My second solo trip to see my brother Dan Badgley in Albuquerque, NM, and the first in a few years! It’s a personal and business trip. I’m out to photograph most of Dan’s painting and bulk of smaller work in his archives. And once everything is in digital format we’ll begin designing his new website. This is a milestone for him. The site is going to be a state-of-the-art WordPress site that will showcase his work front and center. Here we are the morning of the second day with the Rio Grande as we walked along the rambling Bosque. A nice intermission in between photoshoots.
The second day in we went to his storage space smack-dab in downtown ABQ and set up the camera right in the entrance of the facility. Luckily it wasn’t a busy day for people accessing their stuff. It was nice to see his older work—pieces that I had seen evolve as a kid. It brought back a lot of memories of my big brother during the heyday of the Sixties. We’re talking the late 60’s. Long hair, beads, psychedelic music and posters. His work, even then, seemed current but studied. I saw the energy he put into getting his colors just right. In the early Seventies Dan started taking Aikido, and influenced by Japanese culture, he veered from the hard edges into looser strokes emulating Asian calligraphy. His work took on a new look that he would develop. The hard edge era would only be on layer upon which Dan would build his work. I could go on…

A Timeline of Some of My Faves

Within the geometric orange work the hard edges of his earlier pieces are dissolving into one another. It’s as if the hard edge foundation is corroding, revealing layers beneath. Dan recently told me that all of these shapes—for this series—were all done freehand. Wow! And then when the paint was drying he would wipe it off leaving the appearance of transparency. I love the intensity and heat of the colors here.
Later in the day of shooting we came across this piece. Dan at this point is now layering the backgrounds and exhibiting a greater textural range to create these—in my opinion—communities of feelings, or beings, or whatever they are.  I see both the microcosm and the macrocosm. Large and small.
The blue, gray and magenta work one of his acrylic paintings from the Sixties that remember being around the house. I love how there is a bit of Escher—an influencer of that time—amidst the color study. Resembling a concrete overpass to somewhere this work has always made me curious. After all these years I remain curious.
In this salmon-y piece the shapes have morphed in bits of microscopic lifeforms. Straight lines have given way to curves and natural lines. It is around this time that I started to see my brother’s work as if one were looking into a microscope at emotions and feelings wriggling around on a canvas cum Petri dish.
I’m not sure when Dan starting drawing the figure, but I love almost all of his figurative work. If memory serves the paintings didn’t come but several years after just drawing. Dan’s treatment of the human figure is like nothing I’ve ever seen. They are at once naive, bold, courageous and slightly awkward—like real human bodies. Not perfect, not plastic, but take-it-or-leave-it it’s my body. Dan has taken his own path in rendering the human figure.

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