David Bell: Variations on a theme
April 28th - May 26th, 2018
Washingtonian artist David Bell has been a creative presence in Georgetown for over twenty-five years. A fine arts major at Bennington College in Vermont, David started his professional career as a painter while still in his teens in Bennington. New York art dealer and ad executive William F. Herrick was so taken with his paintings that he started representing the young artist, selling his works throughout New England. David credits Herrick with teaching him to “paint every day; perfect your craft.”
For his second solo show at Susan Calloway Fine Arts, David has produced a new body of work that includes both paintings, collage, and works on paper in dialogue with one another. Layers of glue, paint, paste, and plaster are applied structurally over printed media and canvas. David focuses especially on the interplay of these materials as he works. The finished products are often organic in form despite the methodical process from which they coalesce. These works incorporate both geometric and expressionist styles, and reflect the influence of great mid-century painters whom David so admires: Franz Kline, Helen Frankenthaler, Robert Rauschenberg, Cy Twombly and Agnes Martin.
My paintings are meant to be architectural and structural in their own right. I want them to be the bones of the room, physically impacting one’s sense of space.
I often paint with my fingers, mixing oil stick, earth, clay, and gesso in with the pigment. Sensory experience of the medium connects me to the work in a way that cannot be achieved with a brush. Because of this tactile connection, I view paintings as dynamic and evolving, not static. I often return to a painting weeks or months later and add something or take something away. Working with a piece over time creates dramatic differences in texture that give the painting new life as the light changes over the course of a day. For me, it is the dimension in the layers of paint that my eye finds most beautiful.