Floral food

David Gracie, “Cupcake” Oil on Maple Plywood, 21” x 26,” 2017

I love a cupcake as an intellectually weightless subject. Make of it what you will, the less I mess with it the better off I am, both the cupcake itself and its representation. Its pleats and creases and folds crumple and smear on the trip home if you hit a couple potholes. It pretends to be the perfect little stupa of pastries, but touch it the wrong way and you start to ruin it. Like paint itself sometimes. David Gracie’s inverted cupcake seems fraught and decadent. It could be growing from a seed or spore. It appears to be floating in a dank sylvan setting, like a skunk cabbage or an inside-out toadstool, wearing its gills as a cap, but with only the smallest of stems, holding it up or maybe down. Is it levitating? The surreal aura of the scene would seem to allow it. I doubt that it would prove fruitful to spoil the mystery by asking why. It is on view at Exeter Gallery in Baltimore, which opened its doors last fall and has begun showing the work of artists as different as Gideon Bok and Erin Raedeke. I wish I’d made the trip to see the show of Paul Manlove’s paintings. (Guys, build a website. If there is one, Google is not aware.)

In a time when art galleries seemed besieged by an economy that favors the very rich, and the very famous, who all seem to prefer to show, buy and sell at art fairs–rather than the humble and traditional gallery space–you have to admire anyone intrepid enough to open a new one for business. With all the shops that keep closing their doors, others continue to pop up. Like our already bruised cupcake rising backward toward the blue sky whose cool light it reflects toward the viewer. Matt Klos, a fellow exhibitor at Oxford Gallery here in Rochester, appears to be curating shows at Exeter, owned by Noe & Amanda Detore. He’s the right guy for the job. It’s sure to be another outlet for the “perceptual painters” and maybe others (too early to tell) who deserve more recognition. The work they’ve shown so far has been fascinating and a little strange, and this new show seems to fit right in.
Here is the emailed invitation to the opening on May 12, 6-9 p.m. from Matt:

David Gracie is a painter of slow meditative works. As mechanical as his process of painting may be it is tempered by his empathy, humor, and curiosity in looking. This exhibition of Gracie’s work from over the past fifteen years marks a homecoming for the artist who was born and raised in Baltimore.

David Gracie was born in Baltimore, MD in 1978. He received his MFA from Northwestern University in 2004 and his BFA from the Hartford Art School in 2000. He has been included in exhibitions at The Museum of Nebraska Art, NE (’17), Hartford Art School, CT (‘17 and ‘09), The Suburban, WI (‘16 and ‘15), Mt Airy Contemporary, PA (‘15), The University Club, IL (‘13), The University of Missouri, MO (‘12), The Hyde Park Art Center, IL (‘11), Colorado State, Pueblo, CO (‘10), The National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution, DC (‘10), Bowery Gallery, NY (‘08), Mary and Leigh Block Museum, IL (‘06), and Fort Wayne Museum, IN (‘06). David was awarded a Nebraska Arts Council Merit Award and the Lincoln Mayor’s Kimmel Foundation Award in 2016. David is currently an Associate Professor of Art, Elder Gallery Director and Chair of the Art Department at Nebraska Wesleyan University.

Exeter Gallery is committed to the notion that a gallery is a meeting place for ideas and discourse. Please join us at the opening reception or email exeter.gallery@gmail.com to make an appointment to view this exhibition. Gallery open by appointment only.

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