David Barnes
Artist Statement

In recent years I have been trying to create images that reflect the precarious time in which we live, while simultaneously addressing more universal themes of our human life such as transience and beauty. My paintings have become a blend of confrontation and contemplation. On one hand I feel the need to create images that contain contemporary forms such as skate parks, border crossings, airports, construction site detritus, pot holes and sidewalks. Forms that through their inclusion in the painting speak to the present moment and allude to the anxiety that permeates our culture. On the other hand, I want my paintings to address traditional artistic concerns of form and craft. The timeless concerns that have always occupied painters. As a result, the thematic concerns in my work are intentionally mirrored by my technique.

Typically my images are relatively thinly painted with speed and an economy of brushstrokes. The cumulative affect is an image that hovers between solidity and disintegration. This places the viewer in an uncertain or transitional space. One can see the resolution of solid form and the potential for dissolution simultaneously. Even as I paint, this is my experience. I feel as though I’m walking an artistic tight rope or heading down a path that could end a number of different ways. This tends to be the settings for my paintings as well. Whether it’s an abandoned skate park or a glimpse of a street as police gather, one isn’t certain whether things are going to end well or not. I’m trying to capture the symptoms and the content of the zeitgeist.