Over the past few years, Danny First has been sculpting ceramic busts of fictional characters. These imaginary portraits consist of subtle variations on a pared down face: two holes for eyes, a nose, and a horizontal line for a mouth. By slightly altering the arrangement of these four elements, the subjects of his work each take on their own personality. Their blank gaze is haunting and uncanny.
Each of these characters is a little pathetic, which makes them all the more human. By working with such a strict visual language, First leaves room for the viewer to recognize their self in the sculptures. First is interested in playing with the divide between the formality of traditional sculpture and the empathy he has for his characters. He balances the material heaviness with humor, levity, and above all, pathos.
Danny First also developed a series of work utilizing recycled materials to create functional art benches. They incorporate text reflecting First's droll sense of humor.