David Kearns
Bio/CV |

How to Look for Pictures: April 7 - 29, 2023
Grey Magic: Dec, 2022
Light & Graphite:
Dec, 2021
Cat Clifford & David E. Kearns
April 17 - May 15, 2021
TREE: June, 2019 at the Vashon Center for the Arts

David Kearns’ paintings are a journey, but no mere walk in the woods. A narrative retelling – or rather, recapitulation – of an experience of walking in a familiar landscape, perhaps even multiple journeys overlaid. The complexity of his work is the complexity of memory, of the mind. It is the Fall of Rome as seen through Zapp Comix in a grove of trees, or maybe Robert Frost hastily written on some blotter paper found in a drawer and eaten instead of breakfast. They are an invitation to take a trip down an overgrown memory lane to the edge of, but not the other side of, lost. They are more than that, of course… Bon voyage.

In addition to solo and two person shows in Seattle, Santa Fe and NYC, Kearns has shown work widely in Vermont, and has been featured in regional triennial surveys at the Queens Museum and the Brattleboro Museum. Kearns’ most recent, and third, solo show in NYC was at the artist-run space Songs For Presidents in 2018.

Kearns has self-published a number of sketchbook zines, and his drawings have been featured in the arts journal Paper Monument, and in publications by n+1 and Verso books. His writing appeared the first issue of Paper Monument (2007), as well as its book on art school, Draw It With Your Eyes Closed (2012). His ongoing collaborative home recording project Three Mystic Dwarves was included in a 2009 group show of visual artists exploring sound at Frederich Petzl gallery.

David Kearns currently lives and works in Western MA.

The rotten trunk of a tree, still standing, its hollows filled with a stash for winter, also hosting unseen miles of mycelium: the necessary invisible background structure, from which, under the right conditions, coveted edible mushrooms appear, fleetingly. There is a porthole window through the tree, also, framing the sloping woods beyond. The dog, also a creature of habit, likes to take the same path whenever possible. The walk is usually at the same time of morning, so the light shifts slightly day to day. Occasionally, curious offerings can be found at the bases of certain trees. I look carefully, and notes are taken by a various means. The paintings unfold in the studio with minimal planning through a dredging of the memory of those notes, guided daily sketchbook drawing, occasionally from observation, but primarily through memory. The work is concerned with decay, accumulation, and the daily ritual of bearing witness to the transformation of the world over time. Memory acts as a filter and a channeling device to visually describe experience.