Contemporary Exhibition… Davoth Art — artist Dave Voth

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the “postponed due to weather” event by artist Dave Voth

Contemporary artist Dave Voth is my favorite painter. Also, he is an excellent friend. He is an artist… Performance, painting, living, Facebook poet. Dave does it all. The first time I met him, I was designated driver back from Murphy’s in Colorado Springs. I piled the crew into my 1969 Volkswagen Beetle to drop people off and Dave was the last person out of the backseat. A few blocks from his house he hung his pink Converse out of the passenger side window, yelling, “WEeeewewWEwweeYaaaa” out into the summer night. “Hey, do you want to get us pulled over?” I asked stopping in front of his place. “Nope,” smile gleaming in the dark “thanks for the ride” he said climbing out of the passenger side window, over my friend in the front seat. “Dave’s an artist” she said, as he went into his house. “He paints”.

I knew Dave as a friend before Facebook was cool and once we friend-ed in the digital world, I became enthralled with his magnificent painting style. It’s wonderful to be friends with artists that keep images of their work in social networks online. Without even being in their studio you can see works in progress and chat about thoughts on art processes. Through narrative, color, and texture, Dave Voth creates a unique style and engages his audience.

The first reaction that I have to Dave’s style is to smile. I feel surprised, like I am seeing something unexpected and complex. The abstracted figurative style of his characters make me think of the relationships and situations of everyday life. Objects are urbanized yet the whimsical imaginative world echoes of modern painters such as Manet in Olympia 1863, wherein the painter reflected on contemporary life and urbanized settings. Similarly Dave creates a space: the sounds and movement of modern living. In his painting The Spartan Complex (50”x60”) this theme of narrative is prevalent. Focused as the center, a male/female/police car humanoid, towers through the space of suburbia. Cookie-cutter homes trail off like a sentence. Speaking with objects and spacial relationships is one way that Dave communicates to viewers. Bold type and graffiti whispers directly speak directly to the viewer, only causing more curiosity and intrigue. By breaking up the canvas into sections the story drifts through time and adds depth to plot. Also, this method creates tension to make each section its own occurrence. Just like living in the city, everyone’s story is happening at once.

The colors in this painting are a visual “push-pull” causing excitement and balance. The background is an allover composition with repeated mute colors which makes a solid foundation for the drama within the vibrant lines and high-frequency colors. This composition is exciting and contrary to what is expected, because Dave breaks rules and dares our visual palette. Traditionally, warm colors advance and cool colors recede but he uses yellow as a background and luscious greens and blues to pop out of the foreground. Red appears like a flash from an explosion, yet it acts as a balance, a compositional peace-keeper. Gently, soft blue adds more tension and a cozy resting place… a pedestal for the shocking red. A truly beautiful understanding of color theory resides in Dave Voth’s paintings. For example, in the tires of the squad car, reds, blues, and purples layered from thick to thin create a prism of color. Details such as this make it pleasurable to spend time with this painting and come back to study it again. This is true of every work by Dave Voth. Color, I would say, is his specialty. Similarly his painting titled “Colonial Dispatch Machine” is a contortion of color, an electric treat for eye-candy. By using specific colors he tells us where to go, where “it’s” at, and there’s always something new to notice and think about. Mostly with this piece I am drawn to the skeleton figure. This aqua-blue color is totally unique and I cannot stop staring… It makes me crazy. I want it – this color – it is a precious object, igniting the canvas and making the audience dream.

Dreaming while awake, dreaming in paint. Dreaming is what makes Dave Voth such an excellent artist. His narratives and skills with color will never tire. Another key component to Dave’s delicious painting style his use of texture. Color fields and sharp lines bounce in opposition and cause movement. Not just implied movement, but movement of the eyes throughout the piece. Probably every person looking at his painting “Un-common Man, Mid-stride (40×30)” takes a different path through the canvas. Again, balance through tension infuses life into this painting. The dark layered lines with red peeking through jump off of the milky patch of muted yellow. This temps us, poking us with confusion in opposition to the blocks of matte primary colors on the left of the canvas. Only sparse lines, dark and thin, mark key areas and cause just enough definition to sway a balance between the forms. Also, the intentional facture of the paintbrush creates unity and depth with texture. Between blending and sharp strokes, the texture of this painting has a distinction in the plains and layers of foreground and background. Shapes are another way that he intricately approaches texture. Choices of where the hollow circles, gear-outlines, and chunks of color without outlines are placed compose how we perceive the world of the painting and spatial relationships within this world. Dave Voth is an excellent contemporary artist because of the aesthetic and formal qualities of his paintings and because he reflects the world as he sees within his art. Probably my favorite quotation straight form the art happenings of Dave’s Facebook art page is, “Remember, friends, Coyotes and Hustlers make things happen, even if we may not always agree with their technique. There’s more than one way to the moon, all blue cheese and dreams, eh?” ….

Dave has a way of making someone believe in a totally impossible imaginary world that is actually a reflection of us exactly as we exist today, yesterday, and tomorrow. To be an artist, you have to dream and to get the full experience of Dave Voth’s work you have to dream. This work is perfect for anyone that’s curious, whimsical, serious, or playful. This work is for people who like stories and enjoy remembering.

4 Responses

  1. WOW! what an interesting man. That is a great story you added in about meeting him and made your paper a lot more personal and intriguing. I really enjoy Dave’s style of art and how you described it. I think the picture of him at the beginning tells all. He seems like quite the character. You use great words in describing his detail such as delicious and sharp. I think you did a great job on this paper.

    • hey thanks so much for reading my post:) Dave is such an interesting person, he inspires me on so many levels. As he would say… “Hugs!”. Do look for his next solo show in Denver if you have time:)

  2. I’m glad I didn’t get you pulled over that night. :) Thanks for your flattering take on my work, Alysia. When your insides come out, it’s nice to have a canvas around and even nicer to have it be appreciated!

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