The Late Paintings (1993-1998)
David Green, Articulating Dawn (1998),
acrylic on paper
Painter and collagist David Green (1951-1998) had the advantage and the dilemma of a postmodernist education which placed him clearly astride the formal concerns of modernist sculpture and painting, and the socially and spiritually engaged mentalités of the latter part of this century. Green sought to distill and pack into his work a nagging consciousness of time and the spill and remnants of graphic sensations left behind not only by "art," but by the whole of mankind. This was a formidable impetus: and it has been made more poignant and art-historically emphatic by showing these works posthumously. Too soon, Green and his valiant efforts became part of that vast residue.
Green's art was generally referred to as a "landscape orientation," (but surely only because of a certain horizontality and ballasting in his compositions.) One could alternately see his work as maps on parchment, banners, pictographs on deerhide, Polynesian navigational devices of sticks and shells, patinated Chinese screens or sections of devastated walls.
His colour: pinks, yellows, ivories, siennas, reds, with restrained uses of greys, blacks and blues, had little to do with the colours of the region in which he lived &emdash; and perhaps this was his point. Living and feeling in colour and form transcended the actual and the immediate into a more timeless and global view. Trained initially as a sculptor, he learned how to compress assemblage and colour mediums into inferred sediments of sifted, raked, carpentered and brushed experience and epiphany.
The result is more like tribal heraldry. Sand painting. Hand prints on a desert canyon wall. Sun pictures on faded paper.
David Green certainly knew that "art is long," but that the human spirit is even more perpetual.
© Ted Lindberg