New York

David Diao


When looking at the work of a live artist, one finds oneself mentally assessing the career thing in terms of potency and/or size. Is it big or medium, hot or stale? How active is their symbolic organ in the art world? Of course, we say, size isn’t important. Nevertheless, the evaluation mode kicks in, like some internally held homeostatic mechanism of curiosity slash invidia and inevitably swerves back upon oneself. In every show, the subtext of success, ambition, sour grapes, and/or idolatry lurks barely beneath the surface. I envy people who don’t always compare themselves with others, but I don’t know any.

What David Diao has done that is beautiful is he has taken the compulsion to obsess over this thing—precisely the "personal stuff’ deemed petty and thereby repressed from tough hard-edged ultraformalist abstract painting—and put it into his tough hard-edged ultraformalist abstract

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