Twenty-six numinous beings form Dan Perfect’s 2009 Dæmonology series on view at Karsten Schubert. From Head (Amaethon) – the Welsh agricultural deity – to Head (Zadkiel) – the biblical angel of mercy, they are a strange and indifferent company.
Each painting bears a specific dæmonic name chosen for its alphabetic sequence rather than the imagined attributes of a particular spirit. Perfect locates significance in the universal desire to animate the inanimate and to project human characteristics onto nature – the anthropic principle. These small luminous paintings are full of unusual colours and unexpected shapes that simultaneously reveal and conceal a face.
The Dæmonology Heads were borne out of Perfect’s large-scale paintings, which he describes as ‘thickets’ or landscapes dense with partial characters, abstract forms and digital processes transcribed into painted marks. The paintings, both large and small, challenge the viewer to discern faces or figures in the abstraction. In so doing, this group of portraits examines notions of illusion, projection and the make-believe, while firmly referencing our need to define and order the world around us.