Beverly Hills Artist Daniel Licht’s ‘Continuous Life’ on Display

For his first solo show, artist Daniel Licht debuted 50 new paintings and drawings for an exhibition titled “Continuous Life,” which are on view until July 13 at Vardan Gallery at 6810 Melrose Avenue. A product of the Beverly Hills Unified School District, Licht (son of former Planning Commissioner Andy Licht) earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of Chicago in 2018 and a master’s in painting from the New York Studio School in 2023. The New York-based artist spoke to the Courier about his creative process, sources of inspiration, and embracing uncertainty in the artistic journey.

From landscapes to faces, Licht’s work is firmly planted in the realm of abstraction. His pieces predominantly feature a muted color palette of earth tones and swirling, varied brushstrokes ranging from broad swaths to finer, more delicate lines that seem to intertwine. Licht’s compositions are highly textured, with layers of paint or stapled pencil shavings creating depth and complexity.

Licht experiments with adding space to his art, working with four panels of wood for paintings and similarly with paper for his drawings. “I got interested in this two-by-three ratio, with one side being one and a half times bigger than the other,” Licht told the Courier. “So, it’s the shape that 35-millimeter photos are, it’s a two-by-three.”

To achieve the ratio, Licht tapes about an inch of extra paper to his existing eight-and-a-half by 11 pieces that he works with. “But then I really liked this way of working, where you have one piece of the drawing and can add a new piece of paper to it, take it away, and bring it to another drawing. It did something visually exciting that I hadn’t encountered. It really does change the feeling of breadth.” From there, Licht began to recreate the process on a larger scale, painting on four separate wood panels and then attaching them upon completion.

Some of his paintings also feature paintbrushes stapled to a panel after being accidentally left to dry on thicker swatches of paint. “The process of painting is always seen in the result, and some people emphasize this more than others,” Licht said. “I love the nakedness of accidents in nature and unforeseen interaction, but I also think intention matters.”

While the show gets its title from Mark Strand’s book of poetry called “The Continuous Life,” Licht is continuously inspired by “The Rock” by Wallace Stevens, and always carries a palm-sized paperback copy with him. 

The works range in cost, with the smallest in size priced at $1,000 and the largest, which is just over 10 feet, at $24,000. Since the show opened on June 7, about half of the pieces on view have already sold. 

The exhibition will be on view until July 13. 

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