In 1949, David Park took his paintings to the dump. They were abstract in an Abstract Expressionist vein. With a clean slate, he used what he knew about the push and pull of moving paint around to return to the figure. Made of big, blunt brush-and-knife strokes, his quiet moments marked the beginning of Bay Area Figurative. In 1960, at age 49, he died of cancer.
Almost everyone I know who cares about art and lived in the Bay Area in the second half of the 20th Century considers his work a touchstone.
In the 21st Century, his influence is everywhere, or, as Auden wrote about Yeats, “he has become his admirers.”
Julia Kuhl, for that quality of living in inside a head and stuck at an impasse, for the inadvertent tenderness.
Peter F. Gross, for tactile intensity. (Anonymous Russian poet: “Can I help it if your bones rattle in my heavy, tender paws?”)
Mark Takamichi Miller – for bodies that own the air around them, without noticing it, and for big color.
Mette Tommerup – What is the opposite of observant? A David Park figure.
Brian Burke – stones in the river, lumpen proletariat in the sky.