David Skillicorn


David Skillicorn
Mixed Media

David Skillicorn, based in New York and Massachusetts, has been creating luminous abstract paintings for over twenty years. He explores complex spatial and color relationships through the use of texture, organic line, and sensuous fields of color. In his Della Terra paintings, he often mixes in elements of the physical landscape directly into the paint — sand, stone dust, field grasses, river water, bits of flora — infusing the work with the presence of the natural world. In mixed media works on canvas, Skillicorn creates sophisticated, intuitive paintings alive with surface texture, lush paint of vibrant colors in bold strokes over atmospheric passages.

David Skillicorn’s life as a visual artist began with extensive work with video in the late 1970’s, leading to an earlier career as a multiple Emmy award-winning documentary filmmaker. His visual vocabulary deepened through those years while filming more than a million images across a wide spectrum of cultures and landscapes in more than forty countries. His intensive experiences filming the textures of culture, color and landscape throughout the world have had a lasting impact on his visual sensibilities and inform the unique visual language he has brought to his work as an abstract painter for the past twenty years.

Skillicorn shows his work regularly at galleries on both coasts, and has exhibited in a number of solo and juried group exhibitions, including at the Rose Museum Brandeis University, Tang Art Museum, Saratoga Spring, NY, Attleboro Art Museum, Attleboro, MA, Visual Arts Umass Dartmouth, Danforth Art Museum, Framingham, MA, Fitchburg Art Museum, Fitchburg, MA. His paintings are part of numerous public and private collections throughout the country, including Johns Hopkins, Regent Hotel, Intel, Chase Bank and many others.

Artist Statement

“Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.” – Mary Oliver

I am drawn to abstract painting because it is the most challenging, holds the most mystery for me, and in the end, the most magic. My paintings are not “about” something, or “art objects” per se, as much as they are an opportunity to set in motion the imagination and trigger an emotional response. In the simplest terms, the paintings are a celebration of pure texture and color.

I believe that through focused intensive engagement while making a painting, it is possible to imbibe it somehow with a residue of spirit, an intangible essence that gives the work a sense of presence and freedom. This can be felt by a sensitive viewer and moves the work toward the realm of art, as opposed to decoration or craft. It’s a prospect worth pursuing with each and every painting.

My process is one of applying paint liberally, carving and digging back into it, and building up layers. I often mix in elements of the physical landscape directly into the paint — sand, stone dust, field grasses, river water, bits of flora — infusing the work with the presence of the natural world. The whole time I am utterly engaged with the painting and letting my intuition be the primary driving force, although I am also using my training and experience to make hundreds and hundreds of decisions along the way as well. Freedom is the key.

Through this process of application and excavation I would say that I “find” the painting as much as “make” it. I know the work is done when I stand back and it hits me all at once as being resolved visually and having a strong sense of presence about it. In the end, I hope the work conveys something that is not so much experienced with the mind, as felt with the body… in an intimate, visceral, and contemplative way.