Lavi Daniel is a self-taught painter whose unique vision has been equally shaped by love for a certain Renaissance sense of color-blocking and balance, intimacy with the evocative potential of abstract textile design, and the organic surrealism of memory and wonder in a child’s imagination. A new series of intimately scaled pastel on paper scenes investigating the dreamlike logic of a young mind reaching for order among the big world’s mysteries is currently on view at Luis De Jesus Los Angeles. These are paired with examples of Daniel’s large-scale, supremely saturated pattern studies — the better to catch through-lines in his inventive palette and intuitive compositional motifs, even between narrative and non-figurative works.
L.A. WEEKLY: When did you know you were an artist?
LAVI DANIEL: When I was around five years old.
What is your short answer to people who ask what your work is about?
My current work is an investigation that begins through the eyes of the artist as a seven year-old, aware that it’s 60 years later and committed to the conviction that there is a coexisting viewpoint of the same enigmatic reality in search of a common figurative language. Creating abstract patterned settings for figures that act as provocations within the unknowable — The Fruits of an Enigma.
What would you be doing if you weren’t an artist?
I would probably be a garden designer.
Did you go to art school? Why/Why not?
I got a four year scholarship out of high school to attend the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. I stayed for half a semester then went off to live in a tepee in the northern California forest. I am self taught.
When was your first show?
My first show was in 1987 at the Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, as part of the New California Artist Series. That traveled to The Honolulu Academy of Arts in Hawaii.
When is/was your current/most recent/next show or project?
I currently have a show, The Fruits of an Enigma, at Luis De Jesus Los Angeles running through July 16 in downtown.
What artist living or dead would you most like to show or work with?
I would most like to show with Fra Angelico or even more aptly with Stefano Di Giovanni Di Consolo, known as il Sassetta. A Tuscan painter (1392-1450) from Sienna, Italy. We seem to have similar pictorial predilections.
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