William Daniels

  • William Daniels is best known for his meticulous trompe l’oeil works depicting well known art historical paintings. He creates maquettes of the source paintings out of simple materials such as paper, cardboard or silver foil which then serve as models for highly detailed facsimiles in oil paint. Recognizable, but pared down and muted in tone, the small-scale paintings are at once a still-life and a rendering of the original artwork, calling into question issues of representation, documentation and authenticity. With his recent paintings, Daniels eschews source imagery and creates dioramas out of reflective foil which are entirely abstract. Keeping the basic form of the model consistent, Daniels plays with the colour of the surroundings in which it is placed to test the transformative effects of reflected light on the object. As such, looking across the paintings the object appears to shift between guises, moving from evoking the calmly undulating natural form in a landscape to the brazen and speedy flash of the carnivalesque. But although the set up is a construction, the light that decides the object is the natural unknown. The resulting painting marks the impossible threshold between the construct and the organic to become something not quite belonging to either pole.  This bouncing between the fabricated and the natural resonates strangely in the way that the reflected light shimmering on the foil already has the look of the brush mark that is bound to mimic it.

    Daniels’ embraces contradictions – the real and the reflected, the modest and the monumental, the meticulous and the expressive – and in doing he explores the interstitial space whereby the autonomy of the painting may lie.

  • 2016, Marc Foxx, Los Angeles, Installation View

  • Untitled, 2013, oil on board, 117.9 x 114 cm, 46 3/8 x 44 7/8 ins

  • I Cheer a Dead Man’s Sweetheart, 2014, De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill on Sea, Installation View

  • 2013, Luhring Augustine, New York, Installation View

  • 2013, Luhring Augustine, New York, Installation View

  • 2013, Luhring Augustine, New York, Installation View

  • Durchsichtige Dinge (Transparent Things), 2011, Kunstverein Freiburg, Germany, Installation View

  • Durchsichtige Dinge (Transparent Things), 2011, Kunstverein Freiburg, Germany, Installation View

  • Untitled, 2010, oil on board, 23.2 x 24.7 x 2 cms, 9 1/8 x 9 3/4 x 3/4 ins

  • Mimesi Permanente, 2010, GAM, Turin, Installation View

  • Mimesi Permanente, 2010, GAM, Turin, Installation View

  • Big Minis, 2010, CAPC, Bordeaux, Installation View

  • 2009, Lurhing, Augustine, New York, Installation View

  • 2007, Vilma Gold, London, Installation View

  • David with the Head of Goliath, 2007, oil on board, 30 x 25.5 cms, 11 3/4 x 10 ins

  • Still Life II, 2007, oil on board, 29.5 x 38.5 cms, 11 5/8 x 15 1/8 ins

  • L’Origine Du Monde I, 2006, oil on board, 17.5 x 20 cms, 6 7/8 x 7 7/8 ins

  • L’Origine Du Monde II, 2006, oil on board, 17.5 x 20 cms, 6 7/8 x 7 7/8 ins

  • Lives and works in London

    1976Born in Brighton, UK

    2001 – 2003Royal College of Art

    1996 – 1999Edinburgh Art College

    Solo Exhibitions

    2016Marc Foxx, Los Angeles

    2014Vilma Gold, London

    2013Luhring Augustine, New York

    2011Marc Foxx, Los Angeles

    2010Vilma Gold, London

    2009Luhring Augustine, New York

    2007Vilma Gold, London
    Marc Foxx, Los Angeles

    2005Vilma Gold, London
    Marc Foxx, Los Angeles

    Group Exhibitions (selected)

    2017Caves Off-site, Melbourne, Australia (upcoming)

    2014I Cheer a Dead Man's Sweetheart, De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill on Sea

    2013LA Figurazione Inevitable (Inevitable Figurations)curated by Marco Bazzini and Davide Ferri, Centro per l’arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci, Prato

    2012Pale Ontology, Marc Foxx, Los Angeles
    The Piano Lesson, Vilma Gold, London

    2011Testing Ground 2011 | Time Scale, 176 Zabludowicz Collection, London Durchsichtige Dinge (Transparent Things), Kunstverein Freiburg, Freiburg

    2010Big Minis, CAPC, Bordeaux
    Newspeak: British Art Now, Saatchi Gallery, London
    Edinburgh College of Art 250th Anniversary, ECA Sculpture Court
    Mimesi Permanente. Una mostra su simulazione e realismo / Permanent Mimesis. An Exhibition on Realism and Simulation, GAM Galeria Civica d’Arte Moderne e Contemporanea, Turin

    2009Newspeak: British Art Now, The State Hermitage Museum, St.Petersburg Dreaming the Mainstream, Vilma Gold, London
    Jean-Luc Blanc, Opera Rock, curated by Alexis Valliant, CAPC, Bordeaux
    60 Miles by Road or Rail, Fishmarket, Northampton

