In 2002, after working for several years on a project that combined remote webcams and landscape painting, I became interested in the way the exceedingly distant Martian landscape is exclusively experienced - indirectly, only via technology, as an image. I was intrigued by this very contemporary circumstance, where the perception of a physically inacessible landscape becomes increasingly theoretical even as, image by image, it becomes more familiar.
I began to examine this “landscape as technological vision” in a series of ink drawings. I based them on digital images made on Mars by robotic rovers linked to a NASA website. (There are over 100,000 photographs in this growing archive.) I found a unique combination of the familiar and the unfamiliar in these scientific images - and a strange congruence of the future and the past as well. While my drawings intentionally resemble certain "sublime" landscapes by expeditionary painters of the 19th century, they also literally could not exist without access to an array of the most complex contemporary technology, including several extra-terrestrial vehicles, and a relay satellite orbiting Mars.
My drawings start simply though. I interpret my source material without any preparatory drawing, building up the final image directly on paper using a few brushes and a variety of ink wash tones. I often discover new aspects of the image as I work, editing and elaborating as needed, and eventually the drawing becomes autonomous of its source. The finished drawing appears photographic but inevitably breaks into its constituent hand-drawn elements at some point during its viewing. Very much like a pixilated digital image, the drawings' illusion appears stronger and seems to gain more detail when viewed from a distance. This paradoxical effect echoes my initial interest in the perception of Mars.
Artist Bio / CV
SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS:
2007: Landscape Sculpture, Cynthia Broan Gallery, New York, New York.
1998: David Clarkson, Derek Eller Gallery, New York, New York.
1996: Afterimage, S. L. Simpson Gallery, Toronto, Ontario.
1993: S. L. Simpson Gallery, Toronto, Ontario.
1992: Highlight Paintings, White Columns, New York, New York.
1987: S. L. Simpson Gallery, Toronto, Ontario.
1986: A Liar’s Pleasure, S. L. Simpson Gallery, Toronto, Ontario.
1983: Wild Ideal, YYZ, Toronto, Ontario.
1982: The Promise, P. S. 1, Long Island City, New York.
1980: Fragments of an Incomplete Reconnaissance, YYZ, Toronto, Ontario.
1979: Constructed Photographs, Gallery 76, Toronto, Ontario.
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS:
2008: Sense of Place, Gallery Joe, Philadelphia, P.A.
Space +Time, Dinter Fine Art, New York, N.Y.
Selections Spring 2008, Drawing Center, New York, N.Y.
2007: Carte Blanche II, Saint Fronleichnam Church, Aachen, Germany.
Modeling the Photographic: The End(s) of Photography, McDonough Museum of Art, Youngstown,Ohio.
2006: Ultimate Destination, d.u.m.b.o. art center (dac), Brooklyn, New York
2005: More Better Future, Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland, Ohio.
2003: American Dream, Ronald Feldman Fine Art, New York, NY.
Seeing Red Part II, Hunter College Times Square Gallery, New York, New York.
2000: Painting Function; Making It Real, Spaces, Cleveland, Ohio.
1999: Post-Hypnotic, University Galleries, Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois.
1997: Painting In An Expanded Field, Bennington College, Bennington, New York.
1994: Faux, Ronald Feldman Fine Art, New York, New York
1992: David Clarkson, General Idea, Allan McCollum, S.L. Simpson Gallery, Toronto,Ontario.
1988: (C)overt, P. S. 1, Long Island City, New York.
Active Surplus, Power Plant, Toronto, Ontario; 49th Parallel, New York, New York.
1987: Toronto Exchange, Hallwalls, Buffalo, New York.
1986: 18 th Sao Paulo Biennal, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
1984: New City of Sculpture, YYZ, Toronto, Ontario.
Seeing Space, Photographers’ Gallery, London, England.
1983: Photographic Sources, S. L. Simpson Gallery, Toronto, , Ontario..
1982: Monumenta, YYZ, Toronto, Ontario.