Dan Attoe's neon artworks conflate church and strip club

Dan Attoe Go Easy, 2020

Here's something to brighten up these dark times in the shape of Dan Attoe's gorgeous neon pieces.

The Washington-based artist, who works across painting, sculpture and performance, recently showed his signature neon miniature pieces alongside two large-scale neon paintings and two large-scale neon installations at New York gallery The Hole.

The exhibition, entitled Glowing River, is his first solo show in New York after almost a decade shows across Europe and various institutional exhibitions.

"Moving from his tiny glowing paintings of natural beauty to the buzzing dive-bar neons on the next wall, we're forced to reconcile how the artist is using light and its meaning across the different works," says The Gallery.

Attoe's themes both subvert and reinforce what we'd expect from neon, exploring nature, connectivity and spirituality—as well as the more expected naked woman, strip club signage-esque in the piece Focus.

A large-scale painting depicting a piece of neon marks a new direction for Attoe, acting as a midpoint between his own neons and painted miniatures. The way he's painted the tubes gives them a remarkable illusion of being luminescent. The subject, too, is an unusual one: a man in a puffer jacket appears to be telling himself "You are such a great genius it's amazing". According to the gallery, "The delusional potential of artistic isolation is here both ridiculed and sympathised with."

The artist is best known for his miniature oil paintings of natural scenes; and the three new works in this style at the show measure just five inches tall. They include the titular piece that shows a forest stream in a glowing ice-tinged blue; illuminating the wee figures within the nearby pines. Beached, meanwhile, is similarly eerie in feel; featuring a whale-like form flecked with light.

The final section of the exhibition boasts two neon wall works. Here, the space acts as both a church and a strip club. It's undoubtedly where things get wild: there's our topless lady, and a meth-head cat declaring "People need to party". He seems, bizarre, very persuasive.

Dan Attoe Cat, 2019

Dan Attoe Cat, 2019

Dan Attoe Beached, 2020

Dan Attoe Beached, 2020

Dan Attoe Great Genius, 2020

Dan Attoe Great Genius, 2020

 Dan Attoe Focus, 2020

Dan Attoe Focus, 2020

Dan Attoe Homebuilders, 2020

Dan Attoe Homebuilders, 2020

 Dan Attoe, 2020

Dan Attoe, 2020

Dan Attoe Glowing River, 2020

Dan Attoe Glowing River, 2020