AQUA by Laurence Gartel






Those are the words that come to mind when you look at the new body of work by Mr. Danzig titled, “AQUA (Antrhropo-ecosophy) SERIES.”

One’s initial glance of these works makes you stop dead in your tracks. This is not some crazy abstract or a surrealist fantasy. Like many people working today, they pull from one source and create a collage, typically of haphazard proportions. Then one sifts through the imagery looking for inner meaning. Most of the time, one is left short. The picture is thus created without structure. A disharmony of images, like a bad recording: The sounds just don’t make sense and are hard on the ears.

Mr. Danzig’s images to the untrained eye may appear to be some weird construction. Something built from strangeness. – And if this is the case, then he shall be heralded as a master craftsman.

This is not the case however, and Danzig’s Aquatic works deserve a second, third, and forth look. When I was first given the opportunity to view these works 25,000 miles away over the internet, I was astonished. Mouth open, I was riveted to my chair. Speechless.

To this day, which I have been asked to do this writing, I remain contemplating. Still not really ready to put “pen to paper.” Why you ask? Because the works are that deep and psychological, that the mind’s eye is still processing. Few times in life, does a work of art do this to you. There is always the obvious, which you draw from, and when you see familiar images, you have a preconceived idea what the story line is going to be.

When you know something, you draw conclusions. An Edward Hopper painting, in all its glory, reveals familiar streets, solitudes, and the emotional elements of loneliness. ARISE Mr. Danzig, like a sea creature jumping out of the water, to tell us a completely new statement, to which we are all unfamiliar with. The UNKOWN. The UNKNOWING.

Our consciousness, our time and sense of place, are all unsettling. Where are we? Who are we? What are we? Where are we going? – The movie “CONTACT” comes to mind when Jody Foster goes to another point in the galaxy. – BUT WHERE? AQUA takes us to our inner selves. To introvert into our own thoughts. To question whom we are, what we are. The AQUA SERIES beckons us to ask us to look into our own identity. Amphibians? What are we? Can we survive in a place we do not know anything about? Mr. Danzig’s SERIES goes beyond all surface paintings and truly goes beyond techniques of “digital” to question, “How did he do it?” The answer is, “WHO CARES how he did it…what are we? What are these works of art about?”

The work is purely PSYCHOLOGICAL. - A mind bend that we have not seen in art since DiChirico. These works are not allegorical as one tries to dissect these works like a Bosch painting either. No. These are works that challenge the very importance of making a work and the medium itself. It is the DEEP message we are all searching for in these works. They torment our minds just because we cannot grasp their very essence. Thus the term above “ENVELOPING.” The works take on the earth. – From the bottom up.

We are only given a teeny inkling of the message only because of an earlier series titled, “WHITE DEATH.” Danzig’s work is always on the fringe of survival. Speaking in generalities, a happy “Flower picture” can last as décor for decades. Only the colors make them somewhat obsolete. His or her pleasantries can keep someone in a sanitarium cell for the duration of one’s catatonic life. Danzig’s work screams for a life preserver. Looming are the faces of death, hidden in the tranquility of turquoise water. Life energy: sperm cells juxtapose the forms of doom and destruction. It all appears to be all so unfamiliar. BUT is it???? So many tricks are played out in the imagery. Again. Questions keep flying off the pieces. WHERE are my answers the viewer asks himself? Danzig refuses. “Answers must come from LIFE.” Few people in society ever DARE to take the “high road” to find out. Everyone is comfortable in the middle. “Answers” come from experience. “Answers” come from experimentation. And answers come from RISK.

Mr. Danzig puts his own self into the works of art and is willing to die for his cause. He asks that of you the viewer, to get into these pieces and experience them for yourself. Who will get it and who will not? Who survives the journey and who doesn’t? How many walk away forever pondering, while others will not even blink an eye, and keep walking past them, sighting that they are mere creative markings. – For better or for worse. – They couldn’t be more inaccurate. Like a game of chess, Danzig challenges the viewer in the greatest maneuver of all. Check mate. Danzig wins! – You never really, fully, comprehend the message. For it is way too deep. The sharks have already eaten you up before you can get the true message of these works. The “AQUA” works consumes us all.

At the time of this writing, I am still swimming in the lurches of the darkness that appear to be looming in the water. – A body bag, a hooded mask all that waits in the calmness is demise. The color of the water however, tells us, that the end may just not be the end after all. That is the infinity that keeps recycling. Danzig’s stroke of brilliance has us all wondering about our mortality. – HERE. Or ELSEWHERE?? We learn from this, that ART is more than beauty or ugly, it is a state of being.

-Laurence Gartel
Digital media pioneer
June 3, 2004