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Selected Works

Damian Loeb  The Halo Effect, 2009

Damian Loeb

The Halo Effect, 2009

Oil on linen

12 x 24 inches

Damian Loeb  Immaculate Conception, 2023

Damian Loeb

Immaculate Conception, 2023

Oil on linen

36 x 36 inches

Damian Loeb  Final Destination, 2007

Damian Loeb

Final Destination, 2007

Oil on linen

36 x 84 inches

Press Release

Acquavella Galleries is pleased to present A Landscape Retrospective by Damian Loeb, the artist’s fifth solo exhibition with Acquavella and first in Palm Beach. The exhibition features nineteen paintings from a period spanning fifteen years of the artist’s practice in a focused survey that explores his ongoing engagement with landscapes from 2007 to today. The show also debuts works from the artist’s Wishful Thinking series, a body of work which references Baroque ideals and follows the long tradition of allegorical painting throughout art history, engaging with visual memories and curiosity about the extraterrestrial realm as a meditation on sex and death, and fear and hope. A Landscape Retrospective is on view from November 4–December 5, 2023 at Acquavella’s Palm Beach location.

Loeb’s engagement with landscape and technology has developed throughout his practice, offering a tracked interest in how the traditional representation of the Earth evolves into a post-terrestrial world. Final Destination (2007), borrowing its title from the horror franchise of the same name, juxtaposes urban lights with rural dusk, darkened earth with a kaleidoscopic sky, and a technologic vantage against the allegorical horizon. In this early landscape, Loeb offers a human view of the celestial allowed by technology, rendering the human perspective only possible through the mechanical. Even in a more grounded example such as The Halo Effect (2009), the connection between the observed and the built environment progresses. The grid-like windows of the buildings, ballooned by the orange glow of interior and street lighting, shorten from the high plane of observation. The built environment, retracting from the cliché of rendering skyscrapers as mountains, becomes miniscule when the human eye is elevated above the edifices that once marked the height of progress.

For his latest Wishful Thinking series, Loeb uses multiple image databases from government space agencies to source his material. Mimicking the spirituality of ecclesial art, Loeb appropriates the ethos of acheiropoieta— Christian icons not made by human hands but miraculously, divinely created. Beginning his compositions away from the canvas, Loeb digitally alters the detail-rich images captured from telescopes and satellites, furthering their abstraction as he translates the celestial surfaces into oils. He layers paint with the visual distortions found in photography such as shallow depths of field, wide aspect ratios, and lens flares. The mediation of technology provides opportunities to reference the precision of photographs, but through Loeb’s painterly gestures he moves away from verisimilitude into a universal, uncanny realism.

Damian Loeb shares: “These paintings speak to our desire for a transcendental experience, to find the familiar elsewhere, in a remote view, in another place, that is untouched by human hands. My paintings are a form of ‘wishful thinking’, to help us find our place in the infinite, to regain our lost hope, by anthropomorphizing the vast and mysterious images of other worlds, seemingly familiar and better than our own.”

Negotiating a rich history of landscapes, Loeb’s latest paintings transcend the genre to the extraterrestrial, engaging the sublime in a gravitas similar to that of early-nineteenth-century painters. Awe and reverence for the natural world populate the surfaces of his paintings, reflecting upon nature, technology, and its intersections in our current times. In Baroque gestures, the colorful cloud bands encircling Jupiter, speckled stars in the far-off distance, and the unyielding void offer metaphors for both our proximity and remoteness. Connected to ecclesiastical doctrine, Immaculate Conception (2023) finds a shared spirituality between Jupiter’s swirling blue and red clouds and The Virgin Mary’s divinity. Speaking to our twenty-first-century consciousness, rather than the religious iconography that provided salvation to the masses in earlier times, here the iconography is of a celestial body that resembles the Virgin Mary.

Informed by the isolation of the Pandemic, the crossing between the spiritual and celestial heightens the need for an escape to worlds beyond our own terrestrial borders. Loeb’s landscapes embrace an escapist philosophy. Capturing familiar moments of shared human experience, the artist explores the relationship between interior memories and tropes from contemporary visual culture. Revealing the sense of the universal and the uncanny that exists in our collective unconscious, Loeb takes these resonant, emotional “peak experiences” and distills them into contemplative paintings. By manipulating the language of contemporary photography and subverting the notions of a platonic ideal, Loeb dissects and recomposes life as witnessed through the mind of an artist, the eye of a cinematographer, and the hand of a painter.