New York

G. Daniel Massad

Tatistcheff & Co. Inc.

G. Daniel Massad’s still lifes depict strangely beautiful quotidian objects set against seemingly impenetrable black backgrounds, their textures and shapes illuminated by a subtle play of light. Massad, clearly a master of the genre, does not plumb this tradition to suggest the comforts of domesticity, rather, he infuses both his subject matter and what surrounds it with a sense of the weight of history, of the corrosive effects of time. The jagged, well-worn edges of the stone ledges on which his forms rest in works such as Things Left Behind, 1993, Shelter to Grow Ripe, 1994, and I Walk In the Garden Alone, 1994, are filled with the pathos of Shelley’s “Ozymandias”: “Nothing beside remains. Round the decay/Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare/The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

In Glass, 1994, the poignant beauty of decay is captured perfectly by the bottles’ surfaces—delicate green, blue, and gray patterns pockmarked by the sand or earth in which these objects were buried. In this rather hermetic setting, the bottles, which once held items like medicine, perfume, and soap, almost come to life. By placing his subject matter—which ranges from fruits, vegetables, and flowers to bowls, buckets, and bottles—against indeterminate ruins he seduces the viewer with his own brand of melancholic grandeur, filling the tradition of still life with a new vitality.

Ronny Cohen