Dana Lok Takes You Back to the Basics in ‘Closer to the Metal’


Dana Lok is an emerging artist best known for creating compositions that freeze frame her daily observations. This can sometimes translate into an outstretched hand or flipping the pages of a book. In other instances, the Brooklyn-based artist paints mental images that operate in a hallucinatory dream-state, where objects float in space and probe into the dark recesses of the mind.

On view at Clima gallery in Milan, Lok is presenting a new solo exhibition that distills the world back to it’s basics. Entitled Closer to the Metal, the artist probes into the very building blocks that have come to form life as we know it. Think atoms and molecules, cells clustering into bodies, humans then congregating through communities, and so forth.

Standout paintings in the show include her Canopy, Cascade (2023), which features a pale pink background that is accentuated by a gridded set of circles and squares, along with what appears to be coral reef and a dismembered human skull floating across the canvas. “I began this body of work driven by an image that flickers in mind when I consider the notion that our world is built from basics, from the ground up,” said Lok in a statement. “My sense that nature is arranged into levels must trace to the idea that the way big, complex things look depends on the way small, simple things behave. Dependence looks a bit like one thing sitting on top of another.”

Additional highlights include Lok’s All of the Facts (2023), which reintroduces the geometric theme playing through many of the works, as the text in the painting warps the message to dizzying results. “I keep my ears tuned for metaphors that use the language of space, volume and weight to describe abstract relationships,” Lok added. “I listen for these metaphors because they hold the potential for novel images, and that’s what I aim to make.”

Closer to the Metal will be on view at Clima in Milan until July 29.

Elsewhere, The Great Animal Orchestra returns on view at the Exploratorium in San Francisco.

Via Alessandro Stradella, 5
20129 Milano MI, Italy

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