Art as Reflection of Contemporary Culture and the Human Condition

David Konigsberg’s paintings speak to our vitality and fortitude.

David Konigsberg, Poppies, 2017, oil on canvas, 55 x 44 inches

In the words of Abbie Hoffman, “The cry of ‘Flower Power’ echoes through the land. We shall not wilt. Let a thousand flowers bloom.” (Workshop in Nonviolence, May 1967)

Typifying the sentiment expressed fifty years ago by Abbie Hoffman, David Konigsberg’s paintings are both a reaction to contemporary life and a celebration of the resilience of the human spirit.

Painted during the late winter and spring of 2017, a time of intense personal reflection for the artist and a profoundly troubling political era for the nation, these paintings press towards an enduring optimism even in tumultuous times. They are proof that indeed art is long and life is short.

About the new series, the artist writes: “I’m probably best known for my explorations of the relationship between earth and sky — between still, eternal landscapes and their polar opposite: a troposphere bursting with motion. But I have also often been intrigued by expressive events on a much smaller scale — by quick observations, sudden realizations, small gestures and intimate graces, all contained within a few square feet, sometimes even a few square inches.

The work in this latest cycle flows directly from this latter impulse, in a year that has challenged and taught me, more than ever, what it’s like to be alive. That is, how time passes, how experience is ephemeral, how love is essential and loss is inevitable, and how, the older you get, the more these understandings thread through every fiber of your being.

I have reached the point in life where I’ve grown more reflective, and where, upon reflection, I’ve discovered as many questions as I have answers. Practically speaking, I know more than ever, but I’m still baffled by the much greater mysteries. And as I observe my own never-ending attempts to exert coherence and order in my life, I increasingly find that the mysteries undercut them and sweep them aside.

I believe these paintings — which seem both frankly romantic and a little unruly — reflect this yearning for order and coherence that can never be quite achieved. I think of them as a series of arrangements, attempts to impose will on what can’t be contained, with the acceptance, ultimately, that such attempts only get you so far, and that life, made of so many simultaneously alive currents, has a mind of its own.”

The artist’s work has been exhibited throughout the United States and has been featured in The New York Times, Chronogram, Brooklyn Journal and numerous art and culture blogs. David Konigsberg lives and works in Hudson, NY.

Summer of Love (50 years after 1967) is on view July 13 — September 1 at Kenise Barnes Fine Art, located at 1947 Palmer Avenue, Larchmont, NY. The exhibition also includes work by Gabe Brown, Mary Judge, Kim Keever and Melanie Parke.

David Konigsberg, Bearing Flowers 2, 2017, oil on panel, 28 x 24 inches
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