We recently had the opportunity to talk with artist, David Bayus on his upcoming solo exhibition, Bad Casserole. David’s work is out of this world! Check out what he has to say about his new collection.
Whitney Lasker: Can you talk to us about your upcoming show “Bad Casserole” and the an concept and/or theme?
David Bayus: This body of work focuses on my own desire to develop a personal non-linear narrative based on the excessive, material nature of our existence while using a visual language that I feel best represents that existence. We view objects and images simultaneously as both literal documentative subjects and as representations of personal or cultural meaning. This osculation between the documentative and the representational is the basis of approach to each piece in the show.
The title for the show “Bad Casserole” comes from the title of an early work I did using the mixed media process that I use now. Bad Casserole seemed like a fitting show title.
DOUBLE HAPPINESS by David Bayus
WL: How do you decide what textures and content you are going to work with?
DB: A large part of the initial process is intuitive, I’ll see an object that catches my attention or I’ll sculpt something that hits the right notes. When I assemble the individual objects together, a narrative emerges, albeit an intentionally non-linear one. From there, the rest of the competition and the final image are centered around that narrative.
WL: Tell us about the materials you use in your art?
DB: Keeping the material qualities of the imagery is important. This aesthetic lends itself to the history of craft; the creation of objects from other objects.
WL: How do you think technology has changed painting?
DB: I think the current advancements in technology are informing painting to a similar degree that photography did when it was invented. The difference being that photography presented us with the documented reality of objects, while the advancements we have today with computer rendering programs for visual media, advances in printing, and the increasing fluidity of digital images themselves; are creating space for new approaches to be considered, I think artists are starting to look at digital media not just as a conceptual basis for making art, but as simply the best tool for the job if needed.
I think digital media has had a more direct influence on photography than its had on painting. The overall result I think is movement towards a merging of disciplines that I think is really exciting. Painting will always have an important role to play. Its singular, performative, and ultimately representational. Photography is reproductive, mechanical, and ultimately documentative. Digital media moves between these qualities freely, but is ultimately synthetic. Painting has qualities that are specific only unto itsef, which is why I like to use all three mediums, not as a conceptual basis, but for thier distinct qualities as images.
That Museum Visit by David Bayus
WL: You mentioned in a past interview that you where saving up for a camera. Can you tell us about this camera and how it has changed your work?
DB: The purchase of my Canon EOS 5d Mark II is probably the most imporant thing to happen to my art practice since I learned how to paint. Before I had my camera, I was using found imagery for digital collages. I was at the whim of whatever I could find that worked for what I wanted to do. Using my own photography has opened up avenues for creating a new visual language, it allows me to control every aspect of the composition, and gives me the ability to add a layer of representation into the objects being photographed that was impossible before. The change in my work after I finally got my hands on that camera has been dramatic.
SPILLAGE by David Bayus
WL: What is your process from start to finish for each of your pieces?
DB: It generally starts by walking around my apartment, then out into stores, walking the aisles of Safeway, looking for any object (usually utilitarian in function) that catches my eye. After that I’ll bring the objects home and begin creating a narrative. I’ll sculpt objects out of colored paper, clay, colored sticks, food, etc. based on expanding that narrative. After I have a complete composition, I’ll separate each object to be documented. I’ll use different lighting techniques to create atmosphere and photograph each object with my camera. After I’ve uploaded the photos onto the computer, I put the images back together, and then print the final composition and mount it to panel. Then, I’ll mount the panel to stretcher bars and seal the print to get it ready for painting. The painting process is significant because it brings the singular back into the final image. There’s a contrast that occurs when a painting and a photograph are placed together that I’ve always been drawn to. The documentative and the representational. I try to bring that contrast to the lowest point possible by painting the same object that is photographed in a realistic manner. Trying to get the different mediums as close together as possible. But there will allways be that contrast. I want it to be there. Its like two people showing up to a party wearing the same outfit.
WL: What other artist do you think your work draws a parallel with?
DB: I was turned on to the work of Czech Animator Jan Svankmajer this past fall. His animated short “Dimensions of Dialogue” is one of the greatest things Ive ever seen, and instantly drew parallels to my own work.
WL: Color seems to play a large role in your work, please explain the current palate in your recent work.
DB: Well, I think if your a visual artist and your not working in black and white, then color should be an important part of your work! I look at color as a way of creating compositional lines, emphasizing certain areas or making others low key. I approach the color choices in my work based on the local color; whats present in the photography. If I need something to jump out I’ll use a complementary color scheme (i.e. turquoise and orange) and if I want something to sit back I’ll use an analogous or tertiary color scheme.
WL: If you had to describe your work in 5 words what would they be (not a sentence)?
DB: Sculptural. Visceral. Synthetic. Funk. Funk. I like Funk. Can I use Funk twice?
THE DECAPATATION OF by David Bayus
WL: How does your artwork make you feel? How do you think your viewers will feel when you see your collection?
DB: I think a piece is sucessful when I look at it and think that it looks like the description of experiences that I cant put into words. The work is intentionally non-linear an non-illustrative so that each viewer will have different feelings when they look at a piece. I don’t know what viewers will feel when they look at my work, but I know that it will be different than what I feel, and I love that.