Unveiling the new art gallery exhibit: The Grisaille Paintings of David C. Kane since 1983

A new exhibition has opened in the art gallery, featuring the work of David C. Kane, UW alumnus and accomplished artist. The collection on display is a body of “grisaille” paintings, a style of monochrome. The display opened Wed., Feb. 26, and Kane was present to speak at the opening ceremony.

The display, which will be up for the next five weeks, features selections from several collections including “22 Instances of Spanish Somnambulism,” “The Bride of Bronco Skull,” “The Garden of Cyrus” and “The Eidelauer Portraits.” David’s work has a distinct and cohesive appearance, as each painting is rendered on burlap from old coffee bags and primed in bright orange or magenta, adding a consistent undertone to the otherwise black and white paintings. The images range from simple portraits to small “depictions of the interior of the artist’s mind,” as well as expansive triptychs of monsters and aliens.

David has been showing his paintings since 1983. He explained, “I do stuff for my own amusement… The impetus is to please myself first.” David’s art is an exploration of his own interests: “There’s aliens, there’s Greek mythology, there’s dreamscapes. There’s straight-up science fiction.” In 1997, David curated a show celebrating the 50th anniversary of UFO sightings over Mt. Rainier. Those in attendance ranged “from true believers to ironic postmodern artists making alien sex toys to watercolors of all the different races that have been visiting the earth, according to someone who was abducted. People came out of the woodwork. There were abductees, there was a retired Boeing engineer from Burien who had built these little life-size mannequins of aliens he saw in his backyard. It was a lot of fun.”

The present monochrome world of the gallery is a variety of alien landscapes, populated by detailed characters. On the question of meaning behind Kane’s art, David Noah Giles, an old acquaintance and professional peer of Mr. Kane, explained: “It’s not about one thing, it’s about the mixture of the viewer [and the painting]. The viewer adds their experience.” The cryptic pictures are accompanied with brief explanations in the same artistic vein, guiding the viewer’s thoughts but ultimately leaving the work up to interpretation. The audience at the opening ceremony was in general unanimity: “It’s really something. I find it interesting and beautiful, in a way,” said Malia Yandall, an art student in attendance.

David’s paintings will be on public display in the art gallery (D271) through early April, and is an experience provided for free by the art department.