David Salle

(Norman, Oklahoma, 1952 - )

North America, American

David Salle is best known for his bold postmodern paintings combining figuration with a varied pictorial language of multi-layered imagery. He received his BFA and MFA from the California Institute of the Arts, where he studied under John Baldessari. Salle’s early work in photography and mixed media already show evidence of an interest in the underlying meanings of images in popular culture. In 1979, he begins utilizing layered images, a key strategy in virtually all his subsequent paintings.

Salle’s works are often emotionally charged; regret, hope and pessimism are all frequent subjects of his paintings. Very often Salle employs a diptych or triptych format to maximize ambiguity in his work, suggesting numerous and contradictory solutions to unlocking the meaning of his work. Bold colors, lines, text and even found objects create dynamic works combining such art historical sources as the classical nude with the dramatic power of pop culture and literary references.

Salle also turned his hand to set and costume design, and to directing mainstream cinema. In 1986 Salle received a Guggenheim Fellowship for theater design, and in 1995 he directed the feature film, ‘Search and Destroy’, starring Christopher Walken. He is a long time collaborator with the choreographer Karole Armitage, designing sets and costumes for many of her ballets. Major exhibitions of his work have taken place at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the Netherlands; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Castello di Rivoli, Torino, Italy, and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain.

New York, United States

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