It’s no secret that I have a thing for artwork that features swimming and a love for swimming pools. So whenever I come across work, such as David FeBland’s Paintings of Los Angeles, whose work features people swimming, I love to dive – pardon the pun, a little deeper into their work.
David FeBland’s Paintings of Los Angeles
Meet London born, New York based artist David FeBland. The well-traveled, self taught artist is inspired by observations of everyday life as well as his experiences over a wide range of geographical locations.
In his painterly realism style he confronts issues of privacy, conflict and isolation in contemporary urban life.
Many of his works featured in this post depict the city in which I live – Los Angeles. These paintings are from his 2014 solo show “Four Days In LA” at The George Billis Gallery in Los Angeles, about which he says “observation of this city confirms my belief that whatever the nature of our lives in urban areas, most human interaction is universal.” I have also included a few from other locations also feature water, beach and coastal scenes.
Artist Statement for Four Days In LA:
My work explores the ever-modulating space between aspiration and reality. It’s an uncomfortable place for some, that sense of not quite being where or what you think you are – a mental state filled with frisson that approximates the combustible edge of colliding urban neighborhoods, its corporeal equivalent. After observing just such city spaces for many years, I have grown to realize that the concept of an Edge – or more precisely the turmoil where they collide – is as much a state of mind as a physical reality and therefore eminently transportable.
This isn’t a view I have come to quickly. For years, I embraced the boast that “it can only happen here”, as New Yorkers are fond of saying, and, truly, it has always been convenient for me to mine for inspiration from the perch of a densely populated Island, my home in Manhattan, where everything happens at a stone’s throw. Living in New York, I appropriated the common phrase, “living on the edge”, making it a Cardinal Rule of Survival at home but applying a second, more literal, meaning. Surviving here meant staying as close to the water as possible, far from Midtown, thus avoiding the City’s crushing and overheated core. The natural extension of such a strategy was eventually to CROSS the water entirely, leaving the Island to observe new places and subjects. I learned that interpreting the life I lived and observed in New York was certainly expedient but by no means necessary.
When I was given the opportunity to exhibit in Los Angeles, it seemed the perfect time to decisively step across that water, with its implied risk in crossing swift currents, to view an entirely different city and its culture. While the model of life is vastly more expansive than the compact, pedestrianized cities of Europe – or even of Manhattan – my observation of this city confirms my belief that whatever the nature of our lives in urban areas, most human interaction is universal.
In fact, I have always traveled extensively, long before I began making art, and mostly by bicycle. When venturing across the great mass of development we call LA, I adopted the local mode of transport, the automobile, and many of the paintings that came from this experience were made after observing life in a multitude of far-flung neighborhoods accessible in a short time only by traveling that way. The result is a series of paintings that are less direct observations than they are studio inventions that express my interpretation of the unique qualities of light and space I discovered in the context of this city’s culture.
Over a period of 35 years, I’ve often lived as both an insider and outsider, witnessing patterns of human behavior across cultural frontiers. These paintings express both roles for me: a city dweller traveling in a place both familiar and strange.
Other “water” paintings of his of which I am very fond:
There are several of David’s works for sale here
To see more paintings with swimming and water as the subject, visit my Pinterest board