Painter David Cheifetz approaches his subjects — primarily still life but also cityscape and figurative— with enthusiastic use of value, color contrasts and painterly texture.
You may have seen still life by various artists, notably David Leffel and some of his students, in which objects are made luminous by carrying their dominant color into the background surrounding the edges of the object, and reflecting it into adjacent objects. Often this effect is accented by bleaching out the highlights on the object as though it were preternaturally reflective of color and light.
Cheifetz has taken this approach and run with it, exaggerating the effect in playful and imaginative ways, creating theatrically dramatic focus, and pulling your eye to his compositions’ primary point of interest with almost irresistible force.
As overt and willful as this can get, it’s worth noting that his secondary subjects are usually deftly and sensitively rendered — not neglected, simply assigned to an important supporting role.
He also plays with other means of focusing and directing the viewer’s gaze, at times in just the opposite direction, with dark objects set against light backgrounds in which the value contrasts have been reduced.
Though obviously a careful observer of nature, Cheifetz feels unrestrained by his subjects, jumping off into invention and caprice with abandon.
Through all of his work the feeling of paint texture is always present, viscerally thick and rich with ridges and bumps that catch and scatter both bright and subtle light.
On his website, Cheifetz has made a considerable sampling of his work available. Note that the extensive archive consists of multiple pages accessed by links at the bottom of the page.
In some cases, look on the image detail page for text links under the image to “View Larger Image” (clicking on the image itself brings up a smaller one, in that nonsensical way to which older FASO artist websites are prone). Look also for links to articles in his newsletter, in which he steps through the process of creating that particular painting. Sometimes these are animated slideshows.
You can also find an archive of his newsletter here, and a link to iTunes podcasts in which he discusses painting process and technique.
As you go back through his extensive archive of older work, you will find a variation in style, often in a more restrained and traditional approach, but with attention to the same concerns for value and color relationships that are at play in his more recent work.
In addition, Cheifetz has a portfolio on deviantART.
The work of David Cheifetz is currently on view in a solo show at the RS Hanna Gallery in Fredericksburg, TX until November 1, 2014. There is a preview of the show on the gallery’s site and also on the artist’s own website.
There is a two page article on Cheifetz in the October 2014 issue of American Art Collector.