Tokyo Diptych 2019





Artist in Residence at 3331 Arts Chiyoda

Iwamotochō, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 
April-May 2019

“I lived in Tokyo for a period of fifteen months ending the summer of 2018. I painted outdoors and contemplated the city, which had a great impact on my painting. For this residence I will look to readdress the work I made during that time, now about one year ago, by making a single imposing painting. Using this framework of revisiting I hope to better understand the responses I have to Tokyo and why they may be useful for my painting.” (edit from proposal)


アーティスト・イン・レジデンス:AIR 3331

東京都千代田区岩本町
四月ー五月 2019

”2018年の夏まで東京に15ヶ月の間滞在した。屋外で絵を描き、街について考えた経験は、自分のペインティングに大きな影響を与えた。今回のレジデンスでは、約1年前の滞在当時に創作していた、印象的な約240cmの大きさの絵を、あらためて描くつもりである。今回の再訪の機会を活用することで、私が東京に抱いた反応と、それらが私の絵に役立つであろう理由をより理解したいと考えている。”


(see Postcards and Nakameguro to view previous projects refered to in the above statement)

1

2

The current title is a quote:

“Self-reorganizing ‘Aliveness’ … without any of those models and images (which never work anyway) of the world as it is or should be.”

Aliveness -aka the gestalt- is a summation of the city. Every utopia has a model or an image, and by definition none of them are ever achieved. This utopia is simpler.

One year prior to the residency while living in Tokyo I thrived on a solipsistic practice and more simplistic criteria for my painting to suit what was for me an overwhelmingly visual experience. An experience of cultural silence: beauty through ignorance and a free flowing analysis. I tried to lean into those impressions.



3

Streetside photography came about spontaneously as I was thinking I should find more light and space. I’m not sure what photography meant for this project, what a potential public installation could do for it, or what the nature of site-specificity for this painting may be as a result, but these things are now open to me in more ways than before.



4

In the detail below the soft and smooth acrylic ground meets with the surrounding parts of the painting which retain a rougher canvas texture. Visual crowding in the final painting tends to follow those blocked-out areas that have extra smooth acrylic material layered on. In that way some islands of detail were laid out before any paint was used or colors added. 



5




(1)
“...self reorganizing ‘Aliveness’ … without any of those models and images (which never work anyway) of the world as it is or should be.”
^
  oil on canvas
(84 x 54) x 2
2019

(2-3)
[street view 1, 2] “...self reorganizing ‘Aliveness’ … “
perpendicular to Kanda river
2019


(4)
[detail 1, 2] “...self reorganizing ‘Aliveness’ … “
oil on canvas
84 x 54
2019


(5)
[center right detail] “...self reorganizing ‘Aliveness’ … “
oil on canvas
84 x 54
2019



exhibtions: ︎

NYC Year One 2018 - 2019





Doorway Interstice (1)

The last painting during the first year in NYC was the largest. There are two titles: one is an ASCII picture and the other is Doorway Interstice.


A note from when the painting was finished:

[
When you hit a wall it doesn’t eliminate space you just stop moving.
]

Continuing from that note, there are ways in which space is linked to motion just as often as to light. I had a faint interest in what color could create of this motion. To represent a slight motion in a shallow space, or become the index of it. As for the picture title, it takes the space and places it in a repeating structure.








1
︎ Doorway Interstice

︎ Paper Landscape



2

The larger paintings above are from early 2019,
and the next three are from late 2018 ~
ending with individual descriptions of those three




3


4



5


(3) ^ pictured above

“Life in Hennepin County where Lucifer Deals Death to the Unbelievers”

An autobiographical idea. A portrait of frustrated thoughts about my past in Minnesota. It’s also a joke when taken with the title. A serious joke.


(4) ^ pictured above

“That Thing that is Personal and Dramatic to You in the Guise of a Home Depot”

A sarcastic admission that neither the idea nor the inspiration are very clear. I love warehouses (and Home Depot) but what do I study–the precise location, or the internal sense that has drawn me to it? Explore the love or explore the source for it? Of course it’s both, but also eventually neither.


(5) ^ pictured above

“1/8000 Scale Model of a Wharf with Pier and the Green Katamari”

Marks, I think, should involve the physical mass of the canvas. So much of my work uses place, space, observer-in-location, and things like that. The title gives an explanation about what the image can’t be using terms of scale. Scale is a limited tool where size is concerned. It’s a painting about this problem.



︎ Fluorescent and Incandescent Wedges


6




(1)
Doorway Interstice (and details)
oil on canvas
72 x 74
2019

(2)
Paper Landscape (and detail)
oil on canvas
38 x 48
2019

(3)
Life in Hennepin County Where Lucifer Deals Death to the Unbelievers
oil on canvas
30 x 22
2018

(4)
That Thing That is Personal and Dramatic to You in The Guise of a Home Depot (and underpainting)
oil on canvas
24 x 32
2018

(5)
1/8000 Scale Model of a Wharf with Pier and the Green Katamari
oil on canvas
30 x 26
2018

(6)
Fluorescent and Incandescent Wedges
oil on canvas
16 x 21
2019



exhibtions: ︎
中目黒 / Nakameguro Studio 2017-2018





1

I lived in Tokyo for a year and a half during 2017 and 2018. I was able to exhibit my work in March of 2018 and shortly after made the big decision to move to New York.

All paintings made on canvas were made in the studio in Nakameguro during the last six months of my stay. They were shown alongside observational paintings from the first year (see Postcards).



The following is adapted from notes about the paintings written just before the exhibition:

[
There are near-solitary periods when walking in urban neighborhoods. There’s a lot of looking about and movement: the direction of the eye and moving of your feet at a regular pace —those small scales of time. A quiet drama. Rhythmic and cut with shadows. Here there are bunches of walls.

