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David Schell


Systems and structures often appear to be propped up at the same instant that they are changing or falling apart. We have short periods of time in our culture, physical appearance, identity, fashion, and overall taste that seem structured and well defined, but they are just snapshots. My work is about moments of stability in the midst of constant transformation. I want the structures in my paintings to look as though they were formerly something else and soon to be something new. The moment that we are seeing has its own logic, organization, and form. But it won't last.

The shapes, layers, and colors in my paintings are usually planned in advance. I use drawings, stencils, digital editing tools, and predetermined color combinations to help me compose my images. What I have found, however, is that I’m completely incapable of following my own directions. My designs are guides, but the paintings have no set route to completion. Instead, I rely heavily on intuition when making final decisions about color, shape, and form.

David Schell is a painter working in Portland, Oregon. He received an MFA from American University and a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is interested in how we design, build, and organize in an attempt to create order. He is also interested in how structure, order, and best intentions eventually give way to something else. His work is often about allowing those two realities to coexist.

Schell’s latest solo show, Just Like This For A Little While, was at Oranj Studio during the summer of 2017. Recent group exhibitions include End of the Beginning in Queensland, Australia, What Develops at the Floating Gallery (2018, with Brenna Murphy and David Trowbridge, curated by Percy Wise), Hold on Tight at Nine Gallery (2017), the ​60th Chautauqua Annual Exhibit of Contemporary Art in Chautauqua, New York (2017), Transformation Chase at the North View Gallery (2015), the Bowery Gallery in New York (juror: Stephen Westfall, 2015 and David Cohen of, 2014) and Gallery 114 in Portland, OR. He has also shown work at Gallery 214 on the Pacific Northwest College of Art campus (Portland,OR) and at Oregon State University (Corvallis, OR). His paintings were published in Studio Visit magazine in 2013 (volume 24).