Requiem for a Dreampunk

In addition to being populated by dancing skeletons and severed heads, the artwork of Daniel Martin Diaz contains a surprisingly voodoo-esque appeal, imagery that reaches several centuries back and incorporates contemporary steampunk that could be classified as dreampunk.

Inspired by Byzantine iconography, alchemical sketches, 16th-century anatomical engravings, votive offerings, and retablos (Mexican folk paintings with religious themes), the Tucson-based artist is also strangely illuminated by ironic, macabre humor. Latin texts included in many of his works lend an anachronistic flavor that emphasize an ominous atmosphere of the arcane and esoteric. Using oil on wood, graphite, and linoleum, Diaz’s paintings glow with a numinous quality, managing to be both warm and foreboding, the way some dreams appear in one’s groggy memory on first waking. For example, themes of suffering, mortality, and dread combine with visions of the afterlife -- spiritual beings stand facing the viewer amid strange symbols with inscrutable, non-narrative resonance.

Diaz, who's had commissions from Rolling Stone, PBS, and Atlantic Records, among many others, avoids the potential for pretense, conjuring a part-playful otherworld.

Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: Sept. 14. Continues through Dec. 2, 2007
KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Peter Breslin