David Estey can see… what is there, what isn’t there, what may be there. He is a brilliant pictural linguist, creating a complex visual dialogue with this new, intuitive body of work. The pieces in this series were painted with acrylic paint – sometimes scratched with graphite – on Yupo. Yupo is a synthetic paper originally manufactured in Japan that holds super sharp edges
while allowing for manipulation. It is durable, recyclable, waterproof, and very smooth. David was intrigued when he heard about it. He bought a few sheets, and began working with acrylic on it. He started out painting only in black. He painted spontaneously, with total emotional output. He realized he could work the paint with other tools, and wipe it off, as well. He fell in love with the freedom this combination afforded him, and started to add color. The result is the best large body of work we have seen him produce.
David arrived at this project very deliberately, and after 40+ years of consistent brush to surface effort. He is a hard working, nose to the grindstone kind of painter these
days, and competent in many different styles. His representational oil paintings encourage you to pay attention to a detail – like shaking sand through a sieve until you are left with something precious. His life drawings are beautifully fluid and seemingly effortless, evoking palpable emotion. And then there are his collages. But despite his natural ability to be a realist painter, David’s heart is clearly with the abstract expressionists. De Kooning
and Gorky provide obvious inspiration, and his palette is frequently close to Hans Hoffman’s. He layers paint similarly to Franz Kline. However, through these influences David’s own unique voice has emerged, and it is belting out an Aria. We feel he circled the globe and found his medium and proper choice of tools.
In his words, “Working in acrylic on Yupo has enabled me
to develop extraordinarily fresh, abstract expressions without any preconceived
notions. Sometimes narrative references emerge and remain, but they are totally
integrated with and subordinate to the aesthetic whole, securely grounded in
the elements and principles of good design. The results can be felt viscerally
in the heart and soul, with or without a narrative context”.
Some feel unrestrained, but with clear intention of the destination. Others feel like they grew out of several unique, independent moments – perhaps changing direction as David
discovered new possibilities with the medium. Either way, as individual as the pieces all seem to be, the body is a strong, cohesive symphony of form, line, and color.
The gallery has featured David’s work in two solo exhibitions: “Improvisations on Yupo” in 2012 and “Encore,” a back-by-popular-demand show in 2013. He returned to oil recently, and has been painting larger works on yupo, as well.
Here is a link to a wonderful article by Dan Kany.
* David Estey lives in Belfast, Maine. He holds degrees from Rhode Island School of Design and George Washington University. He has lived, worked, exhibited and taught art in Maine, the Mid-Atlantic States and North Carolina. His work can be found in public and private collections in much of the US and Canada, as well as Belarus, Paris, Rome, Tokyo, Vienna and undoubtedly many more places we have yet to discover. He has had several
solo exhibitions in museums, colleges and galleries over the past twenty years. Maine
Home and Design Magazine named him one of Maine’s most collectible artists. He was recently chosen to be a part of the U.S. State Department’s Art Bank collection.