David Grossmann’s paintings might seem to be of landscapes, but, really, the Colorado artist paints how those places make him feel.
His paintings explore his emotional reaction to places both real and imagined. He takes a scene and rearranges it, simplifying it in a process he likens to writing poetry, where a few words, or in his case, a few brush strokes, can access deeper emotions than a focus on the details, Grossmann said in an email interview.
“Even though I paint landscapes, my work is very much a self-portrait,” he said.
His new show, “In Motion,” is set to open with a reception from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Altamira Fine Art and hang through Aug. 31. The show features mostly recent work, and the paintings are inspired by the transition embodied by the changing seasons.
Grossmann was born in Colorado, but grew up in Chile. He was shy as a kid, and found art was an outlet that allowed him to express himself, so he spent hours drawing and painting. His grandmother taught him how to oil paint when he was 10 years old. Chile’s mountains and the ocean also instilled in him a love of landscapes as subject matter.
His work now explores the line between reality, memory and imagination, he said. Most of his paintings begin as sketches outside. Those small sketches surround in him in the studio and blend together, along with his feelings about the places, to become new compositions. He often paints aspen groves or landscapes at dusk.
“I am drawn to painting scenes that capture the feeling of time passing — scenes that capture the transitions of seasons or fleeting moments of light,” he said.
Grossmann paints on handmade panels, which allow him to experiment with surface textures. He used to make the panels himself, but the task is so time consuming he now hires his dad to make them for him. His parents also make his frames. His dad does the wood work and his mom gilds them with 23 karate gold leaf.
Grossmann sees his work as a continuation of traditional landscape paintings, but with a more contemporary aesthetic. His work has evolved to become more abstract as he focuses more on design and texture.
“It has gradually become more about mood than about specific places,” he said.
In his studio, Grossmann builds surface textures and color transitions by layering opaque and transparent paint, primarily in muted colors. The weave of the linen on the panel adds an unpredictable quality he finds intriguing.
Each layer of oil paints takes time to dry, so Grossmann is constantly working on several paintings, shifting between them depending on which one is ready for more work. It means each painting can take months to finish. The work is meditative, a feeling he also wants the paintings to evoke in the viewer.
With his art he aims to create an atmosphere that is contemplative even when using the occasional brighter color, he said. “I always hope that my paintings will be reminders of the peace and beauty that surround us when we take the time to stop and listen.” ￼