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Mugna Art Gallery is a platform dedicated to promoting local culture and fostering creativity through supporting emerging and undiscovered artists, offering a space for artistic expression and interaction with the community and wider audiences.

February 24 - March 24, 2024

Palimpsest: Memento Mori/Memento Vivere

David Loew
Mugna Gallery
Valencia, Negros Oriental, Philippines

About

Unearthing seems to be the overall feeling when one encounters David Loew’s current works.

Shifting remarkedly from and between various media throughout the years, what remains is his predisposition towards layers: be it facades, backgrounds, piles, or stories. Every work that is made in his studio is a geological record of time, location and experience.

In the exhibition Palimpsest: Memento Mori/Memento Vivere, Loew draws from his career as a photographer, graphic designer, and painter.

Family is the first layer, or rather the base, the canvas if you will. Both parents being artists, and creativity valued highly, Loew has always seen himself as an artist. Over the years, he will be both creator, archaeologist and historian of his career. A key lesson he learned from this phase in his life is finding and appreciating art in anything and everything, throughout nature.

FInishing art school, a plethora of inspiration was added. From Hopper to Magritte, Bosch to Bruegel, from the Twilight Zone to the Outer Limits, even the Impressionists made an impression on Loew, but given his exploratory nature, his learnings from this period would also take a back seat as travelling around the world makes its mark.

Marks, traces, remnants; a palimpsest is the image that we see after countless layers of text, paint, or anything that has affected a surface has been peeled away, scraped off — but never completely erasing the previous.

Loew lived in Europe for some time, and then Shanghai, China, before finding himself in the City of Gentle People, Dumaguete, Philippines. Prior to this, he amassed a significant professional portfolio as a photographer and graphic designer, working on movies, designing book covers, among others. At this point, he has been making works that are reactions to what he has lived. As an artist, his life is the main canvas, the world his palette. We are looking at the visible remnants of history — his story. His works in recent years, abstractions in form, are also translations of the figuration in his past. Photographs layered over with paint, paint layered over with gestures, the artist’s hand manifests.

Although seemingly indirect, this exercise of creation, feeling, and waiting is also an exercise in memory. Loew draws from, digs up all of his experiences that he can, but inevitably he works towards an understanding of the human condition: impermanence.

We are all subject to continuous growth and entropy, we age, our cells wither: remember that we must die. Yet this adage is juxtaposed with a simple reminder: remember to live. For it is in a life lived that our mortality has meaning.

Art is an exploration of our relationship with the world. All an artist can offer is his own unique perspective. I see the world both through the lens of a camera and the eye of a painter. The world is my palette. I love its textures, the tangled roots of an ancient tree, the complexity and color of rusted metal, or the peeling paint on an abandoned church wall.

I have always been fascinated by the natural beauty, eventual decay and the rich texture of the world around me. Everything we touch becomes an artifact of our life, a piece of our personal history.
As an artist I am in fact a historian of my own life experience and the world around me. In my work I seek to explore the relationship between the world we live in and the world we have left behind moment by moment. Shards of pottery dug up after a thousand years reflect a moment in some person’s life, now long forgotten.

I am often asked how long I’ve been making art. And my answer is always the same: there was never a time that I didn’t identify as an artist.

I’ve come to believe that the idea of being an “Artist” is a social construct, a romantic invention, an identity. But at some point it is also a choice, one that places demands on us and challenges us. As we answer those challenges we get better at what we do, stronger, sharper, more sensitive, more creative. At the same time not terribly different from people who choose to be executives, chefs, policemen or teachers.

In my life, I’ve been a fine art painter, illustrator, graphic designer, commercial photographer, a product designer, publisher, writer, fine art photographer and finally a digital artist and wet media artist. I have come to terms with the conflict between fine art and commercial art. The way I’ve answered that question is by asking myself, who is the client, am I doing this work for myself, or someone else, it’s that simple, and both are ok.

—–

Chicago-born David Loew is an accomplished artist and photographer. He has had numerous solo exhibitions as well as group show participations throughout the United States, Europe, China, and the Philippines. Loew has worked with companies as varied as Playboy magazine, HBO and Miramax Films; but he is best known in the publishing industry, where as a professional graphic artist and digital illustrator, he has created cover art for over 250 titles, including those by prominent authors such as Stephen King, Joyce Carol Oates, Mary Higgins Clark, Ruth Rendell, Len Deighton and Derek Van Arman. He lives and works in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental.

