I've heard it said by many practising artists that the hardest part of painting is facing the white canvas. One solution is to quickly cover the bare surface with something, anything; be it a quick sketch, a wash of colour, arbitrary brush marks, suggestions of shapes, or collage. Adam DeVille employs the latter and it is his fine use of texture that adds to the intrigue of his imagery. His delicately 'crumpled' surfaces suggest the artist is, from the very start of each effort, creating different 'ground' rules for interpreting his work.
DeVille's textural effects invite the viewer to examine the surface of his paintings with the same degree of interest as employed when deciphering its subject. His process of making is as unique as the narratives we read into his images. This is achieved by the occasional addition of extraneous 'stuff' such as dried flowers, small animal skulls, bird's wings, or pages torn from books and neatly sewn onto an already intriguing surface. Each one of DeVille's works demands the viewer engage in an up close and personal investigation. When we do so we are rewarded with an example of image construction that provides a satisfying visual experience when we step back to digest the whole.
I do appreciate how the artist can build up his paintings with seemingly unrelated marks and shapes that create unusual yet identifiable images. For example, close examination of three large black and white compositions appear to be simple but interesting abstract patterns. Then, when viewed from across the room, the 'arbitrary' texture and shapes fall into place to reveal faces of well known celebrities past and present. It takes a keen eye to compose such definitive portraits with only positive and negative shapes.
The sub-title of this exhibition is A journey into the darker sides of love which guides our interpretation of DeVille's works. I do appreciate Without You, I'm Nothing, a small but potent composition involving shredded feathers, threads, crinkled paper and an old fashion key attached to a rough textured, rich blue field. And Weakness that provides us with a bleeding heart. Romance can and does create pain and Memories of Romance suggests just this situation. Here a beautifully treated, dusty blue ground hosts a row of dried roses suspended from a horizontal strip composed of a collage of pages torn from the works of Edgar Allen Poe. I found the scraps of paper quite fitting, as the image suggests a brief narrative and Poe is credited with inventing the 'short story' as a viable form of literature, some of which included lost love, and suffering.
This is a well presented exhibition of excellent works of art that reveal the artist's command of a signature style. I look forward to seeing more of DeVille's unique offerings in the future.
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