    2008Perverted by Theater curated by Franklin Evans and Paul David Young, Apex Art
    M25 Around London, CCA Andratx, Mallorca
    Precious Things, Highlanes Gallery, Drogheda
    Summer show, Marc Foxx, Los Angeles
    Zuordnungsprobleme, Johann Konig, Berlin
    Legend, Domaine Departemental de Chamarande, Chamarande, France, curated by Alexis Vaillant
    Dadadandy Boutique, Artprojx Space, London

    2007Painted Objects, Harris Lieberman, New York
    At Home at the Yvon Lambert Gallery, New York, curated by Mario Testino Size Matters, Hudson Centre for Contemporary Art, New York Counterfacture, Luhring Augustine, New York (cat)

    2006Jerwood Contemporary Painters, Jerwood Space, London April is the Cruelest Month, Transmission Gallery, Glasgow

    2005Waste Material, The Drawing Room, London (cat.)
    The Darkest Hour, Leisure Club Mogadishni, Copenhagen
    Young Masters, 148a St John Street, London

    2004Death & Magic, Keith Talent Gallery, London
    XS, FA Projects, London
    Project 1, Alma Enterprises, London

    2003Royal Academy Summer Show, Royal Academy of Arts, London

    Selected Bibliography Publications

    2011Dr. Johnstone Isobel, The Secret Confession, Edinburgh College of Art, 2010

    2010Alessandro Rabottini, Permanent Mimisis, An Exhibition About Simulation And Realism, GAM
    Galeria Civica d’Arte Moderne e Contemporanea, Turin

    2009Vaillant, Alexis, ‘Jean Luc Blanc, Opera Rock’, CAPC Musee d’Art Contemporain de Bordeax,
    exihibtion cat., Steinberg Press

    2008‘William Daniels - Qu’est-ce Que La Peinture Aujourd’hui?’, Beaux Arts editions, ed. Claude
    Pommereau,. pg.78 - 79

    2007Werner Holzwarth, Hans, ‘Counterfacture’, Holzwarth Publishing, New York

    2005Musgrove, David, ‘Waste Material’, The Drawing Room, exhibition cat., London
    Morton, Tom, ‘William Daniels’, Frieze Art Fair Yearbook, Frieze Publishing


    2011Phaidon’s Vitamin P2: New Perspectives in Painting, 2011
    Knight, Christopher, Art review: William Daniels at Marc Foxx Gallery, LA Times Blog Online White, Josh, William Daniels, Flash Art, VOL XLIV, No. 276, January - February 2011, p.98

    2010Wullschlager, Jackie, ‘Energised by Youthful Chaos’, FT Weekend, Saturday, October 16 2010, p.10
    Wullschlager, Jackie, ‘Charles Saatchi’s ‘Newspeak’, Financial Times, June 4 2010
    Sewell, Brian, ‘Is it Me or is Newspeak Good?’, The Evening Standard, June 3 2010
    Januszak, Waldemar, ‘Entering a Whole New Headspace’, The Sunday Times, June 6 2010 Campbell-Johnson, Rachel, ‘Charles Saatchi and the New Art Generation’, Times Online, May 24, 2010
    Glover, Michael, ‘As he Unveils the Next Generation of Artists, Has Charles Saatchi Lost His Edge?’ , The Independent,Friday 14 May 2010
    Yablonsky, Linda, ‘Picture Generations New York’ , Artforum , 14 January 2010
    Affronti, Fabrizio, ‘Grande Maestri, Fonte Perenne’, La Casana, March 2010, p. 27
    Kerr, Merilly, ‘William Daniels Paintings’, Time Out New York, January 2010
    Plagens, Peter, ‘Overwhelmed’, Art in America, No.3 March 2010, p.42

    2009Rabottini, Alessandro, ‘Emerging Artists’, Frieze, issue 128, January-February, p.91

    2008Dunne, Aidan, Precious Things, Irish Times, 1 October
    Sumpter, Helen, Reviews: William Daniels, Vilma Gold, Timeout London, January

    2007Williams, Gilda, William Daniels - Vilma Gold, Artforum, January
    Alemani, Cecilia, Critics Picks, Artforum Online, January
    Smith, Roberta, Art in Review, The New York Times, February 9
    Falconer, Morgan, in on the House of Testino, South China Morning Post, August 5 William Daniels vit a Londres, Vogue Paris, February

    2006Readings, Harpers Magazine, June
    Herbert, Martin, William Daniels, Modern Painters, Jan-Feb
    Ondak, Roman, The Return of Small Paintings, Bon Magazine, Summer

    2005Bright Young Things: William Daniels, Art Review Vol. IX December, p. 70
    Sumpter, Helen, William Daniels: Vilma Gold, Time Out London, November 2–9 Herbert, Martin, Emerging Artists: William Daniels, Modern Painters, January