In an opening reception on March 9th, join The Dark Art Emporium as they proudly present the solo exhibition of David Van Gough, a Necrosurrealist artist originally from Liverpool, England, now living and working in California.
Marinated in a mixture rich with emotion and visions of a fallen Eden, his work for Paradiso’s Fall is fascinating. It was such a pleasure to interview David and learn more about his creative journey, inspirations, and what’s on the horizon for his many artistic expressions.
For available artwork, visit The Dark Art Emporium website… or if you’re in the area, stop by and see them in person!
“Following directly on from my previous series (‘Pergatorium’), “Paradiso’s Fall” utilizes elements from Milton’s classic work, and the corruption of Eden as a mythological set piece for my own autumn of years, the fall of man, and the prevailing dark age we live in. Through this series of paintings there are ill omens to the end times. The work is a meditation on mans appetite for self destruction, against the dichotomy of the ‘artist’s’ creative predisposition to deconstruct.”
-David Van Gough
“The thing I most love about David Van Gough’s work is his use of symbols. Each paintings is a smorgasbord of images and all of them have a highly intentional and elegant part to play in the story he is telling. From the twisted, Bosch like creatures to the weather in the sky beyond. It all relates, like a fantastic jigsaw puzzle that has no corners, we are left with the joyful duty of finding how each defines the next until the underlying meaning, or at least how we perceive it, finds its way into view. But what keeps us digging is the skill with which each piece of that puzzle is created. The man can paint.”
– Jeremy Cross, Assistant Director
Saturday, March 9, 2019 | 7– 10 PM
The Dark Art Emporium
256 Elm Avenue
Long Beach, CA 90802
Website | Facebook | Instagram
David, thank you so much for taking time to share with our Beautiful Bizarre readers! I read that your work is an expression of “emotional and spiritual excavation”, using allegory and alchemy. What was this creative process like when preparing for Paradiso’s Fall? And what does Paradiso’s Fall mean to you?
As with my previous series-Purgatorium, I initially used a literary work to springboard my ideas from. In this instance, it was Milton’s Paradise Lost, but rather than produce a faithful adaptation of the story, I used phrases from the texts that would invoke a sequence of images and emotions for me. Particularly there had been this line, which had resonated: “The mind is its own place and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.” I knew I wanted it to be the foundation by which I could build this notion of a fallen Eden, because it really felt like that in the current climate we live in, that mankind was pushing itself inextricably towards some terrible cataclysmic end.
Aligned with the phrases was the need to place them alongside some historical context. So things like Salem, Hiroshima, Vietnam, Jonestown became like fait accompli, ill omens if you will to what should have been cautionary lessons, but through repetition will ultimately spell our demise. So Paradiso’s Fall came to represent that dark desire that is innate within us all. That the correlation as an artist to change our external reality, to deconstruct so to represent our interior world, extends beyond the canvas, throughout mankind as a very fundamental human function.
How has your artistic vision changed and evolved over time?
I’d say it’s broadened, become less navel gazing. It’s become more like an exercise in anthropology where I’m summoning my own experiences alongside a wider spectrum of human experience. The spiritual questioning of why am I here, has become why are WE here?
What are your thoughts on being considered a contemporary dark artist?
I fully embrace it. For the longest time, there wasn’t really an art movement that encompassed the work that I do. “Dark Art” in its nascent form was disparate and maligned. That it’s influences comprised everyone from Bosch to Goya, Dore through to Giger, Frazetta and Bacon, seemed counter-intuitive, like a missed opportunity, and I think it took the fertile ground of the dark times that we live in, for it to fully culminate as a going concern. Now, of course, with gallery’s like The Dark Art Emporium, Hyaena and Last Rites, and things like Chet Zars Dark Art Society boasting several hundred members and counting, Dark Art finally seems to be a burgeoning and legitimate outfit.
Describe a place that has become inspirational to the creation of your artwork.
I’m very subjective to the geography of where I create, and it seems to unwittingly seep into the work, be it stylistically, spiritually or visually. Before I began Paradiso’s Fall, we had to move from the San Diego suburbs to Julian, California, which is a small former mining town around 4000 feet above sea level in the mountains, overlooking the valleys of Borrego Desert. So it runs extremes from fairly heavy snowfalls during the winters, to scorching, long hot summers, and when I was thinking of a Fallen Eden, it was the landscape of the latter, which really informed the visual psyche of the work. Dry and arid soil, dead, charred trees and bone crushing boulders. It felt bleak and uninhabitable, except there’s a desolate, disconcerting beauty to it, particularly at dusk, which is when I’ve set all the pieces.
We live in a society with an importance on social responsibilities. How do you feel about social media and its influence on art and the artist?
>The remit for the artist should be that she/he never allows the audience into the studio. With that said, it’s become a natural consequence in the age of Patreon and live streaming to invite the audience in on the process, so it’s inevitable that as with Hawthorne’s theory, the perception changes the moment it’s observed.
What exciting things do you have planned for the year?
After Paradiso’s Fall, I’ll be continuing on with the third and final act in a series of works that began with Purgatorium, titled, The Infernal. That will take the focus of my time, but there’s also a small side arm series, comprising ink drawings that I really want to do. I’ve also been working on producing an art book, which will be a semi-fictional biography that ties all three series together.