David Voth's art incorporates wry, bizarre concepts such as a mobile ghetto and a suicide scene that's somehow cheery. Yet bright colors, scribbles and elusive text subvert those oddities, revealing Voth's underlying interest in children's art.
Voth, 40, says that while galleries inspire him to make great art, drawing and coloring with his niece and nephew inform his creative process.
"I work in this loose style to combat perfectionism," says Voth, before adding, "... or maybe it's because I'm such a bad artist."
But an enjoyable multiplicity actually prevails throughout Voth's art. Primitive-looking, swirling shapes, soft bodies and vibrant palettes pull viewers into the large canvases. The pieces work on a concrete level as well, hinting at full narratives.
In "With a Blowtorch Voice, He Said the Harvest," a priest-like figure squeezes a bushel of writhing, red bodies. A plane smoulders in the sky, ready to crash into strange vegetation that a toothy, duck-like creature stands atop, uttering, "A lamb is still a sheep over the cliff."
If nothing else, work from Voth (or, as he prefers to be called, "Davoth") certainly invites imaginative interpretation.
The artist statement he recently distributed at a Denver tattoo parlor/gallery, Kitchen's Ink, explains Voth's motivation as, "The mindless child's scrawling of mustaches and filling in of o's and p's." Voth filled in all the o's and p's throughout the text, in which he mocks typically self-aggrandizing statements from other artists while poking fun at himself:
At this point in the statement, the author switches from third-person self-indulgence to first-hand masturbation ... artists are endlessly egocentric and write these abundantly flattering statements about themselves ...
Along with Kitchen's Ink, Voth is showing at the new Wahsatch Avenue burger joint, the Grill Next Door, and in the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region's downtown window display. The simultaneous shows were a happy coincidence that kept Voth busy throughout April.
COPPeR is where "The Mobile Ghetto Project" appears, comprised of a series of paintings and a base on wheels. Voth explains with clear irony: "If the ghetto offends you, you can move it somewhere else, where it's less offensive."
Voth says people often see that piece as a bus, which may have something to do with his work as a UCCS bus driver. Daily, he makes the circuitous route from off-campus parking on Nevada Avenue to campus. At five-minute stops, Voth sketches and doodles. He later projects those doodles onto canvas and traces them, then paints over the drawings. He often chooses to complete the works with text.
A good example is "Sunny Day Suicides Always Brought a Smile to His Face," a work at the Grill Next Door. The word "end" is written above a directional arrow leading a yellow, boxy person off the edge of a tall building. The figure hovers above a chalk outline of his own body surrounded by blood. But the primary colors take away the subject matter's darkness.
Says Voth, "I like portraying a tongue-and-cheek view of a touchy subject."
Works by Dave Voth
The Grill Next Door, 26A S. Wahsatch Ave.
Open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, and 6-9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Call 634-8438 for more.
102 S. Tejon St., #105
Window display available for viewing 24 hours, daily
757 Santa Fe Drive, Denver
Open noon to 8 p.m., daily. Call 303/573-3791 for more.