Finding hidden beauty
This story was featured in the July 2015 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art July 2015 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!
Loose yet precise. Chaotic yet structured. Simple yet dramatic. Such are the words that artist David Cheifetz chooses to describe his painting style. And he is much less concerned with what he paints than how he paints it.
This month Cheifetz’s evocative still lifes are on view in a group show titled The Object of Objects, opening on July 24 at Gallery 1261 in Denver, CO. For the past several years the artist has chalked up a number of awards, including a Best of Show in February in the BoldBrush monthly online painting competition.
A former architect, Cheifetz studied in Rome and recalls that he was immediately drawn to the high drama of Baroque art, including sculptures by Bernini. Later, when taking classes at the Schuler School of Fine Arts in Baltimore, MD, his technical drawing skills gleaned from his time as an architect gave him a solid foundation as he delved into oil painting. Cheifetz says his background allowed him to focus in classes on what he considered his weaknesses—color and value. He had already mastered lessons in proportion and perspective.
These days, to keep his works fresh, the Washington artist says he rotates through many genres—still life, landscape, urbanscape, and figurative. But for him the still-life genre holds a special allure because it provides him “limitless freedom” as an artist. “With the still life there is more room for the creation and interpretation of beauty,” Cheifetz says. “And it offers the artist utter and complete control over the subject and the studio atmosphere. There is freedom in that, and it suits me.”
One element remains constant in the artist’s work: his quest to convey the hidden beauty in everyday objects, which he accomplishes through expressive paint application that evokes both an old master’s sensibility and a contemporary style. “What inspires me to paint something is the opportunity to create something out of the ordinary,” Cheifetz says. “I look for something beautiful that I can exaggerate in the extreme and draw focus to it. I want the viewer to see what I envision in my mind.” —Bonnie Gangelhoff
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