David Douglas - Mixed Media
Working at the intersection of drawing, painting and photography, David A. Douglas creates large scale works that explore the power of place. Depicting personally significant landscapes on a monumental scale, Douglas offers the viewer the opportunity to enter his visual world and experience the potency that underlies each moment. Amplifying the inner beauty within the ordinary, Douglas' works resonate with the intensity of a poem, simply stated yet somehow glowing with life from the inside out.
Although the works appear to be photographs, Douglas' method incorporates drawing and painting techniques as well. Trained first as a painter, Douglas came to use photography in mid-career, primarily as an offshoot of his work as a teacher. Although he now collects his imagery through a camera lens, his pieces still come into being through a process much more akin to painting. Image fragments are brought together with conscious attention focused on formal compositional elements. While drawn from specific and personally impactful landscapes, a finished work will most likely be made of parts from multiple places at once and is a depiction more of the artists' vision rather than a specific place. In this way, Douglas imbues each scene with a luscious and beautifully confounding incongruity. These qualities are subtle. One has to look closely, but the reward is layered and sublime.
These images tell stories. Large enough to imaginatively enter, the places Douglas creates are deeply grounded in the natural world. But traces of humanity are featured as well, with houses, benches, clotheslines, random debris and even figures sparsely populating the environment. Viewed through a diffuse light, these additions seem both random and purposeful, capturing frozen moments, implying action and meaning, a sense of the past and the future.
As artist and storyteller, Douglas creates markers for viewers to follow. Questions are asked and openended answers are thoughtfully posed. What might be happening here? What makes me notice what I notice? What gives meaning to this randomness? What makes the ordinary extraordinary? Where am I, and how does it feel to be in this place? These works are deeply engaging and elementally familiar, comforting and disquieting, moments of life lived into by artist and viewer alike.
A native of Northern Virginia, Douglas has works in numerous public, private and corporate collections, including the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Chrysler Museum, Cedar Rapids Museum of Art and the Academy Art Museum. His work has been shown in various solo and group exhibitions, including exhibits with Chuck Close, Robert Mapplethorpe, Diane Arbus, Sally Mann, Lee Friedlander, Richard Deibenkorn, Alexander Calder, Robert Rauchenberg, Bernice Abbott, Ansel Adams, and Hiroshi Sugimoto, among others. --- Nancy Sausser, Exhibitions Director, McLean Project for the Arts