David Joel Kitcher uses intuitive mark making to construct abstract paintings, watching them unfold with each decision he makes. For 2018 he gave up color in favor of grayscale work. "Without the distraction and endless variety of color, I could stretch out and focus," he says. Since he reintroduced color earlier this year, the paintings have grown more "cartoony and illustrative," Kitcher told me via email. "I give color a lot more thought now and have a greater appreciation for what it can do. Sometimes you don't know what you've got until it's gone."
Stranger (2019) is a head-like construction— nearly a portrait, yet still unrecognizable as the title suggests. It is pseudo-cubist, but more graphic, clean, and minimal than Picasso's ubiquitous grayscale work. The carefully placed brushstrokes curve and wiggle, giving the composition a sense of energy and aliveness. "There's something magical in the natural style of a brushstroke that you just can't fake," he says. "It's a part of who you are like penmanship."
In Preceptor (2019) we see a dense juncture of grayscale shapes, again resembling a portrait, surrounded by strange green negative space, a hue somewhere between key lime and sage brush. The word 'preceptor' refers to a teacher or instructor (precept) and, in this case, could alternately refer to a portrait of a teacher as well as the painting itself being instructional in some way.
Fiesta (2019) shows a collection of soft-bodied squiggles dancing through the foreground. Behind them is a technicolor orgy of shapes weaving in and out of each other. The shapes are jubilant but do not float. They are anchored by a larger mass at the bottom and the raindrops lend an element of gravity.