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David Downs

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St. Louis

Birth year

Lives in

Works in
Chicago, New York


exhibition/performance, conceptual, abstract, figurative, photography, traditional, landscape, neo-expressionism mixed-media mixed-media, publication installation, arts-education, compliant, neo-nostalgic, mixed-media, realism


Artist Statement

When I approach a painting, I am bringing the baggage of my life; immediate worries, concerns for the future, past memories, joys, and disappointments to the canvas. I paint until I have exhausted almost all of these things and what I am left with, whatever emotion or memory, becomes the final inspiration for the finished piece. 

Recently I have done away with recognizable forms, attempting to communicate beyond the portrayal of material objects. I want the viewer to experience an emotional response without relating it to an imposed subject. In truth, the viewer is taking a journey inside their own psyche to discover something within themselves. My paintings are no more than a facilitator for this introspection. 

Artist Bio

David Downs is a self-taught painter living and working in Chicago, Illinois. Over the past 16 years, his work has undergone major evolutionary changes and continues to move in bold new directions. He first began painting in oils at the age of 20 despite a devotion to black & white photography and darkroom practices. He wanted to combine photography and painting into an aesthetically seamless form. Eventually he eliminated the photograph in favor of large-scale photorealistic oil painting. David’s most recent work completely releases the canvas of recognizable imagery. He is now attempting to portray complicated personal emotions and memories using only colors and abstract forms painted in oil.

Throughout his career, David has acted as a facilitator of community amongst other artists. In 2010 he created a small publishing company called Sprocketbox Entertainment to publish curated art books. He has since published work by over 50 different artists. For two years, while living in New York City, David organized solo and group exhibitions in pop-up and alternative locations. 


Solo/Two Person Shows

2011 "Xacbe: Traces of the Light Beyond" Mink & Arce Gallery, Chicago, IL

2006 "Age and Decay" The Lucky Cat, New York, NY

2005 "Emily Rosen and David Downs" Dick Blick Gallery, New York, NY

Select Group Shows

2011 "Artifice & Ambiguity" Mink & Arce Gallery, Chicago, IL

2010 "New American Landscape" Las Manos Gallery, Chicago, IL

2010 "The Evidence Against Us" Las Manos Gallery, Chicago, IL

2009 "die Zeit of Drawing" Climate/Gallery, New York, NY

2009 "New Works" Las Manos Gallery, Chicago, IL

2009 "Deck Deck Deck" APW Gallery, New York, NY

2009 "Amnetic State" 7013 Studio, Chicago, IL

2009 "New Photographs" Las Manos Gallery, Chicago, IL

2008 "2nd Annual Square Foot Show" The Galaxie!, Chicago, IL

2005 “Subversive Means” Dick Blick Gallery, New York, NY

Published Works and Printed Exhibitions:

2014 Polonium No1: Sentiment (Sprocketbox Entertainment/Polonium Gallery)

2012 Figure Face Identity (Sprocketbox Entertainment)

2011 International Dictionary of Artists (World Wide Books)

2010 David Paul Downs, Recent Works (Sprocketbox Entertainment)

2010 New American Landscape (Sprocketbox Entertainment)

2010 die Zeit of Drawing (Climate/Gallery)


2010 CAAP Grant

Teaching and Demonstrations:

2014 Teaching Artist at Marwen Institute

2007-2014 Teacher for Extended Day Program at Francis Xavier Warde School

2012-2014 Arts Instructor at Piccolo Theater Arts Camp

2007-2011 Arts Instructor for YAP at Noyes Cultural Arts Center

2008 Arts Instructor at The Galaxie!

2007 Demonstrator for the Chicago Botanic Garden Fairchild Challenge




Recent Exhibits

David Downs participated in these exhibits:

Oct, 2011 Xacbe: Traces of the Light Beyond
Mink & Arce Gallery
Oct, 2011 Xacbe: Traces of the Light Beyond
MInk and Arce Gallery
Sep, 2011 Artifice and Ambiguity
Mink & Arce Gallery
May, 2010 New American Landscape
Las Manos Gallery
Apr, 2010 The Evidence Against Us
Las Manos Gallery
Apr, 2010 The Evidence Against Us
Las Manos Gallery
Click here to see all exhibits for David Downs

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