David Owen Hastings
I create organic abstractions, exploring patterns, shapes, colors and textures I see in nature. I contrast two ways of seeing, one macro and one micro, integrating patterns that are similar to both. Stepping back, I take
in the shapes of leaves, water, rocks and sand, reinterpreting them as patterns and rhythms. Zooming in, as with a microscope, I explore the sculptural aspect of unicellular creatures. The simple organic structures
of microorganisms appear as recurring elements in my work. I find in them a peaceful, inherent serenity. Using their shapes as a “figure,” I then develop themes and variations through repetition and abstraction.
Ideally, I want to create a sense of peace, allowing the viewer to gaze restfully at the work, slowing the pulse,
calming the heart.
I am a printmaker without a press. Monotype is my primary technique: I paint on a smooth surface (plastic printing plate), and then transfer the painted image to very thin paper by rubbing or rolling the back of the paper by hand to transfer the image. I also block print images and shapes onto my monotype prints, and sometimes incorporate my own original photographic imagery. I then add linear elements to the prints by stitching them with a sewing machine, often in sinuous patterns like reeds, water, muscle fibers or cells. Machine stitching adds a rhythmic, tactile layer to my work; the repetitive dashed line of stitching melds the layers together visually, and is a gestural element as well. Because of the stitching, people often think my work is fabric, but it is all paper. Using acrylic media, I collage layer upon layer of my prints onto canvases, wood panels or heavy paper, balancing transparency and opacity, building up a thick, wax-like surface that is similar to encaustic (wax painting). The work has a depth quality that is like looking up through a canopy of trees, down through the surface of water to the life below, or changing focus while looking through a microscope at cellular material.