David V Gonzales Artist Review
In the mid 1950s in the United Kingdom and United States the art movement of Pop Art emerged. Pop Art challenged the traditions of Fine Art and included imagery from popular culture. The focus of popular culture was to add voice to those who existed outside of the elitist culture of art. Emphasizing the banal or kitschy elements of mass culture included advertising, comic books, and mundane mass-produced objects with irony. Pop Art often takes imagery that it’s currently used in advertising and transforms it into works of art. Artists such as Eduardo Paolozzi, Jasper Johns, and Andy Warhol crafted the Pop Art Movement to heighten significance to the elements of life so often passed by without thought.
Campbell's Soup, 1961
The artwork of LeRoy Neiman is characterized by bright vivid color use and lively brushstrokes that convey action. Neiman spent much of the 1960s traveling the world and painting leisure life, social activities, and athletic competitions. These paintings of the athletes of the Olympics, Super Bowl, and World Series amongst others captured the action of athletes in exciting ways and made LeRoy the defining voice in athletic themed art. In addition to being a renowned sports artists, LeRoy painted many subject matters including wildlife, cuisine, and America at play. A painting by LeRoy Neiman is immediately identifiable by exuberant color use, subjects captured in action, and his free feeling brushwork.
Olympic Track, 1970
The paintings of artist David V. Gonzales capture every viewer’s attention due to their bright expressive colors and the action he creates with fast and lively brushwork. Gonzales focused his early artistic career on reflecting his Native American and Hispanic Cultural traditions and building upon strong artistic fundamentals and practices that ranged from photo realism to abstract. From there David launched himself into a new focus of capturing relative objects traveling though space and time. Like the Pop Artists, David focuses on subjects of everyday American life, especially fond of highlighting the things that make people smile and feel alive. Although different in many ways, David’s painting are also reminiscent of LeRoy Neiman’s depictions of moments of time captured, forever frozen for our viewing pleasure. The wildlife, athletes, and portraits that David paints capture the moments of joy, freedom and excitement in life. Simply put, David’s painting make people feel good.
Principals of Art:
Space: Space is demonstrated to create dimension in the composition. In his landscapes, David creates space though changes in proportion due to perspective as well as a gradual fading of color value and detail as the landscape recedes. In Euphoric Powder you can see how the mountains in the background have less detail and are lighter in value than the foreground. This shift pushes the mountains back and brings the foreground closer, thus creating space within the composition.
Color: Color plays an enormous roll in David’s work and he is not afraid to use vivid bold colors to enhance the drama and action of the painting. David has also taken to using bright colors contrasted against a greyscale background. In Euphoric Powder the eye is drawn to the action of the skier that is brightly colored, popping against the black and white background. The juxtaposition of the colors and the greyscale heighten the action of the skier as they zoom across the composition. .
Shape: David creates his paintings by composing general shapes that build to a strong composition. These organic shapes give a general balance to the painting and create a visual flow for the eye to follow. Note the way the vertical trees connect the diagonal slope and horizontal background mountains in Euphoric Powder. These general shapes are composed by David to create an aesthetically pleasing composition that feels balanced and thought out.
Form: Circle is to shape as sphere is to form. David gives life to his subjects by transforming them from shape to form through value and proportion changes. In Euphoric Powder the trees feel real and dimensional to the viewer because of the darker values set against the bright highlights of the snow. This makes the trees feel three dimensional and heightens their reality.
Value: Value relates to the tint/shade of a hue (color). Every color can be tinted by adding white or shaded by adding black. The purpose of considering value in a painting is to help create both dimension and a mood. A wide variation of values add drama to David’s paintings. In Euphoric Powder the more dramatic and strong values of the foreground make it feel closer and more life like to the viewer, opposed to the distant mountains which are painted in softer less dramatic values.
Texture: Paint splatters, drips, and textured brushwork give even more life to David’s paintings. There is freedom in this expressive brushwork that leaves behind evidence to the artist’s hand. The texture created adds flare and movement to David’s paintings.
Line: Line use is utilized to stimulate the eye to move around the painting’s entire composition and to not rest solely on the focal point. Euphoric Powder has one strong dominating diagonal line of the skier’s slope. This line would lead the eye off the canvas, if not for the vertical lines of the trees that grab the eye and move it to the horizontal mountains. The line use is undefined and present to act as subconscious cues for the viewer without distracting or limiting the freedom and action of the painting.
Principals of Design:
Balance: While composing his paintings, David creates balance with colors, proportions and detail. The brightly colored skier of Euphoric Powder is balanced by the greyscale that is larger in visual weight than the skier. It is due to this large variation of scale that the skier feels balanced and realistic in the composition.
Unity: The unity of a piece is what creates a sense of completeness. David’s characteristic brushwork and color use unify his entire body of work, as well as every individual painting. You can see in Euphoric Powder how the lively brushwork exists in all of the painting and unifies the different elements together.
Variety: Variety is what adds interest into a work of art. The most obvious source of variety in Euphoric Powder is the dramatic change from color to greyscale. This variety is the most captivating aspect of the painting, yet feels unified due to David’s cohesive painting style
Emphasis: Emphasis is what the artist uses to create a focal point. Focal points can vary viewer to viewer, but a truly successful composition will have one clear focal point that the eye is continually drawn to over and over again. Euphoric Powder has a clear and easy focal point of the brightly colored skier. The action filled subjects act as the emphasis in almost all of David’s work.
Movement: Movement implies motion is a snapshot of time. David’s work is defined by his fascination of capturing movement and action as his subjects move through time and space. Lively brushwork that leads to splatters, drips and texture add a feeling of freedom and heighten the movement he captures so expertly.
Pattern: Think of pattern as the visual skeleton that organizes the parts of a composition. This underlying structure uses consistent and regular repetition. You can have both natural and man made pattern. A subtle repetition of the trees in Euphoric Powder create a subconscious pattern for the eye to relax amongst in the action filled painting.
Perspective: Perspective is what’s creates a three dimensional painting vs a two dimensional painting. To create depth in Euphoric Powder David paints the background mountains with less detail and value strength to demonstrate the atmospheric perspective of how mountains recede from the viewer. This also heightens the emphasis of the skier in the foreground.
David starts his paintings on a wooden panel. As opposed to a canvas which is typically open backed and cloth, wooden panels are uniformly ridged. This sturdiness provides David’s paintings a more stable surface to work upon which is advantageous for this lively painter. Davis uses acrylic paint, which is a water based paint that is quick drying and very sturdy. Due to acrylic’s quick drying nature, the artist can layer distinctly different colors over one another in a short period of time. If you are lucky enough to watch David paint, you will see him turning his canvas continually in the beginning stages. Seeing his lines from different angles helps him recreate reality as the subjects are broken down to their fundamental shapes. From there David paints fast and with the same action and movement that his subjects posses. His life and passion is translated into his paintings and they emit the energy he puts into them.