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Former DL man lives on through artwork

Detroit Lakes High School graduate Dan Irvine’s artwork is on display in the DL Library now through the end of August. Irvine died two years ago of cancer at age 60. His family says he lives on through his artwork, which they are hoping to display it throughout the region. Artwork Courtesy of Dan Irvine

One of Detroit Lakes’ own is being remembered through his artwork, now on display at the Detroit Lakes branch of the Lake Agassiz Regional Library.

Dan Irvine’s unique collection of computer-generated canvases can be seen from now until the end of August in the library’s first-floor meeting room.

The exhibit, however, doesn’t come without some sadness from his family.

“It was a shock,” said Eloise Irvine, Dan’s mother, for both the family and for Dan when he was diagnosed with cancer in 2012.

Less than three months after first falling ill, Dan passed away at age 60.

However, Dan lives on through his artwork. During his life, it was shown in galleries all over California, and Eloise now hopes to see it shown in other galleries around the area where he grew up.

The canvases feature complex designs of faces, forms and many layers of line and color.

They were all created with the help of computer software, and Eloise confessed that she was a bit thrown by the designs at first.

“We never had seen anything like it,” she said.

However, she said that within the works there is a multitude of interpretations to be found.

“Most everything has different meanings,” she said of Dan’s artwork, adding a little sadly that they will “never know all the things he was thinking of.”

Still, his pieces have caught the attention of the art world.

Art critic Christina Strong described Dan’s work this way:

“His juxtaposition of images and use of color is a compelling chronicle of digital artwork, a calculated knowledge of media and a wisdom of both drama and intensity.”

The pieces have also stirred interest in art aficionados and collectors.

Eloise said that they have had inquiries from buyers concerning both the pieces on display in the library, and those left from his studio in California.

“There are many, many, many more (pieces)” she said.

And while one day they may consider selling the works, for now the family is content to show them in galleries. Through his work, they remember the son and brother they have lost.

Dan found his passion for art and graphic design during college, Eloise said, but was also an avid athlete, basketball and golf being particular favorites of his. He attended Detroit Lakes High School, graduating in 1969.

Dan worked in California as a newspaper layout editor, creative director at a magazine and a freelance graphic artist, all while working on his own artistic pursuits.

In an exhibit description compiled by his family, Dan’s work is described as being influenced by his growing up in the 1960s and ’70s, and “conveys the truth that we as humans are ‘all in this together.’”

That humanistic spirit now lives on through the artwork he left behind.

The exhibit is open to the public free of charge during the library’s hours of operation.