Once dan showed me a set of photographs from the early 80’s. In these pictures dan is a young man with long hair and a beard that he’s let grow several feet. A young woman is cutting his beard. dan speaks of this moment as a symbolic death of his life in Santa Cruz, where he had established himself as an expert intaglio printer, and a renewal of his life in New York City where he would live for the next thirty years dedicating his efforts to sculpture.
The etchings presented here were printed near the time of dan’s departure from California in 1986. These prints are clairvoyant foretellers, blueprints for later sculptural works. Also on view are three sculptures: one executed in 1993 and two made between 2014 and 2016.
An obsessive friction inhabits dan’s sculptures. Objects are assembled at an intimate scale and transformed from the inside out. Their forms are concealed in bed sheets and window grates — keepsakes of courtships and screens for sensual activity. “They must be rusted to be used,” insists dan, as if they’re authenticated by their past, sanctified by the filtration and absorbance of human energies and emotions.
Every stitch lures the eye toward the porthole. The inner space maintains a quiet serenity. Small fissures create a game of shadows in its murky interior. A frame marked with an emphasis (!) floats amidst the void, enclosing specks of light that pierce the sculpture from the rear.
Curious, I draw back from the interior and examine the back of the form. The verso is a psychological reveal. It unfolds like a flower — its stamen presenting minuscule stacked glyphs… good good. A syntactic stutter that stresses the difference through the hierarchy of position. Caught in negotiation with submission and domination, allowance and denial, dan Waller’s work remains an unbiased mediator to his process which I dare to call sacred.
—written by Nikita Vishnevskiy (2016)