Dan Scher

The paintings presented are from a series called «  City Painting »   which I began in 1990. It is an on going series about contemporary urban society. I grew up in Chicago and St. Louis, then lived in New York from 1981 to 2003. I wanted to find a language in painting which would communicate my ideas of urban life.


For 10 years I searched for a consistent way to paint urban subjects. Then in 1990 I was riding a bus up Madison Ave. and I noticed a view framed by the bus window which cropped the pedestrian traffic at the shoulders. This gave me the idea for a language I could use to compose city paintings. It was this parallel view from the bus of people walking that initiated the dialogue I was looking for.


I began making many composition studies, using observations from my walks around the city. I made drawings of legs and feet against a negative space of sidewalk. Then I introduced buildings into the negative space, making a structure of buildings, armes, legs, feet, torsos, briefcases, newspapers, umbrellas, shopping bags, and sidewalk. I limited the imagery to these objects and repeated them from composition to composition.


Correspondingly, during this period, I developed a liking for jazz music and listened avidly to it on the radio. I heard a decidedly urban pace in syncopated jazz rhythms. I found color solutions in jazz harmonies and used color and contour to reflect the city’s pace. Today I continue my work with color and space, the figurative and the abstract.