STRUCTURE: New Paintings by David Gaither

April 25 - June 7, 2019

David Gaither,  Crossing the Rubicon,  2018-19, acrylic on canvas, 60 x 90 inches

David Gaither, Crossing the Rubicon, 2018-19, acrylic on canvas, 60 x 90 inches



(New York)  511 Gallery is pleased to present STRUCTURE: New Paintings by David Gaither, the second solo exhibition for the artist, whose work is represented by the gallery. Gaither is an emerging, self-taught artist from Mableton, Georgia, who works primarily in abstraction, but often, and most recently, with elements of figuration. The seven paintings in the show emerge from this evolution of Gaither's studio practice.

Gaither's works have underlying structures. Driven by a conceptual idea, they first take form on paper, in an almost architectural blueprint format. The artist draws shapes and patterns to scale on a grid-like system and assigns colors to them extracted from a detailed spreadsheet of over three hundred paint colors, derived from three sources:  acrylic paints made for him by Golden Artists Colors, Inc.; the colors he mixes from those paints and other pigments; and other standard brands of paints. This process takes hours, as evident in the canvases’ meticulous, dense detail. He then transfers directly and almost seamlessly the design onto the canvas, painting layer after layer. His paintings use over one hundred--sometimes several hundred--colors. The painting's process is thus predetermined and only revised ad hoc while in the act of its making. The result is something like controlled chaos.

Using his base-map method, the artist expands his composition from the purely abstract to a hybrid of the abstract and the real, as in his giant canvas diptych, Crossing the Rubicon. This combines figures and landscape with abstraction. On the left is a forest of trees whose trunks create an undulating scheme of vertical lines that recess into a camouflage of greens. A cadre of soldiers on horseback and on foot cross a vague and painterly river, and head towards a sea of brightly-colored geometric objects piled high into a pyramid. In the background are hand-painted, white, stencil-like patterns laid out horizontally on a backdrop of bold colors. Gaither researched Julius Caesar and the legendary tale of crossing the Rubicon River, then used the narrative to reference his own past as an artist. The result is a linking of realist landscape and figures with abstracted landscape and shapes, showing that the two can be synthesized. Gaither has referenced people and stories of historical significance in his previous work, such as, Icarus Redux, calling forth the myth of Icarus and Daedalus, and The Grand Mural, which influence was the iconography of Native American people of the Northwest U.S. and Canada. Crossing the Rubicon is a seminal work in Gaither’s progression from the abstract to the real to the synthesis of both.

STRUCTURE will exhibit seven new paintings by David including the diptych, Crossing the Rubicon; two large vertical paintings that combine geometric shapes and a car in a landscape; and purely abstract paintings on unconventionally shaped canvases. These works blur the line between abstraction and representation, between reality and fantasy. Still bursting with energetic imagery, Gaither unites seemingly disparate formal aesthetics.

Though not art-schooled, David Gaither has continuously made art since a child. He received a B.A. degree from Morehouse College and an MBA from The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. In 2018, he was awarded the prestigious Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant. Solo exhibitions have included: David Gaither: Growth & Expansion at the Tubman Museum in Georgia (2016), Axiom at 511 Gallery (2016), and More is More: The Maximalist Paintings of David Gaither at the Richard F. Brush Gallery at St. Lawrence University (2017).

“STRUCTURE: New Paintings by David Gaither” will be on view from April 25 – June 7, 2019, with an opening reception on Thursday, April 25, from 6 to 9 pm.

For further information, please contact Ashley Ouderkirk,