Studio Visit: The Paintings Of David Hornung

David Hornung Lead Photo Web leaf 72dpi(revised) scene from an anomaly 72dpi
David Hornung makes paintings from both oil and gouache.  He paints quiet simple, small houses located in fenced fields, bucolic scenes of nature, solitary women and men, memento mori, snakes and birds, paths and walls.  Objects in his paintings seem to be a distillation of universal human experiences with the world and among each other.  Some objects are singled out as being important by a kind of twin cloud, the direction of light, or glowing patches of color.  The paintings are beautiful executions of color theory, which makes sense because David wrote the book on color theory “Color: A Workshop Approach.”  His subject matter hovers between observation and the symbolic, and he refers to Philip Guston’s Alphabet series with plain respect, and like Guston, David was reluctant to talk about image-based thinking.  We walked through Brooklyn on the way get some lunch, and David said that painting is hard to talk about because the ideas come out of working with images, that the process gives painters their ideas, which is a kind of reversal, because for most people who work with ideas – the ideas generate the process.

You can see David Hornung’s work at the John Davis Gallery in Hudson NY from May 23rd to June 16th.

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David Hornung

To S.P The woodlands, backyards and mountain fields David Hornung paints can feel like elegies for lost friends.  Conversely, much of the work is contagiously, imaginatively playful.  These paintings can be read in contradictory ways; simultaneously flat and deep, both graphic and luminous.  Hornung does this purposefully, because “picture making can be as paradoxical as life itself.”  The invented settings evoke “memory, the flow of time, and, for lack of a better phrase, the sheer enigma of existence.”  The light breaking on the horizon in “To S.P.” (above) is both beautiful and heartrendingly sad.  What does it say about us when a sunset begs to be personified?  You can see David’s work at Flowers Gallery in Chelsea from June 30 to July 31.

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