Apr 17, 2014

Building Instability: David Alexander Flinn

David Flinn’s artwork is not stable. His work, a constant...

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David Flinn’s artwork is not stable. His work, a constant flux between delicately geometric drawings, dark and ominous film projects and large scale sculptures placed in unexpected places are not consistent in medium, harmonious in style or uniform in theme. But Flinn’s collection of work maintains a rare balance, not only between mediums, but between the worlds that he so carefully collides in each piece. Whether it’s linking space to earth in drawings, the physical to the sensory in his film and photo, or the natural to the man-made in sculpture, Flinn has created a language between the most unexpected elements.

“Each piece has an intimacy to it specific to the instant or process that led to its creation.” Says the artist, who grew up between New York City and Italy, receiving a BFA at The School Of Visual Arts. His eye for finding the intimacy, though often contradictory, hasn’t changed much since he was making art as a kid, recalling some highlighter portraits of his female family members wearing zoot suits under trees, but it has gotten more refined. His work has been exhibited at art shows like NADA Hudson, Idea City (in collaboration with the New Museum) and part of the dynamic group show SPRING/BREAK at an old schoolhouse in the downtown Manhattan, along with regular showings at the Lower East Side gallery Envoy Enterprises, who currently represent him.

In his most recent show at Envoy titled Nor Here Nor There, Flinn uses the inconsistencies of mediums to highlight the relationships between objects and stories, either delicate or massive, all sharing a metallic covering. His sculptures find a rare balence between the natural strength of earthen materials, such as drift wood or stone, and the manufactured elements of metal or fluorescent lighting. “The interaction of these materials are projections of internal moments in which ones natural instincts and socially trained response mechanisms come to a clash, amalgamation or stand-off.” says Flinn, “These moments occur everyday to me just as they do to you.”

These large sculptures have an obvious presence and are often created based on the space that they will occupy. For his installation in the old school house bathroom at the SPRING/BREAK art fair, Flinn created a scene that seemed transported from a post hurricane destruction zone or xfiles crime scene, the stalls strewed with ravaged trees and ruble. “The tiling and lighting in the bathroom reminded me of a morgue so I simulated corpses of trees that were mummified in melted plastic.” The result is jarring, yet almost natural, as if happening a natural disaster.

Gates by David Flinn

But Flinn’s ability to merge mediums is not only alive in his physical sculptures, his drawings have a beautiful way of connecting elements together in unexpected ways. In many of his works on paper, abstract collage combined with thin geometric illustration marry imagery of constellations with animal iconography. His photographs and videos similarly combine worlds, pairing abstract themes with concrete visuals and images of nature. Although the contradictions continue from sculpture to drawing to photographs , connecting the body of work together naturally, Flinn’s process is different for each medium:

“Drawing for me has always been very therapeutic and do to the nature of my drawings necessitated a certain amount of zoning out. I always start and finish a drawing in the same sitting, regardless of the time needed. With sculpture there is time, process and a lot of moving things around and variables that need to be played with for an unknown amount of time. If comparing to writing, sculptures would be my words, drawings my punctuation and photos my accents.”

Trail by David Flinn

Flinn’s work is an anomaly in itself. By heightening the differences between mediums and materials he has found a way to show the beating connection between all forms, both physical and metaphysical, strong and delicate.


For more information, visit www.davidalexanderflinn.com

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