David Downs

Painting is a complex form of communication able to express and inflict emotion without needing to define that emotion. In my work, I am analyzing my own inner conflicts and attempting to relate my findings to the viewer. It is a conversation about deflated ego, isolation, doubt, longing, judgement, fear, and occasional peace. The varied subjects I choose, work together as metaphors to those ideas. I wish to break away from the notion that a portrait is separate from a landscape, when they can work together to define the greater concept behind a series. For example, a face might allude to an emotional welling from within, while a painting or installation of a particular scene can transport you to a place where that emotion might grip you. The work may be physically different, but they work together conceptually.

For the past year, my work has taken the form of portraits of people I know personally who suffer from the same desires, frustrations, and ailments that I do. I photograph my subjects in a relaxed state until I find the one image that feels most natural and honest to use as my reference. I choose the plainest image, devoid of pretension, dramatization, and false sentiment, to expose the deeper humanity of the subject. The large size of the portraits amplify my subject’s personality in an effort to engulf and overwhelm the viewer.

Other than people, I also seek out places that instill a similar emotional quality. Abandoned buildings destroyed by a storm, an airplane hangar once burned in a fire, ships in a watery graveyard left to rust away… they stand like forgotten monuments deteriorating in time. They were built with great intentions, but somehow fell short of their expectations. Any significance they held has been lost, and now they wither away, crippled and ignored. It is a comment on mortality, and fear of becoming like these fallen, forgotten structures.

Website: davidpauldowns.com