Traditional, yet innovative; reflective, yet distant, David Konigsberg’s landscapes and still lifes are rife with double-backs and unexpected turns. A self-proclaimed “solitary wanderer,” Konigsberg gathers imagery and visions from long walks through the Catskills, through surrounding terrain, and through his own backyard. He views all as equally minute and equally monumental, from a peaked horizon to a burst of petals collected from his garden. This confluence of near and distant perspectives creates an almost literary quality; the intimacy of first-person voice jockeying with the scope of an omniscient narrator. David’s paintings resist a certain aboutness, allowing simultaneous narratives to proliferate across the bodies of his canvases, culminating in an emotional sucker punch.
Konigsberg’s latest collection of paintings are an attenuation of his experience during the pandemic. His characteristic use of scumble appears thickened and dense in Cumulus in Wide Field and From Sargent #1. David’s brushstrokes have a muscularity to them reminiscent of woodcut prints, carving into the canvas rather than sitting atop its surface. This is in part utilitarian–a strategy to ensure that his smaller canvases have visual impact from across the room. But the force of his physicality in these landscapes suggests an overwhelming subjectivity, as well. Konigsberg reflects, “I don’t feel separated from what I’m in.” Mood and memory shape his landscapes, capturing the most intimate, interior moments, and distilling them into visions of his surroundings.
This is not to say that David’s paintings are without levity or humor. Dramatic, chiaroscuro-laden skies are alleviated by blush pinks and gentle blues. Warmth, and perhaps even a hint of optimism, emanate from beneath otherwise enigmatic scenes. Konigsberg’s landscapes almost appear demure next to the grandeur of his still lifes. Flower petals and wallpaper patterns are magnified to surreal proportions, and explosive with detail. Arrangement, a closely cropped view of flowers in a vase (presumably collected from his own garden) is not merely a depiction of found objects. The blooms are riotous, and at their scale, almost confrontational, charging the composition with an undercurrent of absurd and giddy danger. We are mere Lilliputians, immersed in nature despite its domestication.
Though seemingly two disparate bodies of work, Konigsberg’s fantastical still lifes and poetic landscapes come together to dispel the idea of a nature-human hierarchy. Medium-scale and digestible, his landscapes show capital-N Nature as something of a partner, rather than an indomitable force. Without the immensity imposed by a massive canvas, the viewer’s relationship with the landscape becomes egalitarian. Conversely, the still lifes fully engross the viewer’s field of vision, simulating the amount of care and dedication required to raise a garden to maturity. As he vacillates between scales and subjects, David’s comfortability with nature comes to the fore. Pre and post-pandemic look roughly the same to him – his hikes have always been solo. Now, he just sees more people on the trail.
David Konigsberg’s newest paintings are featured in My Own Backyard, a group show on view at Carrie Haddad Gallery in Hudson, NY through July 31st, 2022. More of his paintings are available at https://www.carriehaddadgallery.com/
ABOUT THE ARTIST
David Konigsberg is a conceptual realist who works across media and painting genres to portray transitional spaces, metaphoric moments and alternative histories. A long-time member of the Gowanus and Red Hook artist communities in Brooklyn, he is now based in Hudson and employs the area’s landscapes as the setting and subject of his work. David is an avid hiker, gardener, and occasional writer. Though these elements often find their way into his painting practice, David insists that if he had something to say, he would write it, not paint it. David Konigsberg has shown with Carrie Haddad Gallery since the early 2000s. Throughout their twenty-year partnership, David has continued to develop and evolve his painting style, appealing to collectors of traditional and contemporary art alike.
CARRIE HADDAD GALLERY
Established in 1991 as the first fine art gallery in Hudson, NY, Carrie Haddad Gallery represents professionally committed artists as well as emerging talent specializing in painting, both large and small sculpture, works on paper and a variety of techniques in photography. The gallery currently has 60 artists on the roster, most of whom are local to the Hudson Valley. Occupying 3000 sq ft. on Warren Street, the gallery is located two hours north of Manhattan. The annual exhibition schedule accommodates 6 exhibits on the main floor as well as a rotating selection of artworks by represented artists on the second floor. Linden Scheff and Lena Petersen have served as Co-Directors of Carrie Haddad Gallery since 2016.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Louisa Pancoast is a dancer, choreographer, gallerist, and writer based in Brooklyn, NY. In addition to her performance career, she is the Assistant Director at Garvey|Simon, and provides freelance writing services to artists whose primary mode of communication is not the written word. Louisa holds her B.A. in Art History and English Literature from New York University. Lately, she has been collaborating with an aerospace engineer, using dance to improve drone coordination and develop human-robot interactions.