Dave McDermott's work surveys the tropes we have inherited throughout our collective history, and translates them into an expansive language of his own making. There are echoes of both Classicism and Dada in McDermott’s work, an assertion that there is ultimately no hierarchical difference between the sublime and the absurd. His paintings are steeped in historical (and art-historical) references, personal histories, literary, cinematic, and cultural references (both high and low), but they eschew didactic or moral positions. Instead McDermott recasts his subjects as stand-ins for ourselves, through which we may gaze into the reflection of our individual and shared consciousness. The interaction of incongruous materials on the canvas is paramount to his work. Fragmented perspectives—obscured by fluctuating vantage points, and jigsaw-like arrangements— shift and roil on the canvas. Intricate yarn patterns, gold leaf, plaster, and expressive brushwork create differentiation between themes, and this commingling of materials imparts the unbound characters and forms with a sense of individual elegance.
Dave McDermott (b. 1974 in Santa Cruz, CA, US) lives and works in Los Angeles, CA (US). He earned his BFA from the Academy of Art College in San Francisco, CA (US), and his MFA from Parsons School of Design in New York, NY (US). Selected solo exhibitions include: The Varieties of Religious Experience, GRIMM, New York, NY (US); West, GRIMM, Amsterdam (NL); The Long Goodbye, GRIMM, New York, NY (US); The Idiot, Brennan & Griffin, New York, NY (US); Goethe’s Girlfriend, Brennan & Griffin, New York, NY (US); The Power and Influence of Joseph Wiseman, GRIMM, Amsterdam (NL); Pleasure Centre, Twig, Brussels (BE); Tot, Duve, Berlin (DE); A Rake’s Progress, GRIMM, Amsterdam (NL); The Modern Temper, Duve, Berlin (DE); Most Of What Follows Is True, Royale, San Francisco, CA (US). Selected group exhibitions include Passing Leap, Hauser & Wirth, New York, NY (US); East Side to the West Side, The FLAG Art Foundation, New York, NY (US); Huidige Zaken, GRIMM, Amsterdam (NL); Beyond the Object, Brand New Gallery, Milan (IT); Black Medicine (Dave McDermott/Nick van Woert), Room East, New York, NY (US); Hi, Low and in Between, curated by Matthew Day Jackson & Simone Subal, GRIMM, Amsterdam (NL). His work is included in various collections such as: Museum Voorlinden, Wassenaar (NL); Beth Rudin DeWoody Collection, West Palm Beach, CA (US); Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara (CA); Zabludowicz Collection, New York, NY (US) and London (UK), among others.