Artist David King’s latest series of works draws inspiration from unearthed family film reels transferred to DVDs and old photos found in thrift stores. He draws moments from these images then subtracts elements and injects his subjects into an abstract world of color, breathing new life into them while nostalgically connecting to the past.
“It’s about remembering the past and respecting our time on this earth,” King said. “We all move through our lives and are only here for a short time. My children are young adults and my mother is 88 years old. I feel like I’m in the middle looking back and looking to the future at the same time. This corpus is linked to my series “Travel in time”, but since the characters are not members of the immediate family, the situations are more ambiguous and allow multiple interpretations. ”
The works are included in “David King – Transience and the Gift of Curiosity,” which opens this Friday at the Hedge Gallery and runs through December 31.
From late 2020, King began experimenting with materials using oil paint on aluminum panels, making monotypes, and incorporating mirrors. These materials and processes allow the artist greater versatility in cutting, folding, scratching and engraving where canvas and cardboard have their limits. Seeing an artist in the midst of his career pivoting his use of materials demonstrates an ongoing fascination with the process and intrigue required to grow and learn.
“I can’t wait to see what else he can do,” King said. “The incorporation of mirrors allows viewers to insert themselves into the stories, creating another dimension. Viewers are now voyeurs, peering into private moments and seeing secret lives from the past. Displaced figures removed from the original pieces can appear anywhere as we often find ourselves in unlikely and surprising places.
Since retiring from a full-time teacher at Chagrin Falls High School in 2014, King has devoted more time to his own work in recent years. Time has given her the freedom to deepen her curiosity and allow the creative process to unfold organically. In this series, the works involve unplanned narrative verses drawing on any formula that might drive an artist toward stagnation. In King’s case, there seems to be a renewed connection with his imagination and a depth towards exploring what drives his work.
“I don’t have a formula for creating a painting,” King continued. “One thing leads to another and my curiosity prompts me to investigate various stories. Regarding the “gift” part of the series, the timescale has changed and upon retirement as a full-time educator, I can now focus on my personal work. It really feels like a gift because I can spend my time being curious.
Even though King seems to move away from specific family reference material, his family and the innate human need for connection propels his work in a down-to-earth way, which comes across as unpretentious and approachable. King’s brushwork is intensely masterful and expressively uninhibited. His knack for gradation, pulling colors and tones through his subjects to express light and shadows, seems effortless and leaves an impressionistic resonance to impress King’s viewer’s mastery of pigment.
King taps into controlled surrender, which is at the peak of artistic achievement, and King’s work comes across as unforced, natural, and pleasing to the eye. It flows with a graceful precision exemplary of the masters. His subjects in their relaxed compositions contrasted with dreamlike backgrounds offer the viewer an escape into the artist’s psyche.
In the play “Phishing,” which depicts an older man wearing a fisherman’s hat on a wheelchair holding a rod with an expression of fascination with what lies at the end, a woman in pink with a cap on her head, looking puzzled as another man bends down to pull something out of what we assume is water.
The subjects are consumed in rainbow colors and what looks like abstract waterfalls pouring around them, crushing the subjects. It is an interesting contrast between abstraction and impressionism and makes the viewer imagine what he could get out of the water and what the artist is trying to convey.
“We’re all family and we have stories to tell,” King said. “The juxtaposition of figures from the past and ambiguous landscapes seems almost futuristic and bypasses the present. The pandemic has slowed us down, giving us time to be present and think about what is really important in this life. Many inequalities in the world are being addressed for the first time and attempts are made to level the playing field. I hope this progress will unite us, allow us to see the world through the prism of others and to really feel ourselves. as if we were all family.
There will be a preview of “Transience and the Gift of Curiosity, New Paintings by David King” this Thursday, November 18, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., where viewers can get a taste of the show and perhaps claim their purchase of a track. before opening.