Dana Powell
b. 1989
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Dana POWELL
Roadside
2018
Oil on linen
16 x 20 inches; 20.3 x 25.4  cm

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Dana POWELL
Bucket with gas (Roman Signer)
2018
Oil on linen
8 x 10 inches; 20.3 x 25.4 cm

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Dana POWELL
Rocket
2018
Oil on linen
15 x 10 inches; 20.3 x 25.4 cm

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Dana POWELL
The moon
2018
Oil on linen
7 x 5 inches; 17.8 x 12.7 cm

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Dana POWELL
Night drivers
2018
Oil on linen
10 x 13 inches; 25.4 x 33 cm

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Dana POWELL
Mayflies
2018
Oil on linen
8 x 10 inches; 20.3 x 25.4 cm

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Dana POWELL
Dirt drive
2018
Oil on linen
8 x 10 inches; 20.3 x 25.4 cm

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Dana POWELL
Bonfire
2018
Oil on linen
12 x 10 inches; 30.48 x 25.4 cm

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Dana POWELL
Night horse
2018
Oil on linen
12 x 14 inches; 30.48 x 35.56 cm

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Dana POWELL
Night trip
2018
Oil on linen
10 x 12 inches; 25.4 x 30.48 cm

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Dana POWELL
Orange pears
2018
Oil on linen
8 x 10 inches; 20.3 x 25.4 cm

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Dana POWELL
Ghost drive
2017
Oil on linen
8 x 10 inches; 20.3 x 25.4 cm

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Dana POWELL
Brass eye
2017
Oil on linen
12 x 9 inches; 30.48 x 22.86 cm

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Dana POWELL
Swarm
2017
Oil on linen
8 x 10 inches; 20.3 x 25.4 cm

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Dana POWELL
Test site
2017
Oil on linen
10 x 12 inches; 25.4 x 30.48 cm

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Dana POWELL
Smoke screen
2017
Oil on linen
8 x 10 inches; 20.3 x 25.4 cm

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Dana POWELL
Pink lift
2016
Oil on linen
12 x 9 inches; 30.48 x 22.86 cm

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Dana POWELL
Pool
2016
Oil on linen
12 x 14 inches; 30.48 x 35.56 cm

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Dana POWELL
Sparks
2016
Oil on linen
12 x 14 inches; 30.48 x 35.56 cm

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Dana POWELL
Silver peephole
2016
Oil on linen
12 x 9 inches; 30.48 x 22.86 cm

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Dana POWELL
Still life with pears
2015
Oil on linen
8 x 10 inches; 20.3 x 25.4 cm

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Dana POWELL
Roadside
2018
Oil on linen
16 x 20 inches; 20.3 x 25.4  cm

slider

Dana POWELL
Bucket with gas (Roman Signer)
2018
Oil on linen
8 x 10 inches; 20.3 x 25.4 cm

slider

Dana POWELL
Rocket
2018
Oil on linen
15 x 10 inches; 20.3 x 25.4 cm

slider

Dana POWELL
The moon
2018
Oil on linen
7 x 5 inches; 17.8 x 12.7 cm

slider

Dana POWELL
Night drivers
2018
Oil on linen
10 x 13 inches; 25.4 x 33 cm

slider

Dana POWELL
Mayflies
2018
Oil on linen
8 x 10 inches; 20.3 x 25.4 cm

slider

Dana POWELL
Dirt drive
2018
Oil on linen
8 x 10 inches; 20.3 x 25.4 cm

slider

Dana POWELL
Bonfire
2018
Oil on linen
12 x 10 inches; 30.48 x 25.4 cm

slider

Dana POWELL
Night horse
2018
Oil on linen
12 x 14 inches; 30.48 x 35.56 cm

slider

Dana POWELL
Night trip
2018
Oil on linen
10 x 12 inches; 25.4 x 30.48 cm

slider

Dana POWELL
Orange pears
2018
Oil on linen
8 x 10 inches; 20.3 x 25.4 cm

slider

Dana POWELL
Ghost drive
2017
Oil on linen
8 x 10 inches; 20.3 x 25.4 cm

slider

Dana POWELL
Brass eye
2017
Oil on linen
12 x 9 inches; 30.48 x 22.86 cm

slider

Dana POWELL
Swarm
2017
Oil on linen
8 x 10 inches; 20.3 x 25.4 cm

slider

Dana POWELL
Test site
2017
Oil on linen
10 x 12 inches; 25.4 x 30.48 cm

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Dana POWELL
Smoke screen
2017
Oil on linen
8 x 10 inches; 20.3 x 25.4 cm

slider

Dana POWELL
Pink lift
2016
Oil on linen
12 x 9 inches; 30.48 x 22.86 cm

slider

Dana POWELL
Pool
2016
Oil on linen
12 x 14 inches; 30.48 x 35.56 cm

slider

Dana POWELL
Sparks
2016
Oil on linen
12 x 14 inches; 30.48 x 35.56 cm

slider

Dana POWELL
Silver peephole
2016
Oil on linen
12 x 9 inches; 30.48 x 22.86 cm

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Dana POWELL
Still life with pears
2015
Oil on linen
8 x 10 inches; 20.3 x 25.4 cm

Biography

Dana Powell's small-scale oil paintings depict moments of transition and anticipation. They take the shape of night drives, full moons, swimming pools, elevator doors, still lifes with fruit, explosions, and peep holes. Unrelated at first look, these subjects prove malleable apparatus in demonstrating the unsettling power of the ordinary, and emotive potential of small shifts in formal painting strategies. Considered austerity is applied to Powell’s tableaus of the everyday, offering a window to the familiar and its undertow.

Each group of paintings acutely captures suspended moments, with works activating scenarios that await some conclusion. Paintings of fruit and inanimate commonplace objects further the tradition attached to still life painting, and explore the possibilities of portraying time, as it unfolds in a static frame.

Stretching subjects beyond face value interpretation, Powell’s core strategies are often rooted in the ambiguity embedded within an object or scenario. Lacking a focal point and pushed to the edge of abstraction, swimming pool paintings engage water as the sole signifier without fixed meaning—water is delightful, a pastime activity, but it can quickly turn threatening. Elevator doors and peephole paintings pivot slightly from abstraction, but retain the contradiction of innocence and danger, tying themes of surveillance, claustrophobia and anxiety to tightly-rendered, seemingly straightforward depictions.

Powell’s investigations distill the unease of today. Night time narratives are especially palpable psychological atmospheres. Cinematic details and an impermeable ambience describe a suspense that is neither outright scary nor sad, but quietly unreachable and ominous. Akin to the cadence of an Alfred Hitchcock narrative, these familiar scenarios oscillate between the fixed and the abstract, showing that uneventfulness can be just as jarring as the extraordinary.

Portraying a dislodged relationship to the familiar, Powell’s distilled moments in time are imbued with duplicity—a suggestion of something uncanny or anxious, which could also be nothing at all.

Born in 1989 in Milwaukee, WI, Dana Powell lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. The artist graduated with a BFA from Cooper Union in 2015 and completed a residency at the Still House Group the following year. 

Powell is currently included in "The Lure of the Dark", curated by Susan Cross at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams, MA.