by Suzanne Volmer
“Art for Survival,” a portrait exhibition of paintings by Daniel Maffia, opens on August 19 at Harmon Gallery in Wellfleet. The artist makes narratives that rely on appropriation or remix as a method for sourcing content. He includes recognizable images from pop culture and film noir, as well as familiar art historical references reframed or re-contextualized to define the character of the present. All of Maffia’s paintings at Harmon Gallery, which were painted over the last two years, function as social commentary. They are important as as markers for reflection.
A resident of Hingham, Mass. and southern France, Maffia was born and raised in France; he then worked for years in New York as a very competent illustrative painter. He became well known for having created many cover portraits for Time and Rolling Stone magazines, and he has deftly created some very iconic, and historic, imprints in our visual memory banks.
Among the artworks that will be on view is one painting that is a redux of his Time portrait cover (c. 1980) of John Lennon captioned “When the Music Died.” The work was commissioned to report the ex-Beatle’s assassination. Maffia’s show will also include paintings based on still images or screen grabs from movies like “Taxi Driver” and “Towering Inferno” as well as paintings that mimic (extremely well) masterpieces by Velázquez: “Don Diego Acedo” (c.1645) and “Sebastián de Morra” (c 1645).