David Withers- BFA AIR 2016-2017
David Withers of Nelson, Virginia received his BFA in Painting and Printmaking at Virginia Commonwealth University. Originally coming from a background of traditional oil painting, folk art, and theatre, David presses to constantly broaden his interests while allowing these roots to influence his work. He was invited to participate in the Summer Studio Program at VCU in 2015 and currently is the visiting Artist in Residence at VCU Qatar. David has shown work in various shows in Richmond including the VCU’s Fish Bowl Gallery, Anderson Gallery, Valet Gallery, and a U-Haul truck traveling exhibition.
David Withers recontextualizes imagery in order to relay a fresh sense of emotion or sincerity, often by combining poetic language with nostalgic cartoons in his paintings. He finds the language of memes perhaps uses a similar formula with comedic effect. This interest in humor comes from an appreciation for the possibility of an underlying seriousness which can disrupt convention, activate repressed emotions and impulses, and address fears of alienation, displacement, and related anxieties.
“Cartoons are often abstracted representations of humanity; an ambiguous representation of actions and emotions, a place holder of person. One is to constantly make sense of the nonsense. Humor has the ability to make you laugh with discomfort or even settle in an uneasy sadness. Moments or feelings that have seemed to have meaning, we are safe to digest as meaningless. That is what constitutes the comedic process; maneuvering throughout fear with a gentle sarcasm.”
During his residence at VCUQatar, David has been researching the role of how the internet shifts the way we create, view, and think about art. His project The Perfect Fault of Dynamic Forms is an online collaboration with Sam Morgan of VCU Richmond, in which the objects made reflect an attempt at communication and are transformed through direct physical manipulation and technological intercession by way of file sharing, rendering, and 3D printing technologies. The exhibition includes a selection of these sculptures along with other works developed during David’s time at VCUQatar.