Van Vessem Gallery welcomes painters David Barnes and Jim Woodside for Lucis et Umbrae, opening Saturday, October 21. An opening reception will be held that night from 5-8 pm. The exhibit will be on view through November 19.
Barnes and Woodside share an economical approach to oil painting. Their brushwork is direct and effective, uncomplicated but powerful. The two artists also share an affinity in their subject matter: often, scenes of desertion, sparseness, or abandonment, such as empty skateparks, barns, industrial work sites, or perhaps a canteen left dangling from a tree. Both Barnes and Woodside seem to depict moments of stillness, absent human presence but brimming with traces of people's activities. The viewer can decide whether these scenes are calming, anxious or perhaps some uncanny feeling that lingers between these two extremes. Regardless of interpretation, Barnes and Woodside paint with a restrained energy that will invite (and sustain) your gaze.
David Barnes | The precarious or uncertain nature of our lives is the subject of my work. This theme is mirrored in the construction of the artwork. Mine are relatively thin paintings with little underpainting and an economy of actual brush marks. The intent and cumulative effect, when viewed from a distance, is one of a solid image with weight, light, and three dimensions. On closer inspection, the few essential brush strokes, made with restraint and speed, produce an image that appears to hover, either contracting into solidity or exploding apart.
The significance of the imagery is intentionally open-ended. I direct the viewer’s gaze towards the periphery, the ignored, and the after-the-act. Detritus, rubble, a hole in the ground and glimpses of industrial architecture depict liminal spaces that subtly evoke violent change. The individual objects within the paintings, a puddle, a mailbox, a plane overhead-bring the viewer to the threshold of banality or collective anxiety. My objective is to point to life’s precarity, its transient nature and its beauty. www.davidbarnesart.com
Jim Woodside | For me, painting is a kind of personal testimony to the power of a particular place, form or environment - be it exciting or ordinary, empty or frenetic. I try to distill whatever I'm looking at into essential elements that are clear and interesting to me, into a logic that makes sense for me in paint. Working on-site, from direct observation, I try to simplify in ways that help me maintain a direct and emphatic relationship with the subject matter. Hopefully, this helps give the work a fresh in-the-moment credibility and a sense of authenticity. www.jameswoodside.com