Altamira Fine Art Scottsale is pleased to welcome David Michael Slonim for a solo exhibition, Fragment of Song, November 11-23, 2019.
Please join us for the Artist Reception on Thursday, November 21, from 6:30-9pm. The artist will be in attendance and will give short presentation.
FRAGMENT OF SONG
David Michael Slonim continually asks himself this question as he explores the potential intrinsic to each of his paintings. He considers every move he makes regarding palette, form and composition. What if I combine only these two colors? What if I limit the piece to just one value? What if I follow this line to its terminus? “When I’m doing it well, painting is an exploration of a question,” he says. “I think I'm learning to ask good questions.”
His new body of work grew from a trio of inquisitive tracks, exploring color blocks, one-liners and jumbles. The first grew from feeling under the weather: choosing to stay at home rather than commute to his studio, he spent two hours doing color studies at his kitchen table. The core question of this sick-day foray: “What if I reduce a painting to the simple pleasure of seeing one color against another—no place to hide?” Color haikus ensued—spare, simple, enticing.
Further improvisations followed. The jumbles and one-liners stemmed from similarly spontaneous yet resolute expressions: doodles done in ink on small pieces of paper, refined in subsequent drafts working out the spacing and silhouette of the shapes. Once unified, he projects the drawing on a canvas, and color choices follow. “The bones are pleasing before any color comes in,” he says. The result of such editing: a harmonious composition like The Whole Shebang, a 48x36 canvas in the show.
“My goal is to figure out how little I can say and still find it compelling and moving. Can I make something that I want to live with and remains intriguing after multiple viewings?”
After establishing parameters for himself, Slonim roves across the set terrain. Much like a child with a paintbrush and pots, adding this color to that, putting this shape here and another there. Patiently, he allows his experiments to come into focus. Clarity rises, a distillation of forms and feeling. Deep-seated inspirations surface like memories of stained glass windows, kites and cartoons; or his study and appreciation of masters like Picasso, Calder and Miro.
Through these structured yet improvisational abstractions, Slonim reaches for both the playful and the spiritual. “The act of painting is inherently optimistic—a refusal to believe life is chaotic and meaningless,” he says. “If harmony and order can exist on a canvas, then perhaps harmony can exist in all our relationships, which means a good painting points toward hope.”
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