by way of the monolith, New Year's (rocking eve variety), sexualized angels and ubiquitous roadside motel death scenes, reassuring, paradoxical and sometimes-yes-simple thoughts in good ol' plain English are there to guide, or to obscure. "Everything is grist for the mill," the artist admits of his prodigious exterior monologue. There is a sub-lingual quality to Attoe's work that Burroughs would appreciate.


Dan Attoe's truck once broke down just as he was pulling into the parking lot at Devil's Tower.


The artist lives and works in Washington and will be present for the opening. His first solo exhibition in a European institution, "American Dreams," opens at MUSAC in Leon, Spain, will be on view from May 17 – July 6, 2008.

Installation Shots