Providence, RI--In 1991 David discovered the work of Leo Brooks in a little gallery in Port Clyde and loved the childlike quality of his drawing and his bright, splashy use of watercolor. His paintings seemed so playful. It made him feel like painting again for the first time after having dropped out of Pratt Institute 23 years earlier, but it took another 10 years before he finally gave it a try. A few years later he ended his freelance photography career to paint full-time.
Having been a photographer for three decades, one of David's greatest joys as a painter is being free from objective reality. He can put things in and leave things out and depict things the way they make him feel rather than the way they actually look. He loves to exaggerate and simplify shapes; bending, stretching, compressing and twisting the nominal subject matter to fit the confines of the canvas and to create an emotional response. Rather than thinking of the subject matter as a “picture” he tries to use it as a device to compose the surface of the canvas in an interesting way.
David's favorite time and place in Art History is early 20th century American. Many of the early “modernists” of Stieglitz’s group are favorites, in particular, Marsden Hartley, Arthur Dove and John Marin.He admires Milton Avery for his shapes and unconventional colors and Richard Diebenkorn for his compositions. A contemporary favorite is Texas artist David Bates who is heavily influenced by Hartley. Above all, he loves the work of Charles Burchfield who made the ordinary magical and mysterious.
His exposure to the sea began with just a few brief childhood experiences on family vacations. He grew up near Albany, New York, well inland, but as a child most of his drawings were of boats and imaginary seascapes. He read every sea story in the school library. At Pratt he had a college roommate from Maine and spent a couple weeks for a couple summers on boats along rocky coast and fell in love with it. It wasn’t until 1980 when he moved to Providence to finish school at RISD (BFA, Photography 1982) that he came to live in proximity to salt water.