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 Damian Loeb  (1970 - )

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Lived/Active: New York/Connecticut      Known for: contemporary realism-figure and genre painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A painter of contemporary realism and collage artist, Damian Loeb began to attract much public attention in 2001 when a solo exhibition of his work was held at the Mary Boone Gallery.  His work is controversial in that he is accused of appropriating or copying images of other artists.  One of the reviewers critical of his earlier work was Jerry Saltz who wrote in 1999 of Loeb's work in an exhibition at Deitch Projects from 1998 through 1999:

“Damian Loeb's paintings are little more than Photorealism meets '80s photo appropriation. His work, which has the distinction of being simultaneously sensational and dull, is unable to engage you beyond a first moment of pictorial surprise. A bottom feeder, Loeb is attracted to kitsch and violence, combining images scavenged from art, advertising, and the news. The resulting jump-cut narratives are cynical, soulless, and unoriginal. Loeb is an illustrator with a facile hand and a "boy" eye for putting chicks into his environments, especially if the women are naked or dying, or better, both.”

In addition to receiving scathing reviews, Loeb was sued by some of the photographers whose work he used in collages, and reportedly settling these matters used up all his income from the show.

Loeb dropped out of high school, and then partied with a musician friend named Moby and his former fiancé, Plum Sykes.  After their break up, she wrote and published a book, Bergdorf Blondes, about their relationship.  Reportedly after early escapades 'on-the-town', he married a woman named Zoya and is quiet and reclusive and busy, but not receiving a lot of public attention.  His wife is a former model, Yugoslavian, and Oxford University educated.  They have a daughter named Cameron.

Loeb never attended art school and has had no formal art training.  His early work was collages, many of them made from movie stills, and he regards them as his learning devices and movies as his passion.  He also finds inspiration in digital images. Of his work, he said: "If I could explain my work, I wouldn't have to make it."  Many of his scenes are disturbing---some say pornographic---and horrific such as decapitated bodies, people having sex with children nearby, etc.

Although his paintings are media driven, he stated that "no computer program has succeeded in capturing the touch and surface that only the artist’s hand may create."

Charles Guiliano, "DamiAn Loeb: In the Studio", Big Red & Shiny Articles

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