Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Press Release: W. David Powell at VCAM/RETN, burlington

208 Flynn Ave, Suite 2G
Burlington, VT 05401
Sunday-Friday 10am - 10pm, Sat 10am - 5pm

Everything Must Go 2.0
March 4th - May 31st

'Everything Must Go 2.0' is a retrospective of work by W. David Powell, the artist responsible for the iconic logo "Eat a Peach" (The Allman Brothers Band). The exhibit includes paintings, drawings, prints, collages, computer generated work and mixed media pieces, spanning the 40+ year career of this artist who is now an Associate Professor at SUNY Plattsburgh. This show presents the rare opportunity to see first hand, a wide sampling of David's work and to understand the many influences and sensibilities by which it was inspired. Nevertheless, the work always was and remains original and fresh.

artist statement: Everything Must Go 2.0

W. David Powell

As an artist showing work from many different phases of a varied career, I am challenged to write coherently about a body of work that has assumed many various forms, from traditional painting and collage, to digital works, as well as works that are hybrids of both old and new methods of working. I can talk about influences, but they are so diverse and varied that they add no clarity to the visual diversity that the work presents to the viewer. A laundry list of artists I admire must include Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, Ed Ruscha, and Andy Warhol. Talking about Ed “Big Daddy” Roth in the same sentence with Max Ernst accurately reflects two strong influences on my work, but what are the connections between the two? That one influenced me in Junior High and the other much later, is perhaps of no consequence, though the cut-and-paste sensibilities of the latter would be more easily traced through the work. What is it then that I have found to admire in these artists that also runs through my work in all its variety? I think that with Roth it was the sheer freedom of expression and his ability to let his imagination run free, whether he was working in airbrush on sweatshirts or building outrageous free-form hot-rods. With Ernst it is his free association and the notion of putting images together from disparate sources to create new meanings that I find most intriguing. These are the qualities of these artists I admire and hope can be seen throughout my work. The pop sensibilities of Ruscha and Warhol, in their distinctively West and East coast variations, are also important in informing my own sensibility about not making distinctions about high art and low art, but drawing from all sources with a disregard for labels. Both Ernst and Warhol gave permission to appropriate images for my own ends without guilt. This becomes increasingly important in more recent work, both in digital montage and old-school, cut-and-paste collage.

I continue to make art that investigates a place where I cannot go through a formal or rational approach to working. I can only go there through a curious combination of image research, assembly and arrangement that owes more to my imagination and ability to free associate on a page or panel, than to any historical movement or personality. I am compelled to continue this quest and follow it where it leads, looking neither forward nor backward, but living in the moment of making.