Art can soothe and harmonise or it can attack the viewer and take them to a new place. The art of David Abse is highly contrasting, with a variety of colours placed onto the canvass with an energetic, street-wise hand. Combining a multitude of influences, ranging from the cerebral artistic musings of the expressionists to the gritty urban graffiti styles of inner city artists, these works shine outwards with a confidence and an attitude that is utterly compelling. Obviously, these paintings would look fabulous in any modern setting and would provide a flash of vitality to any room. When forms and landscapes appear they are effortlessly stylised, proving an imagined expression of the scene, rather than a faithful reproduction of it. The feeling of each place is captured by his artistic skill, with villages and buildings imposing their shapes upon the canvas. Mountain ranges glisten with a vivid blue that makes them appear as a heavenly backdrop to the town nestling below.
The influence of street art and the New York scene of the 1980s is clear to see, but this work takes that influence and applies it in a modern and original way. By mixing acrylics and spray paint, David creates a rich texture and an interesting range of effects in his portfolio. Thickly applied creams provide a background to the splashes of reds and yellows, creating a dreamy, yet potent image. The heavily handled reds invoke passion and invite the viewer to lean closer to admire the deftly handled details across the work. The contemporary nature is further emphasised with a number of film and music references, which tie these paintings in to a wider cultural landscape. Combining painting and printmaking with his creative project in the south of France, David Abse continues to be an important part of the artistic community. His work is highly regarded here at LondonArt and we are delighted to name him artist of the week.