Imagine a replica of the place. With a trick of the mind it’s psychologically distant. That beautiful attachment, of signs, of knowing, is somewhere gone. The function of the place is still the same and people treat each other no differently. It’s indistinguishable, without personal value or sense.
[



2

3


3/3 Painting Exhibition


White Room, 3F Fujiya buidling
1-3-9 Kamimeguro, Meguro-ku, Tokyo
March 3 - 9, 2018

︎ installation

4


︎ The Way to Ibuyara


5




(1)
Tokyo Yellow (L)
oil on canvas
13.5 x 18
2017
Large Postcard (R)
oil on canvas
29 x 35.5
2017

(2)
Flat Not Grey (underpainting from 2018)
oil on canvas
14 x 18
2019

(3)
Tokyo Yellow
oil on canvas
13.5 x 18
2017

(4)
installation images
3/3 Painting Exhibtion
2018

(5)
The Way to Ibuyara
oil on canvas
77 x 51.5
2018



exhibtions:

3/3 Painting Exhibition, Just Another Space, Tokyo Japan 2018
Tokyo/Seoul Postcards







1, 2

copied from notes at the time:

[
I’m always thinking of those quiet city streets —when they’re quiet. Traversing the calm, the quiet gives a drama. The in-between staging of a layered functional space. That is the most powerful visual expereince I’ve had since living in Tokyo.
]


When visiting neighborhoods in Tokyo, I often wandered around and found that some places had the look or atmosphere of being vacated, like a small moment inbetween everything else had passively accumulated.



3, 4, 5



6


I had some criteria for choosing my spot to paint. After the graphic or spacial geometry, I avoided spots that would have too many patterns on flat surfaces, small or recognizeable architectural details, or features close in the foreground from my seated position.
As a result, many of the locations painted have diorama-like conditions where a building or group of buildings are surrounded by open space from my perspective. Large, open, flat areas joined against dense architecture, including modern and contemporary buildings, was ideal for me. Tokyo was a gold mine.





7




8, 9

I made two from this series while I spent a month in Seoul ︎


The process of the postcards is visible: the selection of spacial charateristics, molding shapes and censoring objects as it’s layed out, the rough-hewn look of the small papers, and the even, shallow, light of the images.

The minute to minute labor is more strenuous than my work in studio and the physical discoveries of so many real locations is engaging for my practice. That process has been a fixture of my painting.



10, 11



12





(1, 2)
江東 Koto (2 of 9)
oil on paper
approx. 16 x 13 cm
2017

(3-5)
新宿3 Shinjuku III (4 of 9)
oil on paper
approx. 16 x 13 cm
2017
(6)
新宿4 Shinjuku IV (7 of 9)
oil on paper
approx. 16 x 13 cm
2017

(7)
新宿1 Shinjuku I (1 of 9)
oil on paper
approx. 16 x 13 cm
2017
         
(8, 9)
Seoul: Mapo (6 of 9)
oil on paper
approx. 16 x 13 cm
2017

(10, 11)
目黒 Meguro (9 of 9)
oil on paper
approx. 16 x 13 cm
2017

(12)
gallery images:

新宿2 Shinjuku II (3 of 9)
oil on paper
approx. 16 x 13 cm
2017
Seoul: Seodaemun (5 of 9)
oil on paper
approx. 16 x 13 cm
2017
中野 Nakano (8 of 9)
oil on paper
approx. 16 x 13 cm
2017



exhibtions:

Room For One Book, Sage Hill Farm, Leesburg VA 2019

3/3 Painting Exhibition, Just Another Space, Tokyo Japan 2018
MN Still Life






1

I lived in Minnesota from when I was seven until I left for college in Rhode Island at eighteen. Following undergraduate, there was a brief period that I came back to Minneapolis and made this work.

I was interested in doing observational work but my work space was very small and the weather made it difficult to paint ouside, so I built a still-life diorama to paint from.




2, 3

In the three years prior I had grown attached to monochrome grey-color landcapes (see Grey Spaces). In 2016 I was still in love with those paintings but the overly cooperative grey, white and brown diorama provoked interest in color.




4, 5



7

The goal was to search for a yet-to-be described abstract subject for the series through a still life arrangement and observational painting. Both at the time I made it and the time of this writing I think this work failed to develop any useful concepts.

Though this project has it’s value, these paintings mainly prompt me to reflect on what my life looked like in Minneapolis in 2016. I was isolated, without a plan, and not very happy.


I remember reading Pablo Helguera’s Education for Socially Engaged Art in studio and dreaming about getting involved in Minneapolis. By February 2017 I was leaving for Japan and had failed to make any lasting connections or arrange any activities during what would be my last year in Minnesota.



7, 8




(1)
Untitled  1 - 7
approx. 5 x 6
oil on paper
2016

(2, 3)
untitled drawings
approx. 16 x 19
oil on paper
2016

(4, 5)
Untitled 2 & 4
approx. 5 x 6
oil on paper
2016

(6)
“diorama”
found boxes, paper, board
2016

(7, 8)
Untitled  3 & 7
approx. 5 x 6
oil on paper
2016



exhibtions:

(works diplayed for a time at a coffee shop in Minneapolis, 2017)
David Tompkins (b. 1992 Durham NC, RISD ‘14) is an artist currently based in New York City.

David studies color using painting media, paper, printing, and digital tools as a way to explore abstract forms related to observation and architectural space, frequently excluding or avoiding figuration relating to the body.
David is interested in work that affects a deconstruction of the subtle ideologies and cultural feelings that obscure our cooperative human intellect and falsify meanings that arise from our society’s structure.








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