The spectacular work of the California realist painter Danny Heller finally arrives in Europe and La Fiambrera is proud to present this, his first international solo exhibition. His vision of California Cool reflects a glamorous, mid-twentieth century style in architecture and design. Heller’s work features the iconic houses of Joseph Eichler (real estate developer and urban planner) with their characteristic terraces, entrances and swimming pools, the futuristic arches of the Los Angeles International Airport theme building, or the butterfly roofs of William Krisel homes. This exhibition seeks to reflect not only how the West Coast developed with regard to aesthetic identity but also to capture a broader sense of “cool” culture.
“I’m interested in the reality of the American environment and how buildings that were once acclaimed for being innovative in terms of design and planning remain standing and also others that have been forgotten or have disappeared altogether.” Heller tells us. “Focusing mainly on mid-century identity while playing with light and exaggerated angles, I use a particular colour palette to compose what I hope will be attractive works that capture architectural elements. I use a realistic style of painting to celebrate those occasions in which design and environment combine harmoniously. This often makes me a reporter who documents great American architecture of the past that is threatened by supposed progress. At the same time, some of my paintings are very personal as I tend to focus on scenes from my own childhood or snapshots of the times that my parents and grandparents lived through. By painting such historically and personally significant scenes, my aim is to connect with a presumed past and the remains of these times that actually still exist. Especially now when values constantly change and the past is demolished to make way for the new. We run the risk of losing our collective history and that deprives us of a proper basis on which to build the future. “
Born in Northridge, California in 1982, Danny Heller grew up in the San Fernando Valley. The artist had the opportunity to carefully study the landscape of Los Angeles and this has largely shaped his work. He studied Fine Arts at the University of California in Santa Barbara with the artist Hank Pitcher, often visually documenting the coastal landscapes of northern LA. Heller later settled in the Mojave Desert around the Coachella Valley where he concentrated on portraying the (now) retro images of Modern America. Specialising in architectural design and automobile culture, Danny Heller’s paintings have been seen in numerous solo and group exhibitions in California and also in New York. His work can be found in numerous private collections and institutions around the world (Fondation Colas in Paris, The Palm Springs Architecture and Design Centre, etc). “California Cool” is Danny Heller’s first solo show outside of the United States.