David X Levine
David X. Levine (b. 1962) uses a heavy application of colored pencils and ink on paper to create painterly works, a painstaking process that takes tens to hundreds of hours of manual labor depending on the size of the piece, which can range from six inches to five feet.
Levine’s abstract art has vibrant, striking colors, and his unusual method of millions of pencil strokes gives his work a duality of being hard and soft, straight and curved. His illusory forms can seem neither two- nor three-dimensional.
His work has been described as rhythmic, and indeed it is at a fundamental level. Many of his pieces are inspired by specific songs, usually rock and jazz, and the artist has even been commissioned by individuals to create art based on a particular song.
Levine’s art sometimes includes hand-written passages from the songs that inspire them, uniting the sensory experience of listening with the visual language of abstraction.
Many of his works walk the line between figurative and abstract, while his somewhat anthropomorphic figures and the contrast of his bright colors can seem surrealistic. Levine uses a specific brand of paper that will not absorb too much color, so that layers over color can give the paper a certain finish, which he accentuates by buffing the art down to a smooth finish. On some of his art, the wear from buffing is allowed to show.
Levine has had eight solo exhibitions this decade. His work has been shown at the University Museum of Art in Albany, New York, and the Boston Center for the Arts. The artist is based in New York City.