Easter Island I, 1973, Oil on canvas, 60 x 60 in., Collection of Ringling College of Art + Design, Photo: Rich Schineller
David Budd
Easter Island I
1973
Oil on canvas
60 x 60 in.

Collection of Ringling College of Art and Design
Photo: Rich Schineller

David Budd: Motion Within Stillness

October 9 - March 20, 2022

All artists have their own path to becoming. Some artists are born into the pursuit, while others work vigorously over their lifetime to procure their skills. And then there are those who come to be artists through a sort of destiny, without formal training, propelled by a passionate curiosity for the possibilities of art making—David Budd (1927-1991, Florida) was one of them.

Living in Sarasota in the early 1950s and new to painting, Budd was set on the course of abstraction after viewing Hans Namuth’s film, Jackson Pollock 51. The film uncovered the acclaimed artist’s approach to making—all experienced from a canvas-eye view. Budd’s experience of Pollock’s process, which was spontaneous, gestural, and physical, became critical to his understanding of an artist’s relationship to their materials.

Only three years after this initial observation, Budd was living and working in New York amongst Pollock and other Abstract Expressionists. Budd’s fascination with the painting medium led to continuous evolutions of his practice—from wide-sweeping motions to short strokes; multi-colored to black-and-white. While other Abstract Expressionist artists posited themselves and their work as grandiose and heroic, Budd’s intentions were self-effacing and focused on the potential and materiality of the paint itself—its richness, viscosity, versatility, and energy.
Budd’s experiments with different abstract styles led him to abandon the paint brush altogether. In the late 1950s, Budd developed his signature approach, where he thickly applied paint directly to the canvas in controlled motions with a palette knife. The palette knife was Budd’s ultimate agent. Not only did he use it to mix paint, often consumingly for days until he achieved the correct color and consistency, but also to create highly textured surfaces through the tool’s repetitive touch.

Budd continued to paint in this manner until he departed for Paris in 1960, only to revive it once back in New York in 1968. Shortly after his return, Budd created his most significant and celebrated works, such as the Easter Island series. These paintings reference innovations in Budd’s practice, including his newly cultivated interest in landscape and interplay of color, texture, and line. Paired with monochromatic works of the same period, Motion Within Stillness offers a meditation on the rhythm, chroma, and presence of these paintings.

This exhibition is made possible, in part, with generous support from:
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ABOUT THE ARTIST

David Budd

David Budd

1927 - 1991

David Budd was born in St. Petersburg, Florida near Coffee Pot Bayou, a historic location in the city that is also a title of a painting included in the exhibition. In 1948, Budd attended Ringling College of Art and Design (then Ringling School of Art) to study interior design. After being exposed to the artist community in Sarasota, he decided to pursue a career as a painter. Budd returned to Sarasota throughout his life before settling here in 1988. Sarasota was important to Budd and inspired many of his works, including the painting Turtle Beach, which can be experienced in the exhibition.

PROGRAMS

David Budd, Easter Island I, 1973, Oil on canvas, 60 x 60 in., Collection of Ringling College of Art + Design, Photo: Rich Schineller
David Budd, Easter Island I, 1973
Oil on canvas
60 x 60 in.

Collection of Ringling College of Art and Design
Photo: Rich Schineller

CURATOR TALK

David Budd: Motion Within Stillness

Emory Conetta and Tim Jaeger

Thursday, November 4
6pm

Free to Museum Members
Free to Ringling College Students
Free to Cross College Alliance
$20 Not-Yet Members
Co-curators Emory Conetta and Tim Jaeger will speak about David Budd’s unique approach to abstract painting and the various evolutions of this painting technique the artist explored in the 1970s.