Friday, April 2, 2010

David Burge

Wendy - oil and charcoal - 60 x 60 cm

I've got a number of "mates" down in Oz by this time, but the one I first really hit it off with is David Burge, aka Dake. I made instant friends with Dake about five years ago on a popular art forum when he told me he "hated" one of my paintings. It happened to be my best painting up to that point, but I digress... :) I thought "now there's a guy I can trust," and we've been trusting each other since.

Dake fronted some bands, and I believe that experience influences his art. He is also a wizard with words, and writes some of the most exhilirating art opinions out there, soaring from the subversive to the sublime. (he was banned from that art forum, btw, a special distinction I've always envied) I started referring to him as The Thunder From Down Under. So he wields a mean guitar, a pointed pen, and a velvet brush. Painting mostly in watermedia, Dake's work covers primarily figurative and landscape pieces, with series of dancers (Swan Lake at left), blues artists, window reflections, portrait commissions, and still lifes, in addition to some oil, silverpoint, and photography. Recent work shown on his blog reflects an interest in Aboriginal art.

It's hard to know what to post when writing about a favorite artist - there's too much to choose from, and you run the risk of disappointing somebody, very likely the artist! Anyway, I'm posting some of my favorite pieces of Dake's that I admire for their sheer pictorial brilliance and diversity. Such as the portrait up top, Wendy. Not like his watercolors, but one of my favorites -- I love the palette, the stark haunting mood and Picassoesque drawing.

More people probably know David Burge for the beautiful nudes he has painted in watercolor, achieving a wet-in-wet approach that shows the medium and the artist at their most sensual. They can be seen on his website, but figures also show up in a series depicting juxtaposed reflections, logos, and mannequins in downtown windowscapes. One of them, Brides By Design won a City of Melville Art Award, and is also in the Shanghai Zhujiajiao International Watercolor Biennale. Another of the series, King Street Reflections won top watercolor award at City of Melville the year before. All of the pieces in that series are fantastic, I could never pick a favorite...but one of them would have to be Skiva, Forrest Chase, Perth, watercolor 56x76 cm. (left).

Just messing around in oil he does stuff like these incredible pears.

Some of his best portraits are of musicians and writers -- I won't forget the first time I saw his portrait of Norman Mailer, and the bluesmen can be urban and gritty, or smooth and sultry. Aubrey Beardsley (56 x 76 cm, left) captures the outrageous personality in a way the illustrator might have approved. There are a number of creative and delicate portraits of Dake's children and commissions of others on his website. From time to time the artist shows early work, or examples from an erotic series, all fascinating excursions into his high-voltage mind. My first stop in Oz will be Perth, Western Australia, a million miles away from anything, really, but the domain of the Thunder, and by definition base camp for cool. So cool, one might even say, in the words of the man himself.....chilling!

David Burge website and blog.


NoNo said...

Tomo nota...

W. K. Moore said...

Where do you begin? Nicholas the curator of this selection has done the job .. and then some. Some work I have not seen before. Starting with white face lady what strikes me about the work is the range of style and technique. From fruit to fine fillies (two legged variety) David delivers the retinal wares with sudden and full impact. I'll hang here awhile and enjoy the view.

Anonymous said...

That's right. That's right. Always seek to befriend someone who dares to opine differently from your opinion. I was not familiar with Dake's work until you showed me his site, and then I had to write him a fan letter. Good blogspot, Nick. I love window shoppers, and then feel stupid for saying that because each piece you showcased shows the great range of this guy.

s/fookie, who cannot remember password

David Burge said...

Telling someone you "hate" their painting would have rarely resulted in a friendship that I know will endure for life. Most would have been nursing their ego too much to respond in the way that you did.
I have yet to come across another piece of yours that I've "hated" more. In fact I seem to approve of everything of yours that I've seen since.
Pleasing to know that my input has improved your work to it's present stellar standing...
Your most recent monster painting of your gorgeous wife is your finest by a county mile!

