Dan Perfect at Chisenhale and One in the Other
Eline van der Vlist, Modern Painters, April 2008

Dan Perfect's recent paintings are as exhilarating and exhausting as a first-time sightseeing trip to London. Looking at the seven large canvases on view at Chisenale Gallery and trying to grasp them put me in that wicked state between agony and ecstasy. Take the British artist's The Fabricators (2006), a pandemonium of twisting lines and fragmented imagery on different planes, its gritty palette, with occasional flashes of strong color, capturing the contemporary urban landscape. The more brightly colored Sandman (2007) has no center or periphery, its swirling mass a torrential flux caught in the light of a strobe. Trying to find your way through the paintings is like trying to climb one of M.C.Escher's staircases. Your eyes come to rest when they find a recognisable figure - is that a rabbit on the left? Faces become apparent. Before dwelling on individual elements, however, it pays to consider each of the paintings in its entirety. That is where their real power lies. Their seemingly random composition is, in fact, a very careful balancing act minutely orchestrated by Perfect. Some insight into his working methods is given by his drawings, being shown concurrently at One in the Other. Much smaller, and in ink rather than oil, these act more like a series of intimate tryout concerts rather than a studio practice run. Like a true master of improvisation, Perfect is as comfortable in a small setting as he is on the big stage.