Artist Profile: David Lee Black

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PASSAGE…

Written by Barbara Lindstrom

Featured image: David Lee Black, Galatea Fine Arts opening, Feb. 4, 2019. Photo: Don Schaefer

Walking into David’s current exhibition at Galatea Fine Art reveals much more than his usual offering of polished photography. With Passage…, the artist asks such fundamental questions as: “What exactly IS this dream between birth and dying…Is death only another moment?” The collection includes ethereal, black and white images of a woman, sheathed in luminous white veils, moving alone in a forest that is bathed in light shining through the trees. We don’t see her face. A muse perhaps? David offers the concept of “Púca”, an Irish folklore shapeshifting creature who acts as a guardian. He suggests he is using “visual metaphors to generate conversations around the transitional unknown.” It’s all a bit of a puzzle for us to contemplate.

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Silently and Light of Foot, vintage rack and point shoes, David Lee Black. Photo: Barbara Lindstrom

A pivotal element in David’s exhibition is an installation of well-worn pink ballet shoes, hung by their long, shining ribbons on a wooden rack. According to David, this installation, called Silently and Light of Foot, “was created from used but beloved pointe shoes from the Island Moving Company ballet dancers of Newport, RI and a pre-civil war era shoe rack from one of Natick’s oldest mills.” The “dead” pointe shoes were given to him by several professional ballet dancers. David comes from a ballet background himself, so his high esteem for dance comes visibly through.

“The marriage of the two beautiful objects (wooden rack and pointe shoes) reflect a subtle story of light of foot from times that were, time that is and time that will be,” David tells us. “The patina of the pointe shoe toes, worn and story-telling, the elegant silken fabric and hand-sewn ribbons and the personal writing on the inside, all come together to reveal a sense of creative process, beauty, pain and a true sense of Time.”

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This is My Body, Kinetic Sculpture, 16 x 7 x 7 in., David Lee Black. Photo: Barbara Lindstrom

The term relevé, coming from ballet’s French origin, can be translated simply as “lifted”. Perhaps “lifted” is one immediate response to David’s work. From the artist statement of Silently and Light of Foot, we learn: “Such are the ways of things with dance and light. A leap of faith, weightlessly, light on one’s feet into the unknown.”

There’s an incandescent tone to be found in this current exhibition. David has artfully handled the often-pensive contemplations with poise and grace. The work is an unabashed invitation to the sublime.

David Lee Black, Passage…, January 2-27, 2019 at Galatea Fine Art, 460B Harrison Avenue, Boston, MA. www.galateafineart.com, (617) 542-1500; Gallery Hours: Wednesday-Sunday 12-5 pm and by appointment.

Visual documentation of the exhibit, made by the artist, can be found at https://youtu.be/fUZeZRZ5nmk. More information on David’s work and exhibits can be found on www.davidleeblack.com

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