David Kapp is best known for his paintings of the contemporary urban landscape. His paintings have been described by Ken Johnson in The New York Times as having “ a dreamy, mildly hallucinatory air and a mood of Hopperesque melancholy,” reflecting the harsh kinetic beauty of the city itself.
Each Kapp painting is a microcosm of the larger city it represents, like a snapshot capturing a passing moment too rich for the eye to devour and decode in an instant.
His work, both in painting and collage, depicts the movement , energy and life of the city. Kapp’s paintings are composed and controlled despite their chaos of color and loose brushwork. Much like the chaos of urban areas, his brush, plethora of colors and crowded scenes push the notion of chaos without devolving into it.
The format tends to be vertical or square and the horizon line itself has been pushed beyond the edge of the canvas.
His paintings have been described as having “ the feeling of silence that follows traffic noise, or the emotional distance of standing behind plate glass.”
Writing in the opening text of “ Working the Grid “, Robert G. Edelman observes, “ Kapp’s struggle to get at what is essential to and in our collective environment and make it palpable is the magic that underlies these otherwise familiar city scenes. The urban landscape is seen as a microcosm of human endeavor, ambition, frustration and hope, but also as the substance for a painter to explore the nuances of his medium, and his ability to translate and transform his world into paint.”
David Kapp was born in NYC in 1953. He attended Walden School, Windham College (BFA, 1974), and Queens College (MFA, 1978 ). He is the recipient of a Creative Artists Public Service Fellowship in Painting ( 1982 ) and the Rosenthal Foundation Award from The American Academy and National Institute of Arts and Letters ( 1985). His work can be found in museums and public collections throughout the United States and Europe, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas; the North Carolina Museum, Raleigh, NC; and the Foundation Paribas, Paris, France.