David Wheeler’s paintings have consistently explored his relationship and fascination with the urban environment. In the early 2000s, Wheeler took a metaphysical realist approach to his practice which consisted of two large projects over a period of approximately 6 years resulting in two subsequent solo exhibitions. Wheeler then reassessed his approach to painting feeling a need to extend and develop a more natural language of painting, one which spoke of the here and now, while still being grounded in the rich history of the European realist tradition. While studying for his MA Wheeler was heavily influenced by contemporary (Hyperrealist) painters such as Clive Head and Steve Whitehead as well as original Photorealist artists such as Richard Estes and it was at this point that his inherent connection to this style became the only relevant starting point for a new way of working. His need to increasingly tighten his painting technique continues and his need to channel his subject matter purely from observing the environment around him, taking on an objective approach rather than a subjective one progresses with every new painting today.
THE DIVING BELLE OVERLOOKING SOUTH BAY ( MID AFTERNOON, SCARBOROUGH)
"I was very much interested in conveying the heat of the mid day sun in this coastal view, and the vastness of both sky and water. I was initially drawn to the sculptural figure on the plinth which breaks the strong horizontal of the coastline. The final oil painting [pictured above] is also very personal as the main foreground figures are modelled by my father and mother." - David Wheeler
['THE DIVING BELLE OVERLOOKING SOUTH BAY ( MID AFTERNOON, SCARBOROUGH)' Oil on canvas, 48 x 130 cm is currently available]
Work in progress - 'The Uncertainty of Being Certain in Uncertain Times ( Vision in Venice I )'
Study: The Uncertainty of Being Certain in Uncertain Times( Vision in Venice I )
"In my ongoing work I am continually attempting to push my own artistic boundaries by inventing a new approach which combines both fantasy and memory, l don’t want to be predictable and keep repeating myself, what would be the point in that?.. I am also interested in tapping into present issues such as focusing on a current disregard for the wellbeing of the earth and its fragility. I create a visual language centred around the expressive forms molded by the French 18th century sculptor Rodin which seem very relevant to me in todays climate of uncertainty, they twist and contort like crashing waves on a shoreline. I combine these human gestures with various poses of a rearing horse which struggle and transform themselves into solar energy.
I take some of my inspiration from literary sources recently researching the life of Michelangelo and the creation of his Sistine Chapel frescoes. I started experimenting with individual studies in pen, ink and acrylic then progressed onto a large scale drawing. I like to keep my ideas open so the painted version l am working on at the moment has altered further from the drawing in terms of composition, lighting and arrangements of sculptural forms." - David Wheeler.
[The study of 'The Uncertainty of Being Certain in Uncertain Times ( Vision in Venice I )' pictured left and is available in the gallery now, pencil on paper, 142 x 142 cm]
A STROLL BY THE SEINE (LATE AFTERNOON, PARIS)
"There’s quite a lot of human activity taking place in this scene , people walking, talking, fishing and enjoying the spectacle of shimmering afternoon Parisian light on the river in the distance, the multi scattering of forms across the picture plain and the bright highlights they create all add to the atmospheric wonder I was aiming to achieve. I like the complexity of the architectural details on the extreme left contrasting with the natural tree silhouettes on the far right." - David Wheeler.
['A Stroll by the Seine (Late Afternoon, Paris' oil on canvas, 66 x 153 cm is currently available]
The Initial Study
For David, the process of creating a painting in its embryonic stage is one of gathering information from a given location of interest, and experiencing the unique qualities of a place, then documenting this through the photographic process. In the controlled environment of his studio he pieces together the information he has gathered using photographic prints, assembling these creates a partly coherent whole, a process acknowledging the invention of Hockney’s Joiner Works. At this stage photographic distortions exist, he then works out the composition and solves any perspective problems through the process of drawing on a large scale, this involves both free hand drawing and tracing. During this process he may change the angle of a building or introduce an entirely new idea in order to satisfy his own idea of how the scene should appear. The bones and structure of the painting are worked out and finalised.
In order to familiarise himself with the future work involved David completes an initial study which gives him the experience of physically and mentally preparing himself for completing the final larger scale work, any problems he encounters during this stage can therefore be solved. He likes to be in control and prefers not to make any major alterations during the final painting stage as this can interfere with the purity of the image.