Daniel Zeller

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“A Deeper Ecology”*

Daniel Zeller’s work has addressed environmental and ecological issues for more than twenty-five years. “Zeller’s art responds to the pressing need to advance ecological awareness beyond the commendably important deep ecology of the 1970s, which considers people to be an inextricable part of different environments, by bringing human artifacts into the equation I’m calling ‘deeper ecology.’ Zeller’s past and present work acknowledges this relationship through a range of abstract notations standing in for natural and human-made forms, making his art and its deeper ecological resonances compelling visual metaphors of the challenges presented by the geologic age we have created known as the ‘anthropocene.’”  (*Robert Hobbs)

 

Daniel Zeller - "Integrated Systems Management," 2020, Ink and acrylic on paper, 23 x 28.5 inches

 

 

 

 

Right:
“Integrated Systems Management”
2020
Acrylic and ink on paper
23 x 28.5 inches
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Right:
Detail:
“Integrated Systems Management”
2020
Acrylic and ink on paper
23 x 28.5 inches
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Daniel Zeller - "Formative Incursion," 2020, Ink and acrylic on paper, 28 x 35 inches

 

 

 

 

Right:
“Formative Incursion”
2020
Acrylic and ink on paper
28 x 35 inches
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Daniel Zeller - DETAIL: "Formative Incursion," 2020, Ink and acrylic on paper, 28 x 35 inches

 

 

 

 

Left:
Detail, “Formative Incursion”
2020
Acrylic and ink on paper
28 x 35 inches
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Daniel Zeller - "Split Variance," 2020, Ink on paper, 16.5 x 14 inches

 

 

 

 

Left:
“Split Variance”
2020
Ink on paper
16.5 x 14 inches
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Daniel Zeller - "Thwarted Interpassage," 2019, Ink on paper, 30 x 37 inches

 

 

 

Left:
“Thwarted Interpassage”
2019
Ink on paper
30 x 37 inches
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Left:
Detail, “Thwarted Interpassage”
2019
Ink on paper
30 x 37 inches
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Daniel Zeller - "Resource Isolation," 2020, Ink and acrylic on paper, 16.5 x 14 inches

 

 

 

 

 

 

Right:
“Resource Isolation”
2020
Acrylic and ink on paper
16.5 x 14 inches
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Daniel Zeller - "Return," 2020, Ink and acrylic on paper, 16.5 x 14 inches

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Right:
“Return”
2020
Acrylic and ink on paper
16.5 x 14 inches
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Daniel Zeller invents his topo-cellular, cartographic universe utilizing the modest media of pencil, ink, and paper. These drawings could all be part of the same world, each referencing different regions of that world. They seem to draw from one another—as Zeller continues to develop a language of marks and shapes—to create new terrains, new organisms. These drawings exhibit Zeller’s characteristic push/pull between macro and micro worlds, referencing environmental, biological, topographical, stratographic, astronomical, and other imagery that he has absorbed like a science nerd and reimagined to create entirely new forms. He blurs the boundaries between invention and reality with his convincing terrains, and tests even further by, in some instances, referencing actual places or entities.

Zeller’s process is direct and intuitive, consisting of a fluid series of spontaneous choices governed by self-imposed rules and conditions. The main rule is to respect what has already been put on the page, not to cross or obscure lines already laid down. A tension between spontaneity and predictability is central to this process, allowing for its inevitable evolution.

“Zeller has spoken of his art as ‘combining learned patterns into something else,’ of making an ‘endless effort to be present where the mark is being made.’ …His process is improvisatory—a riffing on available means through endless permutation, an orchestration rather than a refusal of disorder. This free play within parameters is what grammars, or theories of evolution, or maps accomplish.” (Frances Richard)

As Leah Ollman noted of earlier works, “There is something of science in these marvels, and also something of the logic-bending psychedelic.”

Daniel Zeller’s works have been exhibited widely and are included in notable permanent collections such as: the Museum of Modern Art, NYC; Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC: Museum of Contemporary Art, LA; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, LA; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Princeton University Art Museum, among others. Zeller currently lives and works in Queens and Brooklyn, NY.