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Coping Mechanisms,
Some Novel,
Some Secondhand

24.03 - 12.05.23

If I may, I would ask you to briefly ponder a few ideas. When we consider identity, apply the notion of the self as an aggregate of separate identities. Characters cobbled loosely together from the different performances we present as we move from one societal construct to another. Additionally, how does memory inform, and is in turn informed by this action?

Is our sense of reality trustworthy, or are our surroundings merely an elaborate performance? Studies in quantum physics have revealed that light and matter behave differently depending on whether or not they are being observed, rendering the world around us essentially a facade or something akin to a shifting theater set.

Further, in regards to our relationship with that shifting world around us, consider that in order to navigate daily life, we tend to distill unique objects and experiences down to what are essentially generic symbols or categories (as opposed to things and occurrences novel unto themselves).

For some time now, these are the knotty and intermingling themes I’ve been considering. More pointedly, my work has centered on the rather absurd stances the human psyche gets itself into as it navigates this unsteady ground beneath our collective feet (is it any wonder we experience so many schisms on a societal, spiritual and psychological level?). Thematically, theater and still-life have long been useful lenses through which I process these ideas. Lately, the sometimes numbing, sometimes uplifting power of nostalgia has been a recent focus as well.

In regards to my process, the most important aspect of my practice which may not be evident in photographs is that the work is constructed from hundreds, sometimes thousands of individual pieces of hand-painted paper. Approaches in the studio involve several “off-canvas” processes: glass-plate dry paint transfer, crude monoprint techniques, and the creation of myriad types of painted paper. These techniques often rely upon activities of transference and obfuscation, resulting in imagery that’s compromised or incomplete. Ultimately, these processes are the conduit to my inquiries, implicitly informing the thematic thrust of the work rather than being the product of the reverse. I am not seeking to illustrate that which intrigues me, only to reveal my rather absurd path of inquiry.

When I enter the studio, I try not to begin with an idea as much as I endeavor to arrive at one.

David Hytone, March 4th, 2023
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