Au Gallery : Gold Gallery

David Kessler

While in graduate school at San Francisco Art Institute, I was deeply influenced by a group of painters known as photo-realists. These painters used a slide or photo as the subjects of their work and faithfully reproduced it on their canvases through various means. They were not interested on having their hand show in the finished product, so brush marks were intentionally painted out.

My first painting series out of graduate school I called the "Ruined Slide Series*. It was an effort to take what they had accomplished and add something to it. My idea was to use ruined slides as my subject matter; slides that have been ruined in the development process, creating fantastic light leaks, gem-like chemical spots, or interesting colorations due to incorrect film processing. Using an airbrush instead of traditional brushes, I identical reproduced everything that appeared on the slide without adding or creating anything at the point of painting.

The other concept this series dealt with was that it allowed me to have two different types of space; i.e. Renaissance space and Modern space, to coexist simultaneously on the canvas. Renaissance space in the sense that the viewer sees the canvas as a window and tries to view through it to see the image, and Modern space where the flattening of the space occurs to the viewer's eye being brought back to the surface of the canvas due the chemical spots, rainbow abstractions, and so forth.

I have continued to use the concept of having both types of space coexist in my work throughout my career.

The paintings at Gold Gallery incorporate that concept in a slightly different way, using a slightly different strategy. When you approach the work, you initially try to view through it to see the image, whether it's a close-up water abstraction or a more easily recognizable waterscape. But, while doing so, your eye is brought back to the surface sue to the physicality of the aluminum surface, with its scrapes, burnishes, and abrasions that also create part of the image. The two types of space furthers set up by a holographic quality caused by your eye trying to focus on both the part of the image described by paint and the part of the image created by refracted light.