Dan Pillers

Dan Pillers creates large “sculptural assemblage” using 90% salvaged and repurposed materials.  He refers to his work as a “visual memoir”.  By blending hand-crafted and found objects with etched glass and text he creates, an “artifact”, a remnant of things gone by.

Dan’s work consists of complex sculptures that play off one another and together form a continuing dialog.  His reliance on recycled materials and architectural salvage adds a heightened sense of history to his beautifully crafted works.

Dan Pillers has a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute, where he was award the “Robert Howe Fletcher Cup” as an acknowledgement of his outstanding achievement. 
Dan has shown extensively over the past couple decades. His works include a solo exhibition at the James Hormel Center in the San Francisco Main Public Library and a collaborative installation at Works Gallery in San Jose, CA.  He was curator of “Life after Death: Embracing the Queer Widow” for the 2001 National Queer Arts Festival.  Dan was also a featured artist  for a Visual Aid presentation at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.   And he spent two summers as an artist in residence at “L’experience” in Plaisance, France.  

In the past couple years he has had several solo exhibitions, “Dear Friends: A Visual Memoir” at the Firehouse Galley in Grants Pass, Oregon, “Reincarations” at the Mark Woolley Gallery in Portland, Oregon, “Sticks and Stones” at the RiverSea Gallery in Astoria, Oregon and “A Bundle Of Sticks”, at The Denizen Gallery at MilePost 5 in Portland, Oregon and he was featured in Judy O’Shea’s “Water Paper Stone: A Walk Through Book” at the San Francisco Center for the Book, in San Francisco.  In March of 2014 he shared the stage with Anne Greenwood and Harrell Fletcher for the “ART BEAT - Social Justice and Art Panel Discussion” at Portland Community College’s Cascade Campus. 

Dan was also the subject of Melissa Murray’s award winning short film, “Dan Pillers: Portland Artist”, which was awarded 1st Place at the 2013 Flux Film Festival .  And in July 2013 he was featured in an article by Andrew Belonski for OUT.com.
Dan is also one of the 2016 recipients of a “GLEAN” artist residency at the Metro Transfer Station.\

Artist Statement

I view myself as a conceptual artist that uses assemblage as my medium.  I use recycled and repurposed materials as a metaphor for change and rebirth… bringing new life and new meaning to once damaged and discarded items.  

Over the past few decades, I have been creating “narrative art” in hopes of opening an avenue for communication that leads to better understanding and acceptance of the diverse communities in which we live. I draw from childhood games and rhymes to convey adult experiences. Although many of my works address specific issues I try to convey a more universal theme of what it takes to overcome adversity and move beyond feeling of being “less than” or “different from”.

In a sense my work is a visual memoir. By incorporating both hand-crafted and found objects with text I create an “artifact”, a remnant of things gone by. I often focus on how words have double meanings, both affirming and harmful. And I incorporate descriptive names of objects to illustrate the power contained within those words and in the way we use them.

Over the past few decades my work has evolved to larger more complex sculptures that play off one another and together form a continuing dialog.  I also add a heightened sense of history through a larger reliance on recycled materials and repurposed architectural remnants, as well as the deconstruction and reincorporation of elements from my own past original works.

-His Story

For artwork in this collection, please click here. 

"The title of this exhibit, like many of my works, has multiple levels of meaning.  First, it references the fact that, out of the ten artists represented by Basic Space Gallery, I am the only male.  With this wonderful array of strong, talented and powerful women, I felt that I needed to “represent” a male perspective… and not just any male perspective… but mine personally, as a gay white man.   I also tend to draw from historic social and political references as inspiration for my work.  Additionally, the materials I use are gleaned from broken and discarded items… these items hold, not only the physical manifestation but also, the energy of stories from our past.

I view my art as a form a storytelling.  I’m fully aware that within my lifetime I have seen and have been involved in historic events.  I often speak about personal experiences as well as current and past events that affect the world around me."

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