Upcoming First Friday
October 3, 2014
6pm - 9pm
Stamps, acrylic on paper, 3.5" x 5"
The Joplin Paintings
October 3 - November 1, 2014
I make art to translate my existence into material memory. The act is at least as much like burping or farting as it is philosophizing or reasoning with language. Myself with my material circumstances in addition to whatever I consume combine and concentrate in a work of art and this alchemy will usually produce something of substance even if unpleasant. This helps me to become hyper aware of the particulars of my existence and to more fully appreciate them while producing a tangible relic of both the existence and its examination. It is a way to conjure memories, a tool for investigation and above all a toy for messing around. Drawing is at the core of everything I make and acts as an armature for all other decisions to build on. The immediacy of capturing gesture and emotion and creating space with a marking tool is an endless source of interest to me. This process grants access to a conversation with my predecessors, my peers, and artists to come.
On May 22, 2011 I woke up early to meet a collector for breakfast in lower Manhattan to see about selling a triptych cheap in order to save my truck because it had just been towed for the third time. It went well and as I went to the bank I realized my state tax return had been direct deposited. I called a friend to celebrate. After eating and drinking our way through Lower East Side and Chelsea we ended up at the theatre watching Werner Herzogs Cave of Forgotten Dreams. When I woke up (it was a soothing movie and I’d had a big day) the movie was over and I noticed my mom had called eight times. I didn’t listen to the messages and called her back. "A tornado hit Joplin, Travis! It wiped out everything!”
I took the photos referenced in these paintings my first hour or so in Joplin, Missouri when I was driving around town with my dad looking at where his mother and grandmother had lived and taking in the scale of the mess. I spent a little over a month on two visits helping clean around my grandpa’s property before settling back into New York where I started to paint from photos for the first time. A conversion occurs in “The Joplin Paintings.” A fast, random, incredibly destructive force fuels slow, deliberate, creative effort. I am acting as the not quite equal but opposite reaction to the 2011 Tornado. This slow labor also mimics the clean up and rebuilding effort hat continues today.
Because the source in photography is obvious the paintings have a sense of fact about them. They are proof of something that did happen. They likewise call attention to deviations from that source. It’s possible to trace the decision-making and see where I’ve strayed off course or goofed off. These formal considerations refer to the limitations of the flat surface as well as exploit a picture’s freedom from the laws of gravity and mass. Those manipulations are an attempt to paint experience back into the picture.
International Friendship Art Exhibition for Edgar Snow Symposium
Stoic, oil on panel, 14"x14"
Waiting, oil on canvas, 48"x36"
Over the last five years, I have been primarily working with the figure and exploring different combinations of representation and abstraction. The painting process is intuitive, with one mark informing the next and very little planning done in advance. This sense of uncertainty is one of the more rewarding parts of the process for me and leads to an active dialogue between the painting and myself. Though the abstractions are not mapped out, the marks are intentionally precise, as opposed to being "painterly". Within this pursuit, I have also been trying to develop my use of color and create greater complexity throughout the work. Upon close examination, a wide range of skin tones can be seen along with hundreds of minuscule abstract marks. The work in Aberrations is the culmination of this broad exploration and is a bridge to a new, more refined pursuit that this visual language can continue to build upon.
The word "aberrations" refers not only to the cloud-like swarm of abstract marks surrounding and encompassing the figures, but also to what these marks could represent. Over time, I have begun to consider these marks as analogous to the subtle chaos and seemingly infinite complexity in life. Some days they simply represent the bombardment of digital information and visual stimuli we are increasingly subject to. Yet at other times, the neutral facial expressions paired with these abstractions imply a more internalized narrative and a glimpse into the psyche of my subjects. This imbuement of meaning is relatively recent and has added a much more intellectually stimulating layer to what was primarily a technical pursuit.
Born in 1985, David Slone received a BA in Art from Anderson University in South Carolina. After graduation, he worked as a graphic designer while maintaining an active studio practice, and became a contributing member of Art Bomb Studios, an artist collective in Greenville, SC. Since 2012, he has been living and working in Sterling, KS.
KCAI: Undergrads Underground