Unearthing seems to be the overall feeling when one encounters David Loew’s current works.

Shifting remarkedly from and between various media throughout the years, what remains is his predisposition towards layers: be it facades, backgrounds, piles, or stories. Every work that is made in his studio is a geological record of time, location and experience.

In the exhibition Palimpsest: Memento Mori/Memento Vivere, Loew draws from his career as a photographer, graphic designer, and painter.

Family is the first layer, or rather the base, the canvas if you will. Both parents being artists, and creativity valued highly, Loew has always seen himself as an artist. Over the years, he will be both creator, archaeologist and historian of his career. A key lesson he learned from this phase in his life is finding and appreciating art in anything and everything, throughout nature.

FInishing art school, a plethora of inspiration was added. From Hopper to Magritte, Bosch to Bruegel, from the Twilight Zone to the Outer Limits, even the Impressionists made an impression on Loew, but given his exploratory nature, his learnings from this period would also take a back seat as travelling around the world makes its mark.

Marks, traces, remnants; a palimpsest is the image that we see after countless layers of text, paint, or anything that has affected a surface has been peeled away, scraped off — but never completely erasing the previous.

Loew lived in Europe for some time, and then Shanghai, China, before finding himself in the City of Gentle People, Dumaguete, Philippines. Prior to this, he amassed a significant professional portfolio as a photographer and graphic designer, working on movies, designing book covers, among others. At this point, he has been making works that are reactions to what he has lived. As an artist, his life is the main canvas, the world his palette. We are looking at the visible remnants of history — his story. His works in recent years, abstractions in form, are also translations of the figuration in his past. Photographs layered over with paint, paint layered over with gestures, the artist’s hand manifests.

Although seemingly indirect, this exercise of creation, feeling, and waiting is also an exercise in memory. Loew draws from, digs up all of his experiences that he can, but inevitably he works towards an understanding of the human condition: impermanence.

We are all subject to continuous growth and entropy, we age, our cells wither: remember that we must die. Yet this adage is juxtaposed with a simple reminder: remember to live. For it is in a life lived that our mortality has meaning.

Art is an exploration of our relationship with the world. All an artist can offer is his own unique perspective. I see the world both through the lens of a camera and the eye of a painter. The world is my palette. I love its textures, the tangled roots of an ancient tree, the complexity and color of rusted metal, or the peeling paint on an abandoned church wall.

I have always been fascinated by the natural beauty, eventual decay and the rich texture of the world around me. Everything we touch becomes an artifact of our life, a piece of our personal history.
As an artist I am in fact a historian of my own life experience and the world around me. In my work I seek to explore the relationship between the world we live in and the world we have left behind moment by moment. Shards of pottery dug up after a thousand years reflect a moment in some person’s life, now long forgotten.

I am often asked how long I’ve been making art. And my answer is always the same: there was never a time that I didn’t identify as an artist.

I’ve come to believe that the idea of being an “Artist” is a social construct, a romantic invention, an identity. But at some point it is also a choice, one that places demands on us and challenges us. As we answer those challenges we get better at what we do, stronger, sharper, more sensitive, more creative. At the same time not terribly different from people who choose to be executives, chefs, policemen or teachers.

In my life, I’ve been a fine art painter, illustrator, graphic designer, commercial photographer, a product designer, publisher, writer, fine art photographer and finally a digital artist and wet media artist. I have come to terms with the conflict between fine art and commercial art. The way I’ve answered that question is by asking myself, who is the client, am I doing this work for myself, or someone else, it’s that simple, and both are ok.

—–

Chicago-born David Loew is an accomplished artist and photographer. He has had numerous solo exhibitions as well as group show participations throughout the United States, Europe, China, and the Philippines. Loew has worked with companies as varied as Playboy magazine, HBO and Miramax Films; but he is best known in the publishing industry, where as a professional graphic artist and digital illustrator, he has created cover art for over 250 titles, including those by prominent authors such as Stephen King, Joyce Carol Oates, Mary Higgins Clark, Ruth Rendell, Len Deighton and Derek Van Arman. He lives and works in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental.

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