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Hartnell College Gallery Exhibition to Spotlight David Tomb's View of the Human Form

October 31st, 2006

The work of David Tomb, well-known Bay Area artist, will be shown at the Hartnell College Gallery from Nov. 8 through Dec. 20.

The exhibition, "The Figure Unstudied," examines three aspects of Tomb's 25-year career: figure drawings, mixed media collages, and paintings. All deal with the human image and show Tomb's long fascination with the beauty and complexity of the human form as well as profound issues of personality, identity and emotional states, according to Gary Smith, gallery director.

The Hartnell gallery is located in the Visual Arts Building on the main Hartnell campus, and is open to the public at no charge. Parking is available on campus at a cost of $1.

Gallery hours are: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and and Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m. The gallery will be closed the evening of Nov. 22 and all day Nov. 23.

The exhibition, according to Smith, opens with a large series of rapidly notated drawings of the human form. "A longtime member of a weekly San Francisco drawing group, Tomb prefers to work quickly on poses lasting no longer than six or eight minutes," Smith explains. " He concentrates on line and gesture to capture the essence of the human figure."

The next part of the exhibition contains an ongoing series of near life-size portraits that deal mainly with friends and fellow artists. The close relationship between the artist and subject allows Tomb to develop images of great complexity. He often uses many layers and or varying materials to build up the final piece from multiple drawings that are then cut, spliced and layered to make a finished work that is often not rectangular in format but oddly shaped with extensions and additions. These are more than a record of his observations of the physical form of his subject, but rather his deeper understanding of their personality.

The artist states: "My friends and acquaintances are the people who inhabit my portraits. These friends are brave enough to let me portray and interpret them. A handful of them have sat for 20, 30, 40 pictures over the years. Because these models are not professional, I keep the work session to 3 hours tops. One sitting per picture. I try to maintain caffeinated conversation so that we are both engaged in the process."

The final part of the exhibition is a selection of Tomb's paintings. Again they are portraits, mainly oil on canvas, and again built up with multiple layers, but now with heavy paint.

Of this process Tomb writes: "A key focus is the experience of the portrait process itself and time shared with these friends and the personal interaction between us. Some of these ephemeral aspects, though difficult to convey, are achieved through the binding tension and taut balance of ideas such as movement and stasis, finish and unfinished, color vs. form. When I'm lucky these elements coalesce nicely or not so nicely into a vivid transcription of the times in my studio."

This exhibition was generously sponsored by John Knudsen through the Hartnell College Foundation.

For further information, please call Gary Smith, gallery director and Hartnell art instructor at (831) 755 6791.