Written by Michael Ashman
Is death really “The End”, or is there an afterlife after all? David Gough contemplates this idea and so will you after looking at his art book titled "D3ad/Ends." The afterlife is a fixation of many religious beliefs, but the question of whether it exists or not has not been answered. It is one of the jobs that the church does to help alleviate any fears of death. By teaching its religious beliefs to others, the church hopes to save its people from hell and guide them to heaven. Importantly, the Christian belief in the afterlife is one focal point for Gough’s artworks. His infatuation with the growing radicalized “religious” community in the United States inspired him to start "The Theothanatos Series." Literally meaning “the death of God”, this series is devoted to icons of death and religion.
The number three is very important to the Christian religion. David Gough also obsesses about this number and uses the number three continuously in his series. He even uses the figure three to replace the letter “E” in the title of his art book. Many of the sections in the book also have the figure three in them. For example, “Thr33 Kings” is a section with two paintings with three skulls morphed together in each. “Is there Life After Death?,” which he created in 2010, shows three skulls shedding from each other through the top of the head. His work from the same year titled “Triumvirate” is a painting of three skulls fused together sharing the eye sockets of the middle skull.
Skulls and skeletons represent the death of the mortal form. Gough uses these as darker representations of the church. In his 2008 piece titled “Theothanatos III-Axiom,” the painted black cross on the skull represents the mask that the church puts on death. In a way, he is explaining how religion portrays itself as comforting people about the afterlife. If they follow the rules of the church, safety is in heaven, if not, eternal hell and damnation follow upon dying. Other skulls in the series deal with controversial relationships between religion and children, women, and science. In “Theothanatos V-Crevolutions” the artist reflects the dispute between creationism and evolution. By painting a calm monkey in one eye of the skull and an angry one in the other, he draws parallels from human and simian behaviors to rationalize the argument.
This art book gives a lot of detail on Gough’s life and art. Each section in the book has a short story by the author. The stories relate to his life, school, art, and relationship with religion. Christianity definitely inspired some of the titles in the book such as, “The B3ginning,” “New Testament” and “Fall3n Eden”. They add to the artist’s background and another layer behind some of his artwork. A foreword by his friend, David Buckley, gives us more information about Gough’s life in Liverpool, U.K. While Gough’s introduction, on the other hand, gives us more details into the back story that started his “Theothanatos” series. The well made art book published by Darq Matter Publishing, features very big, even full page, images ensuring every dark, disturbing, and grim detail can be seen.
If there really is something after death, has David Gough figured it out? Nothing is for certain, except for the inevitable “Dead End” we must all face eventually. David Gough’s "D3ad/Ends" can be bought at Thumbprint Gallery and at Thumbprint Gallery’s online store. The public is welcome to visit Thumbprint Gallery at 920 Kline Street in La Jolla. The gallery is open Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 12pm to 4pm.
Written by Michael Ashman
Graffiti art is all about getting noticed in the streets. The visual style must be interesting and a little complex. Also, the artist must be clever enough to get his artwork seen by getting up in as many spots as possible. There is an effort to both create art and distribute it. Whether it is creating art for the public or for a small group of friends, the time spent creating it is the most important part. EXIST1981’s artwork can be seen in a number of random places for anyone that happens to find them, but may not give it a second look as art. At Thumbprint Gallery, he has focused his efforts into his works knowing they will be appreciated in his solo show titled “Corazon.”
His effort can be seen in the meticulous detailed lines seen in the untitled work labeled #29. Carefully crafted lines spread out around the painting in a multitude of designs and patterns. There are discernable shapes within the flowing lines. There are two stars that come forward in the picture. The one on the bottom seems to give off a bubbling energy that radiates circular outlines from it. They seem to gravitate out and up to the bigger star in the top-right corner. Just like with the smaller star, it also extends itself outward using a diamond-shaped pattern this time. The diamond is also repeated inside a cluster of circles. These shapes seem to sit on top of a dynamic bed of fluid-like threads. The waves of flowing lines give this image the illusion of movement. They also add to the expanding shapes around them. The amazing amount of lines shows how much effort went into creating this piece.
This work of art combines many colors that display a pure psychedelic painting. The use of many colors set the abstract mood of this painting. Patches of washed-out blues, greens, yellows, and pinks blend together to add to the dream-like vision. Every shape in the artwork has a different portion of the kaleidoscopic color pattern. His use of a combination of light and dark colors adds depth to the picture. The star at top shines brighter with lighter shades of blue and yellow. It floats in front of the darker green threads that surround it. This is also true of the bubbling pinkish circles at right. EXIST1981 gives his all to create an emotional work by using a diverse color palette.
EXIST1981 injects himself into the picture. The most notable is the blood spatter across the painting. All the time spent making this took his sweat and, figuratively, his blood. One of his well-known icons, a female-looking face, is formed by the blood. Another example is his name “EXIST1981” cleverly hidden in different spots. In the blood, the number “81” appears. Also, stretched lines camouflage the words EXIST and 1981 within the work.
This art piece is all about him and his experience and emotion as an artist combined. The amount of detail is incredible and is currently on display at Thumbprint Gallery. To see this piece and more of EXIST1981’s artwork visit Thumbprint Gallery on Kline Street in La Jolla. The gallery is open Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 12pm to 4pm. The show will be on exhibit until January 6.
Written by Carly Deblock
The first wooden panel paintings were created in 6th century BC. Over the years, new ideas and concepts have been developed and panel painting has found its place in contemporary art. The wood panel paintings in the past were often created with tempera or encaustic, however EXIST1981 has found an innovative way to create his own form of wooden panel in his solo show titled “Corazon” on display now at Thumbprint Gallery. He creates an assemblage with fragmented pieces of wood that have been covered in layers of striking spray paint. Using these small segments of wood from previous pieces he has painted in spray paint, the wooden panel is transmogrified into a vibrant and contemporary art piece.
Many people would have looked at these wooden pieces as scraps to be tossed aside, but EXIST1981 uses them to create a balanced composition. Although the pieces are small, the size emphasizes the meticulous placing of the contrasting divisions and they create a strong visual impact. They have been repurposed to form four separate artworks that together complete a cohesive series of multimedia art. Powerful contrasting colors catch the viewer’s eye and move them throughout the wooden panel. The layer of wood beneath the fragments is no longer seen and a new panel is constructed. Each of the four pieces is entirely unique and has been created with different shapes, line work, colors, mediums and textures.
This variation between the numerous fragments creates a work that resonates with the viewer. The areas of raw wood, metallic and glossy resin create an important contrast within the piece. Each separate section of the panel is as important as the one next to it. The variety has created assemblage that can be compared to the the solution of solving a jigsaw-puzzle. With such powerful colors and forms, creating a composition is no easy task but EXIST1981 achieves his goal. A perfect square is finally formed, after many attempts to find the correct balance between the pieces. The result is art that is fresh, innovative and balanced. The viewer will find that the fragments make sense together and create a feeling of serenity.
The texture and gloss that unify these pieces is astounding and these pieces are currently on display at Thumbprint Gallery. To see these panels and more of EXIST1981’s artwork visit Thumbprint Gallery on Kline Street in La Jolla. The gallery is open Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 12pm to 4pm. The show will be on exhibit until January 6.