"In May 1961, some brash young figurative painters threw down the gauntlet to the modern art establishment. Today, several of those artists are still friends and still painting together, teaching a once-a-week figure painting class that has been going in some form since the late 1950s. And now, after years out in the cold, the Painting Group, as they call themselves, is having a modest comeback." - New York Sun 03/23/07
Where can abstraction (modern art as it is specifically described in the above partial article) and figurative work comfortably coincide? Now, I’m not referring to work such as the manner in which Picasso, Braque or even de Kooning experimented. Their techniques, though impressive, would never satisfy the egos or artistic intentions of the majority of typical figurative realists. Despite the seeming distance between these drastically different styles (hard-line realist and strict abstractionist), I believe this cohesive emergence of conflicting philosophies is possible, I have even experimented with the coexistence of these ideals in my own painting. However, it has been an unending point of tension between contrasting factions of the visual art world ever since the emergence of the Impressionists.
While living in Santa Fe, I began a series of life-size figurative scrolls – but stopped when I realized that their presence was unnecessary due to the overabundance of nudes already in existence, there. Part of my plan in returning to the southern Midwest was to restart work on the series of nudes and to discover validation for their importance in contemporary art as well as the lives of citizens residing in the “bible belt” of America. I’m not looking to expose prudish behavior or even to dissect century old Victorian ideals, I just want to prove to myself that the work I design holds universal importance. Even in this land-locked region that first met my own creation. – DN