David King

Mother’s Milk
oil on canvas
64" x 32"

(b. 1958 – Akron, OH) David King’s paintings look like how remembering feels. Sections of the work are crisp and clean, their details fully accounted for and layers fully formed. Other sections are wispy, filled with painterly drips and broad brushstrokes as subject matter fades away. In the same way memory fails and omits what seems like crucial elements—the face of a loved one or the shape of a house—King too obscures details of his paintings, leaving the viewer to fill in the gaps and pull the subject matter back to the foreground of the work.

In this painting, the artist portrays his mother in her high school prom dress. The totemic figure towers over a cycle of three women carrying pails, conjuring the duty of labor, specifically the gathering of what is necessary and the bringing it to bear. The scene becomes a striking statement about the strength of purpose, of lasting will, of commitment to doing the good work required. In this way, what is a telling of one special woman’s character becomes a model for broader human purpose.

King received an MFA in Painting from Kent State University. He has exhibited work in a variety of institutions across the country, including at The Utah Arts Alliance and Case Western Reserve University. King was a high school art teacher for thirty years and is currently Adjunct Professor at Case Western Reserve University. 

From the nominating artist:

I admire his ability to make work that is nostalgic and personal but still leaves room for the viewer to navigate the work independently.
— Darius Steward

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