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DAVID JOHN ATTYAH

DRAWING, PRINTMAKING, CONTEMPORARY PRACTICES

 

Dear friends,

Welcome to my web archive, which documents my many studio projects in drawing, printmaking, and contemporary practices.  My practice always floats among ideas of embodiment, attraction, alterity, alienation and deep internal psychology.  For those who know me, you'll see my ongoing questions about (anti-) masculinity and experiences with chronic pain.  There are aspects of ethics and the social construction of identity throughout.  

Rather than an impersonal grid of artworks, the site is organized as a visual and textual experience, broken into three acts.  

hank you for the generosity of your attention.  dja

Act One


Act One


ACT ONE: FrayeD

•••

 

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Doubting


Doubting


DOUBTING

"DOUBTING," FULL INSTALLATION, AT THE LOS ANGELES LGBT CENTER

Raw wood and broken charcoal stick
The size of my body, the length of my reach
Paired male figures — twins, friends, fathers and sons, shadows or lovers
Enter fragments of lost religion — broken halos or tongues of fire
Spinal cords in Renaissance suspension, floating or falling in space
Gazing at Caravaggio’s “The Incredulity of St. Thomas”
Man pointing
An iconic Thomas inserts his finger deeply into the scarred abdomen of resurrected Christ

Doubting - the figures are unclear about where everyone is pointing

A mirror to the ambiguity of homoeroticism, where objects of love and devotion are secret, tacit or implied, but rarely specified.
 

DOUBTING(FLOATING)

DYPDICHT FROM "DOUBTING"    CLICK TO ENLARGE

"DOUBTING," INSTALLATION VIEW     CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

DOUBTING (HOLDING)

 

DOUBTING (BINDING)

 

DOUBTING (POINTING)

"DOUBTING (REACHING)," MIXED MEDIA ON PANEL    CLICK TO ENLARGE

 
 
 
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Relicario


Relicario


RELICARIO

Wax and clay figurines
Fallen monuments or lifeless marionettes?
Broken little shards, cracked
Statues in heat
Frozen, relics, indexed under glass
Grandeur against decline
Decline vanquishes

FROM "RELICARIO," WAX, PLASTER, ACRYLIC, CLAY    CLICK TO ENLARGE

Reliquary is a series of photographs of handmade figurines, fabricated in plaster, wax, clay, paper, wood, and metal. Inspiration for the work draws from the idealized male form in western art history. Some muscular, some emaciated, all moving in classical gestures, the figurines were formed, then degraded, fragmented, and broken. Against the art historical ideal of the male hero, this work is a meditation on masculine vulnerability, embodiment, and fragility.

 
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Eros in Ruin


Eros in Ruin


EROS IN RUIN

Eros in Ruin is a collection of projects - watercolors, drawings, photographs, sculptures - instigated by research of the antiquities of ancient Greece. A visual travel journal of sacred sites, the works emphasize the disturbing mix of grandeur and decay that marks Athens, Delphi, and Delos, and toys with pre-Christian images of heroism and the male ideal. The paintings are presented adjacent to Wax and Skin and statues from Reliquary, both introducing intimacy into otherwise stoic sculptural forms.

ELEMENTS FROM "ZEUS IN RUIN," SCULPTURE, PHOTOGRAPHY, 12 X 9 IN EACH ELEMENT      CLICK TO ENLARGE

ELEMENTS FROM "ZEUS IN RUIN," WATERCOLOR, 12 X 9 IN EACH ELEMENT      CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

Sarx/Thanatos is an installation of travel drawings and inset photographs, organized around a “legend” that features the greek words eros (desire), thanatos (death drive), sarx (body), and logos (word/law). These conceptswere central to Sigmund Freud’s evolving conjectures about personality, and are guiding themes for Attyah’s artwork. Map pins index drawings and locations against these four poles, graphing the interaction of ideas, libido, flesh, and decay.

ELEMENTS FROM SARX/THANATOS," DRAWING, COLLAGE, 5 X 7 EACH ELEMENT    CLICK TO ENLARGE

Zeus in Ruin is an installation of gesture drawings which rely on unplanned, automatic drawing. The central image is kinetic energy springing from the forehead of various figures, referring (in contradiction) both to Zeus’s violent bearing of Athena and to tranquil light emanating from the seventh chakra.

"ZEUS IN RUIN," WALL INSTALLATION OF TWO BANNER DRWINGS AND FIVE PANEL DRAWINGS, 18 FT X 15 FT     CLICK TO ENLARGE

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Doors


Doors


DOORS

DOORS, MIXED MEDIA ON PANEL    CLICK TO ENLARGE

Doors is a series of drawings featuring male figures, abstract mark- making, and cut paper. The piece is inspired by the Greek Orthodox convention of the iconostas, rows of gold-gilt paintings of saints, which divide the (secular) congregation from the (divine) altar. In this artwork, dreaming figures interact with each other and the viewer, rendered on inexpensive, hollow-core doors - finger marks and scratches left intact. Rather than depicting archetypal portraits of the divine, The Doors are projections of internal fears and longings, expressed through fractured strokes and forms.

DETAIL FROM "DOORS," CHARCOAL, INK ON PANEL

 

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Humerus


Humerus


HUMERUS

Ribbons and bows cinched over the hotspot,
the head of the humerus.
The muscle fibers of the biceps and triceps immobilized by toughened fascia, locked, scarred, adhered.
The illogic of the myo-fascial, psycho-social, somatic.
Entrapped, compressed spaces, rust in the thorax, choked, triggered.
For a long time no breath into the upper lungs.
Powdered glass.
Survive it with a sense of humor.

The body’s innate ability to harass itself, comfort itself.

CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

END ACT ONE