Out of This World

Out of This World: Artist explores fantastic realms in ‘Finding Home’
by Robin Caudell
Press-Republican, Out & About, Mar 23, 2006 

Plattsburgh, NY – Step into cosmic realms with “Finding Home: Recent Works by David Driver” featured at Art at Evergreen in affiliation with Norte Maar for Collaborative Projects in the Arts.

One hundred years from now, David Driver’s space paintings may be dubbed his “Jupiter Phase,” since the fifth planet from the sun dominates many of his latter-20th-century works.

“Jupiter Close Approach,” (1996) with its brilliant blue voids and swirling, white masses is emblematic of Driver’s desire to go where no man has gone before. Through dream time and his imaginings, he’s traveled light years away in works such as “Illuminations” from the “Illumination Triptych Right” (1979). In this prophetic painting, cosmic matter swirls in a timeless void.

“When the Hubble Telescope did its deep field exposure, they saw something like this.

Driver first painted “Buru’s Door” from the “Illumination Triptych Center” (1975). The vibrant painting features a black square. Staring at it for any length of time causes perceptual changes.

“I did this as a mandala. It is also based on a dream. Buru was an alien who said open the door. I was meditating on the square. If you stare at it, you see a mandala form in your mind.”

After his meditations, Driver dreamt. “Jupiter Dream,” from the “Illumination Triptych Left” (1978), was his first dream.

Since they were first released, Hubble Telescope images have fired him creatively.

It makes me crazy. I want to paint it. I used to want to go there, but now I want to paint. I tried to get in the teacher-in-space program. I would go up in a flash.”

Driver’s new works are rooted in this plane. “Low Tide” (1991) is a photograph he snapped near Bar Harbor, Maine. The landscape is the catalyst for a series that includes “Low Tide” (1993), a deft graphite on paper, and “Low Tide” (2003), a relief sculpture. This is the type of work he did when he worked at Universal Studios many suns ago. In his cubby hole in his basement, he is at work on his largest painting ever, a huge photo-realist painting of the same view.

“It’s a technical exercise before I get back to my crazy stuff.”

“Corlear Bay” (1995) is another relief sculpture with a Far East aesthetic that Driver accomplished when he lived at Port Douglas.

“I did that on the spot.”

“Finding Home” includes one of his few oil paintings, “S.E. Point” (1992). His pulsating fantastical acrylic-on-wood miniatures include “Distant Reflections” (1996), “Martian Palisades” (1996) and “Methane Vista” (1996). Driver’s palette cools to the basics in “Burlington Moonrise” (1993) graphite on paper, and “Lunahenge” (1978) acrylic on canvas.

Driver’s creative expression is unfettered.

“Persistence of Humor” (1993) depicts a colony of penguins advancing across a stark, frigid terrain with the Earth, a blue disc in the night sky. The painting references his former band, The Flying Penguins.

“My friends and I collect all kinds of penguins.”

There is something ominous and mysterious about his blue globules with purple fetuses in “E-Womb” (1995). The embryonic masses bubble in a fecund valley. Above, white-edged teal and blue undulations reference female genitalia. The work was inspired by a mass of tadpole eggs Driver observed in a puddle.

One of his way-out-there works, “Forsaken” (1993), is a view from the edge of space. A blonde frozen in a hunk of ice hurtles over a vast cloudscape. In “Naugal I,” (1988) Don Juan waits on his ally. This is Driver’s nod to Carlos Castenada.

“Enigmatic Objects at Jupiter” (1990) is one of his few oil on canvass.

“I had dreams about Jupiter a lot.”

Astrologically speaking, Jupiter’s attributes include optimism, growth and hope.

“I have hope. The world should have hope.”

When he gets his barn winterized, he wants to work large, huge.

“I love oil. When I get in my barn, I will go back to oil, also large fiberglass sculptures. The sculpture I’m working on is a pregnant woman. She has the Earth in her womb.”

His unseen new works include paintings referencing Sept. 11 and the space shuttle Columbia.

When he was in high school, Driver was enrolled in a specialized engineering program. At Nassau Community College, he started out studying science and engineering until a close encounter with Lillian Gish, the first lady of the silent screen.

“Sh talked about the divine nature of creativity,” Driver said. “I talked with her a long time afterwards. After that, I decided to take an art course, and that was that.”

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