Growing up in rural Colorado, Oregon based artist David Rice forged a special connection with his environment, which he develops in his colorful illustrations. His works focus on themes of nature through figurative portrayals of animals. Rice forges a link between the natural world and what is man-made in his current exhibit, “Two Creeks” at Antler Gallery, which is showing alongside Syd Bee’s “In My Bones”. In a new series of nine acrylic on wood panel paintings, Rice portrays wild animals with unnatural elements. A recurring element is fabric, which appears as clothing fashioned as cloaks that the animals wear, draped over their backs like blankets, or in more subtle forms. In Rice’s painting, “Odd Couple”, for example, the artist pairs a bear with a pronghorn shown standing upright, two Colorado native animals that do not go together. They wear cloaks that are decorated with tribal motifs, providing the couple with a familial bond and individual personalities that is characteristic of humans. In simpler portraits like “Bear” and Owl”, the brightly colored patterns on the fabric are broken down into their most simplest forms – abstract strips of shape and color that interrupt the image. In an interview with the gallery, Rice shared, “The natural world is my greatest inspiration. Like much of the what I have done in the past, this body of work continues to explore themes of nature by personifying its inhabitants and introducing new themes of security, nobility and authority. The focus is on an animal’s individuality, rather than grouping it into a species of non-differentiating members.”
“Two Creeks” by David Rice is now on view at Antler Gallery in Portland, Oregon through July 27th.