David Sheldon received a BFA in Painting from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1984, which included a formative year spent painting in Rome, Italy, as part of RISD’s European Honors Program. As a grad student, Sheldon brought sculpture into the mix. His thesis show for his MFA in 1990, at the University of Maryland, incorporated large-scale, mixed-media paintings, as well as sculptural works.
Sheldon continues to create cutting-edge sculptural works in metal, as well as provocative public art. Modernist sculpture, with its emphasis on the dynamics of form and space, continues to be a major influence in his work. Sheldon endeavors to create what he calls "spatial music".
“It’s very satisfying to be able to use my vision as an artist in contributing something both beautiful and stimulating to a community in the public realm, as well as enrich any space, both public and private. Having lived in the Western North Carolina mountains for many years now, I draw from the power and majesty of the mountains, the star-filled skies at night, and a sense that one is connected, in some way, to this vast, mysterious Universe we live in.”
Sheldon’s approach to landscape painting follows the Modernist example of letting ‘paint be paint’, with a strong, expressive, impasto approach inspired by heroes such as Joan Mitchell and Vincent Van Gogh. His paintings express deeply personal experiences in Nature. He paints what he calls ‘ecstatic moments', focusing on the play between sunlight, color and form in space.
“As far as I’m concerned, there’s really no way to depict the sublime reality of Nature with a traditional painting approach, so I don’t even try. But one can still create a painting that is a compelling experience, in its own right, by expressing, through the paint, the artist’s direct experience of Nature (both inner and outer)- and that’s what I try to do”.
1990 Master of Fine Arts, University of Maryland, College Park, MD.
1984 BFA in Painting, RISD