David Modler

David holds a BS and an MEd in Art Education from Towson State University in Towson, MD, as well as an MFA in Drawing and Painting from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA. David is currently an Associate Professor of Art and the Coordinator of Art Education at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, WV.


Maker’s Manifesto

My work utilizes personal iconography to challenge viewer perceptions while exploring the formal and conceptual boundary issues, multiple layers and complex patterns that saturate my everyday life. These self-created and imposed boundaries can define like a map, encompass like a web, and contain like a matrix. I strive to define a working space where the parts can be built-up and layered to make-up and even take-away from the whole; multiple perspectives are negotiated within these areas of fluid shapes and transitioning patterns. As the mark maker I mediate the expansion and simultaneous contraction of these encoded and complex surfaces. The byproducts of these processes bid to cross the line between the purely abstract and the strictly representational, and end up somewhere in between.

I enjoy working on large and small scales, as well as exploring a variety of surface materials. My studio practice utilizes paper, canvas, cardboard, wood, masonite, and the pages of my visual journal. With the visual journal the viewer has a level of control, they can stop and pause and examine imagery in more detail whenever they wish. The intimacy of this activity invites the viewer in, to become a consumer of the book. The only boundaries are the ones the viewer chooses to create for them. The larger work tends to deny this type of consumption. The scale ignites a confrontation with the viewer. When engaged with the work, the viewer is surrounded and consumed by the bombardment of information. Any imposed boundaries that exist are immediately blurred by the overwhelming saturation of color and pattern. For these reasons, I feel everything that is presented and represented in my visual culture gets confronted and intertwined within these various, and sometimes contradictory working spaces.    

I see my work as an ever-evolving process; each site responsive installation, painting and journal volume is a spontaneous document of this daily activity. Leaving evidence of the process, reminders of the journey, and hints about construction are nuances I like to create. I experiment mostly with acrylic paint applications as well as collagraphy, various types of image-transfers and other mixed media printmaking techniques. The appropriating and recontextualizing effects inherent in my paintings, collages and assemblages are approaches I embrace to re-mix my personal icons and enhance my palette. I find within these materials and techniques the capacity to negotiate a space and place that has an origin that is not always easily recognized and the ability to build multi- layered surfaces that exist on the border between the representational and the non-objective.


Visual Journals

Dave Painting.jpg


Dave Exhibit 2.jpg


Want to know more about David and his work as an artist, researcher, and educator? You can check out his Curriculum Vitae.