Once I shared some of my pictures of David Beck’s work with a Professor of Art who took them in and said, “well, its all about the hand.”
I’m still not sure what to make of that response, which had never occurred to me. And admit to some prejudice that thus spoke a photographer specializing in rote prefabricated process work of which it be could said, it’s all about the tongs.
On the other hand, peeking into his studio with a friend who picked up a stick of box wood from a pile, long as my forearm, half as wide and said: he could populate a whole city with this.
I, who have seen the Giant Squid carved from a cherry stone, and Hell housed inside a coconut shell that was purchased on sale at Safeway, agreed.
When I look at the Bug Book, as David referred to it in progress, I wonder if part of it was done in anticipation for his MVSEVM which required the painting of many portraits*, a discipline he had not practiced.
Most of the paintings in the Book of Insects look like studies to me, but I see portraiture on pages 5, 6 and 7. 5 I take to be the study of an eye in profile, it’s in a field of blue I have always wanted, such as a swimming pool. Pages 6 and 7 assay a cricket looking chap. And I like this cricket with it’s grin and hint of soul, malign tho it may be, in a glint of enormously alien eyes. On Page 10 I am somehow reminded of Marge Simpson, a character I know Beck to be familiar with. Then on page 26, are six grub and crawling critters that make no effort to keep their own counsel, I understand them as beings better than I ever imagined. Or do I imagine them as beings better than I ever understand. Finally on page 29 find 4 pictures of the artist’s hands, and so I guess my Art Professor friend was right, and I’ve never taken as much delight in the Adroit as in Beck’s handling.