David Zimmerman’s art is shaped by a life spent residing and creating in rural Alberta.
An avid mountain biker and camper, the contours and wide expanses of Canada’s western landscape have been his space to explore and discover. This sense of discovery through adventure is always with him, whether he is holding a brush, book, or a conversation. He delights in revelation: in the breaking of unexpected new ways of seeing and interacting with the world and the ideas in it, as he lives in Bragg Creek, Alberta, with his wife, Tara, and their four kids.
His art is a collision of inspiration and participation. It begins with a glimpse, a chance detail, a striking image pulled from every day life. He fixates on detail and texture, and often finds that ordinary moments produce surprising inspirations. Zimmerman’s aim is not a mere reproduction, but a process that reflects and interacts with the beauty that initially sparked his interest, changing it in surprising ways, allowing for unplanned contours and expressions, altering the way we all see the world he paints.
Juxtaposition is important to his work. Context and fragment, rock and bark, brick and moss, city and countryside: the surprising way that the world harmonizes disparate textures comes through in his work. There is a push and pull between worlds, between heaven and earth, and there is so much in-between. This resonates with the conflict and balance of emotion within his pieces. His paintings evoke thoughts and feelings that are in tension, often creating a discomfort in the viewer. At the same time, they have an aesthetic harmony, a unified beauty that draws all the elements together. Light and dark pallets break into each other, crash over each other, and remain distinct as they come together.
Zimmerman’s creative process makes meaning. Initially, his process was a quest to break from his roots in pen-and-ink, a medium with too much precision and control, and to allow the art to emerge organically from the techniques and materials themselves. He wanted to interact with the medium, not control it, and he has found a way to explore and discover as he creates, to be surprised by the work, even as he constructs it.
Zimmerman uses thick, heavy, glossy materials that form their own ridges and textures, reflecting surprising hues and shapes he had not intended. He often set his brushes aside and use his hands and fingers to feel and effect change in the paintings. This interactivity is shared with the viewer. The deep textures of his art invite the viewer to touch. His works are fluid as they are viewed from different angles and under different lighting, with the glossy reflections incorporating the distinctive of viewer and surroundings into each viewing of my work. They blur the boundary between painting and participant, inviting the context into the experience at every level.
Zimmerman utilizes a variety of materials and mediums applied on hardboard in a wood frame, similar to the kind used for canvas. He often starts with gel mediums and a mixture of commercial grade products. This accomplishes durability and quality texturing. He prefers oil paints to acrylics because he enjoys the ways they mix and blend, and the richness of colour they provide. The final gloss medium provides a liquid finish and enhances the layers. Hardboard, canvas, gel mediums, foils, silver leaf, occasional fabrics, and oil paints (preferred), acrylic, sign ink, gloss medium are his ingredients of choice.
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