SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO — Eight Modern is pleased to announce its upcoming exhibition, David X Levine: She Kept Her Heart Parked on a Hill.
Inspired by popular music of the 20th century, Levine works with colored pencils, building up fields of intensely saturated color with millions of pencil strokes and buffing the surfaces to a smooth, waxy finish. The dimensions of these labor-intensive drawings range from six to 70 inches.
Levine’s playful and expressive forms have an anthropomorphic quality, occupying an ambiguous space between the figurative and the purely abstract or, as one reviewer states, “a resting on the edge of readability.”
Music plays an integral part in Levine’s creative process, imparting a fundamental rhythm to his works, which sometimes incorporate collage and handwritten text that reference their inspirations, further uniting audio and visual.
“Music aims the shape-making and color choices of most of my drawings,” Levine says. “I am very sensitive to music’s message. I will listen repeatedly to a musician or group so as to create an expressive continuity in my work. I sometimes listen to the same song or album for weeks.”
Levine wrote poetry for a decade before becoming a visual artist, and the exhibition title references a drawing he made several years ago. The work exhibited in She Kept Her Heart Parked on a Hill originated between 2003 and 2010 and is meant to evoke what the artist describes as “a melancholy hopefulness.”
Much of his artwork addresses specific individuals or collectives, such as Freddie Mercury, Janis Joplin and The Shirelles, as well as less famous individuals such as Brian Wilson’s unrequited high school crush, Carol Mountain, as the artist abstractly establishes an imagined rapport with their creations.
“The people that inspire me do most of the work,” Levine says. “I just light a candle for them.”
As Artforum recently noted, Levine is able to “transform his emotive effusion into an aesthetic labor of love. … However, Levine is interested not just in exploring the visual fabrication of intimacy with a gamut of public figures…but also in the possibility of turning abstraction in a similarly cherished object of desire…the artist lavishes the same attention on the language of abstraction as he does on his heroes, suggesting that they are sites for both the creation of desire and the constitution of the self.”
Levine lives and works in New York and, over the past decade, has participated regularly in solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States.