"Conversations In The Abstract #96" by Downs
30 x 30” acrylic on canvas (2020) -- unframed
Downs is definitely a throwback in his overall view of painting. Now in his early 60’s he was very fortunate to have had mentors such as Karl Benjamin and Frederick Hammersley in the mid 80's. Being in the presence of such noted painters impressed on him the importance and responsibility of being true to one's own vision. "By speaking clearly in a non object idiom, the goal is to make art that reflects modern day life. My process consists of layering spontaneous random marks that are sometimes completely obscured. By working and reworking surfaces, I expose the varying depth of color which creates spaces that expand and contract, communicating the work's shifting moods.”
The current series “Conversations In The Abstract”, arose from a stroke Downs experienced in 2015. Downs’ perception of life as an artist changed. The stroke brought on strange and unusual conversations in his mind, which he can only describe as abstract. The task as he sees it is to translate these thoughts into painting, to convey the aesthetics of his experiences in a positive manner. These visual conversations scream out a sense of risky adventure, a collision of shapes and colours which create the surface tension essential to animating his abstracts, creating a visual debate. The strength in these works is in the artist's understanding of color, balance and simplicity. In his previous body of work, "Manhattan Series", Downs recalls when he first moved to New York in the mid 70's. Emotions of the average person were on a much more intense level as far as fear, crime and the overall lack of beauty in the city. For Downs, this was an opportunity to experience firsthand the gritty and raw energy to be used in his paintings to come. This body of work is his attempt to recreate the tension, movement and color of that era.
Downs has been painting professionally for over 40 years and has exhibited nationally and internationally. His work has been included in group shows with noted artists such as Andre Miripolsky, Mark Mothersbaugh and Karl Benjamin. Downs' works are included in private collections throughout the world.
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