Having just read your appraisal of my past ability to comment on artworks I feel I've let the side down recently. Gotten soft over the last coupe of years.
The honest naivety has gone, blunted by the subtle(and not so subtle) conditioning of internet ethics and etiquette.
I'm thinking the reputation needs refueling, can you suggest any possible beneficiaries for future critiques? (note to self; must sharpen the pencil)
My interest is piqued by those painters who introduce themselves as "artists"....alrighty then! Where do we start? Shed your skin voluntarily or I'll rip it off and have you standing there naked. The only place to start if you really want to be "an Artist" is being true to yourself.
Of course there's no such thing as "art" in God's name either, another pet hate!
I guess the invention of the blog was supposed to provide forums for those with a rave, but there's nothing more boring. On that note I'm out!
You're a massive inspiration Nick.

Nick said...

NoNo - gracias amiga

Bill - you've never been one to shield your eyes from flying sparks, knew you transmitted on a similar frequency...Dake keeps things in check from the Perth end of our operation, world domination of the collective human aesthetic consciousness is the goal.

Fookie - he was the first I knew to be "banned for life" from the Old Folks watercolor forum, an act that did only a bit for his rep, but put them on the map! :)

Dake - it's maybe the best way you can possibly start a friendship, gets the BS out of the way. If you've gone soft on them, it's no doubt the stifling PC atmosphere that has taken over much of the internet, forums, social networking sites, etc. Even when operating under the radar, however, you've always kept me in line as well as a friend can, and the oddball tangents we've traveled off on have been immensely satisfying and entertaining. I have appreciated all of the good words, everytime they're expressed, but I do hope to come up with another "hater" before you go soft on me! Looking forward, as always, to that first handshake with an old friend.

Rob said...

I agree with you, I think my work sometimes sucks, and I am my best friend...
But seriously, lately I realized how conservative the "art world" really is. To cope with this 'being true to myself' sadly, is not is the price you pay for being transparent. A honest friend is a gift during these times, no matter what's being said....

Tonya Vollertsen said...

He's a talented fellow, no doubt! Nice retro peek at his work. Love the Blue and White drawing in the beginning!

Nancy Lee said...

Nick, another wonderfully written piece on a very interesting artist and person! I was introduced to Dave by you and have come to appreciate his work and his extremely incisive commentary although I doubt I would have been quite as sanguine as you if first told a painting was "hated". :) But, no guts no glory as they say! And, on the other hand, I recognize the need to expose my shortcomings by putting myself out there and not flinching when commented adversely upon. Thanks for fleshing out the more limited impressions of a wonderful artist - and musician from what you say - which I didn't know. Seems like you, David B. and David P. should all get together at some point and jam!

Nick said...

Rob - well said...the worst thing you can do in art is deliver a lie - to yourself, or another artist!

Tonya - I love that picture, and I think he did it quickly as a knock-off piece...never know how something like that may affect others

Nancy - getting friendly with Dake is like eating your greens: it's good for ya! People with mulitple talents like that can always reach you one way or another, keep the airwaves open and your brain on red alert!

Ananta Mandal said...

Hi Nick, your work is very wonderful, I like your work so much, and wish you continued big success. ananta Mandal, INDIA

Anonymous said...

I always loved david's works!thanks for showing it!the portrait is incredible!!wish I had done it !ah!ah!

classic girl said...

Someone had to tell him Nick! (what are mates for)
You've encapsulated the essence of "the world according to Dake!" **applause**

Nick said...

Ananta - you're probably looking at David's work, but I'll say thank you for both of us!

Clem - hello, it's GREAT to see you! As another who got weeded out of the WC garden, I know you appreciate the trailblazing Dake did there, and applaud his efforts to make it a forum for ARTISTS rather than what it has become. Hope to see you around more, how about on Facebook?

ClassicGirl - I had no idea - another blog to follow! I already did a bit of reading, and have to say I thought you were born on stage playing keys for a rock & roll band...I would love to have been a fly on the wall when you brought him home for the "meet the folks" dinner. heheh I'm looking forward to meeting you one day, not to mention the boys, and the most beautiful precious little girl (takes after her mother). Hooroo!

joel said...

nice bit of writing Nick. i really enjoyed this. you know, and Dake knows i love his work.

however, what tickles me most is remembering that wonderful, arcane distinction of being "banned".

that is a major achievement and one NOT to be dismissed lightly.


well done.