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What's with the squares?

In 2017, I began integrating square shapes into my figurative work. I was breaking up parts of the surface into squares as a visual device to add some abstraction and dynamism to static representational art. I paint with flat brushes and the fortunate accident of the square shape became a catalyst for experimentation. I started to deconstruct the figure into color tiles, allowing them free movement around the picture plane. The square's suggestion of a 'pixel' was especially relevant given my background in digital art. This marked the beginning of the style I called "Pixelism."

I would 'explode' parts of the figure and the entire picture plane into color squares. Even the negative space would seem more spatial and dynamic. The abstraction of space gradually became a subject of interest and focus for me. My explorations extended to portraying non-visual concepts and phenomena. Conveying the natural world through the constrained form of the square posed a visual and conceptual challenge. I have recently found the unadorned square serves as a minimalist approach to exploring composition and color.


David Bottoms is a painter living and working in Joshua Tree, CA.

He received a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of California Santa Barbara, following a BFA from the University of Oklahoma.

Originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma, he left for California as soon as he could. After graduation and brief residences in LA and NYC, he moved to San Francisco where he fell into the burgeoning tech industry doing art and motion design. Following that career he moved to the High Desert in 2014 and went back to his first love, painting.