The 18 th century German metaphysician Gottfried Leibniz once wrote: "Nothing is more important than to see the sources of invention which are, in my opinion, more interesting than the inventions themselves." True to this premise, Los Angeles-based painter David Eddington has adopted permanent change as his formal guiding principle: his work is an expression of parallel transitional periods in both Eastern and Western art history, and an open-ended evolution of both his personal technique and eclectic interests.
Silver Century is Eddington's new series of large acrylic and casein paintings on canvas. Executed in a reserved palette of steely grey, inky black, earthy ochre, oxide green, vibrant Chinese red and translucent flake white, the work is conspicuously process-led. The fabrication of the work is important; from the construction of the stretchers, the stretching of the Belgian linen, the choice of pigment and its application; the matte quality of traditional casein paint next to metallic acrylic pigment. The edges of the canvases reveal the layered quality of his method. Paint is applied in a variety of ways; the pigment is mainly laid flat and opaque, other passages glow with a faint iridescence and may be translucent, showing the under - painting, building towards the final image.
Eddington's earlier paintings suggested details of discarded fabric; their flowing, folded forms later evolved into more angular structures and are currently engaged in portrayals of single pieces of what appears to be industrial machinery. Resembling a monolithic fan, or propulsion motor -- but ultimately indecipherable as to function, scale, or context -- these images are composed in a technically skilled, three-dimensional, measured hand. Lending the forms both a subtle realism and a traditional atelier-style naturalism, the precision of their rendered masses expresses more reverence than is usually bestowed upon such mundane subject matter. These mechanical components are nestled in stormy, expressive abstract passages. The painterly atmosphere enfolds the objects in a softly obscuring embrace; at times it appears the last layer painted pushes forward and asserts itself, in a way that upsets perspectival and planar realism as a surge of expression washes over the picture.
The work follows a clear line of research: the influence of Liebniz, as well as the more recent writings of French philosopher Gilles Deleuze, parallel personal observations and experiences that twist and weave their own way through his consciousness. The titles refer to images of the folds of space, movement and time.
The arc of Eddington's references further extends from classical painted fabric and architecture to a dialogue with abstract painting; a concern for social injustice and the intimate dissection of the tools of industry and power - what it means to make by hand as opposed to robotic proxy. Despite his political concerns, Eddington rejects symbolism, except that which the viewer injects into his work. This has always been true, even during his extended fabric period; works which portrayed draped textiles in the absence of the original covered figure, object or setting.
In the final work in this series, Driven Propeller , the conceptual dissolution of the object becomes literal, both generating and resulting from a loose chunky technique, aiming to portray the crumbling of the machine's base, and its integration with the surrounding abstract passages. As with memories, his ambiguous narrative fades away, receding into the hazy atmosphere of the obscured landscape in Silver River and as with memories, the information contained in these evocative paintings remains present, if one gives them time to unfold.
-- Shana Nys Dambrot Los Angeles 2005