David Van Ness + Daniel Birdsong
December 8 - January 5, 2018-19
RO2 ART | 1501 S. ERVAY STREET, DALLAS TX
December 8 - January 5, 2018-19
Ro2 Art | Dallas, TX
Dallas - Ro2 Art is proud to present Manipulated Mythologies, an exhibition featuring new works by artists David Van Ness and Daniel Birdsong. The show will run from December 8 through January 5, 2018. There will be an opening reception held Saturday, December 8, from 7-10pm at Ro2 Art located at 1501 S. Ervay Street, Dallas TX 75215.
David Van Ness and Daniel Birdsong will display work side by side in the upcoming exhibition Manipulated Mythologies. Both artists utilize a mechanized process of producing art, with Van Ness employing techniques and concepts of the future, science fiction, and surrealism, and Birdsong implementing those of history, storytelling and nostalgia. Combined, the two artists’ individual styles create a mesmerizing fantasy, reminiscent of mythology and folklore transported into a futuristic world.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
David Van Ness was born in Dallas, TX in 1979. David would go on to earn his BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art in 2001 and his MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2003. After graduate school David moved to Dallas and began refining his studio practice he had developed during college. David worked a variety of jobs including working for U.S. Art, an art handling company. While working for U.S. Art, David was introduced to 3D printing and digital fabrication at a conference on art handling in Dallas by SculptCAD. Around that time David was asked for 500 of his “Stacking Cow” sculptures, and after some research David worked with SculptCAD to create 500 of a refined “Stacking Cow”. Since that project David has used digital fabrication in most of his projects including additional production runs of the “Stacking Cow” and a follow up “Stacking Bull”. David began teaching in 2005 as an adjunct at many different DFW area colleges. Eventually David was teaching some seven courses a semester four to five semesters a year. Because of this experience David was offered the Coordinator of Foundations position at Northern Arizona University. In this position he oversaw thirty to forty classes, ten to fifteen faculty, and a budget of around 70k. Based on the success of the foundations program redesign and update, David was asked to help modernize the sculpture program. David spent one semester helping the redesign the sculpture program before becoming appointed the Coordinator of New Media. In the new position David was tasked with developing a new emphasis which would include seven courses with additional changes to the curriculum path which includes additional opportunities to explore other disciplines.
Before moving to Flagstaff, David had begun experimenting with glitch art in 3D digital fabrication. Originally the work was created by simply corrupting 3D model files in a text editor and then forcing a 3D modeling software to interpret this corrupted 3D file. Over time David gained a great deal of control over the technique. Because 3D model files are not much more than an 2D array of numbers, David began importing non-visual data into the 3D models. David began to explore how the data was used and the manipulation could be used for more conceptual aspects.
David lives and works just outside Flagstaff, AZ with his wife and 3 cats.
I was raised in West Texas in Sweetwater, where not being a snakeskin cowboy limited my opportunities for distinction, so I drew, ran feral, and attempted to make art. After graduating high school in 1987 I joined the Marine Corps. That four years was successful in not only taming me but ingraining in me the merits of being detail-oriented in observation and practice. My time in service I consider to be charm school as it had prepared me to pursue my education and eventually come to view art as a means of individual thought and voice.
After my discharge from service in 1992 I began my undergraduate studies at Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas as an art major with a focus on graphic design. However, within my second year I realized I had no interest in pursuing art as a designer and turned my attention towards painting, drawing and printmaking. I discovered this change in approach better suited me by allowing me to couple the lessons learned from the Marines with my own personal approach towards the discipline of making of art. I did not care at all for using art to serve another’s purpose.
Having completed my Bachelor of Art in painting and drawing 1996, I played upon the advice of my mentors and headed to the University of North Texas, where my graduate studies focused on intaglio printmaking. I was soon enthralled with executing state prints. This is a body of work executed from a single plate which is altered between each printing. The result being a series that reads as a singularity of visual and cognitive evolution by means of individual states/prints. This process served as the idea on which I built my thesis centered around the state print serving as a sketchbook for free association drawing and cognitive process. I graduated with my MFA in Printmaking in 2000.
Since graduating, I continue to make prints and have enjoyed a decade long association with Ro2 Gallery in Dallas. I taught at Weatherford College from 2007-18, as adjunct faculty, teaching painting, drawing, art appreciation and art survey. I am presently employed as a Professor of Art with Collin College, Springcreek Campus in Plano where I lecture art appreciation.
My present work is narrative based utilizing the techniques of drypoint, etching, aquatint and engraving as extensions of drawing. It is presented as the personal notes and introspections often associated with one who is middle aged courting the tier of seniority. It is also, in a sense, my lessons and advice to the feral, younger me who dwells within and demands more than I can ever deliver. It is “our” moment to reflect and negotiate the terms of acceptance and forgiveness.
David Van Ness
“We all know that our modern, fast-track, hi-flying, giga-byted, money-making, stock-inflating, broadway-boogie-woogie world is also a fast-food guzzling, consumer-driven, resource-eating, air-polluting, earth-poisoning, prozac-popping monster that has run out of control.” -Robert Brown on the work of John Isaacs
Soon artists will be able to manipulate the world as they do clay. Mankind will dictate the look and function of everything and replace nature as the driving force of evolution. Machines will become organic and organic will become mechanical. What becomes of a world created by its creations?
Until then we jam earbuds into our ears and turn on movies and games to disconnect and enter our own worlds. These worlds, though connected to the real world, are illusions that reflect our desires. The more time that we spend in these worlds the less the real world makes sense and it becomes an illusion itself. As we return to the real world, we use technology to record, explore, and emulate it so that we can then take it with us back into the virtual world and manipulate it to our desires.
I do not claim to know what we should do nor do I wish to pass on my opinion. Instead I wish to point at the problem and explore the beauty that could potentially be made as well as the grotesque that is also possible. Sometimes these two ideas, beauty and disgust, are one and the same. I use animals as an archetype of this future. These animals become representations of human psychology, stripped of context and rationality. They are created to deal with the subjects of fear, apathy, violence, and powerlessness.
I am a printmaker working primarily in various intaglio techniques. Printmaking for me best expresses the manner in which I observe, analyze, and process information from the world around me. Being a draftsman at heart, I love the life, energy and potential of the mark. From the poetic nature of its primacy, as well as the orchestration into imagery. The various processes that make up the technique of intaglio allow me a wide range of expression that retains the qualities inherent in drawing and draftsmanship, such as subtlety, directness and immediacy. The imagery I utilize is based upon observations of my environment filtered through an overactive imagination that is insistent upon a child’s viewpoint, and structured as narratives with meanings that are both allegorical and symbolic.
This recent body of work reflects upon those personal experiences and observations associated with one who is middle-aged courting the tier of seniority. This is my apology and advice to the younger me, who demanded probably more than I could have ever delivered. It is “our” moment to reflect on the evolution of growth and self-expectations, so that we may be able to negotiate the terms of acceptance and forgiveness. These are the lessons I have learned. Pay attention, junior.