“Cradle” Displayed in “Copley to Kentridge: What’s New in the Collection?”

spyker-cradle-kia-posterThe painting, Cradle, joins more than 100 other recently acquired works in “Copley to Kentridge: What’s New in the Collection?” at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts.

"Cradle" at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, David Jay Spyker

“Cradle” in Copley to Kentridge: What’s New in the Collection?

Completed in 2011, Cradle entered the permanent collection of the KIA in 2012. It will hang with works by notable artists such as George Tooker, John Singleton Copley, Robert Mapplethorpe, Jackson Pollock, Stephen Hansen and many others.

"Cradle", 2011, Acrylics on Canvas, 13 x 49 in., by David Jay Spyker

“Cradle”, 2011, Acrylics on Canvas, 13 x 49 in., by David Jay Spyker

In 2012, Cradle won 1st place at the Regional Fine Arts Competition at the Carnegie Center for the Arts in Three Rivers, Michigan. It also took the 2nd place award at the Michiana Annual Artist Competition (10th MAAC) at the Box Factory for the Arts in St. Joseph, Michigan the same year.

"Cradle" at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, David Jay Spyker

To the right is a Robert Mapplethorpe photograph.

Whether it’s a river, one of the Great Lakes, the ocean… water, to me, is an expression of spirituality, healing, and the timeless power of nature. It might represent a journey, or reference change over the course of time. It’s the source of life for all living things, and at the same time can engender something primeval and elicit emotions of unease or even danger.

The title of a piece has always been very important to me. When I choose a title, it comes from my own personal understanding of the painting. The meaning may not be immediately apparent on an outward level, but the title should reference my own thoughts and feelings about the image. Very often, the title will point to several different meanings, and when it does I feel I’m really getting something right.

In Cradle, I’ve used the boat as a metaphor for both the individual and humanity as a whole. The old boat also has the shape of a cradle of sorts. It carries us on the water, which here represents all of life. The water becomes a cradle for the boat, and encompasses birth, life, and death.

Study for Cradle

Study for “Cradle”, 2010, graphite, watercolor, and acrylic on paper, 14 x 16.5 in., by David Jay Spyker

When Cradle was at the 2012 competition in St. Joseph, Michigan, a woman who was part of a creative writing group there came up to me and said they each had to choose a piece in the show and write a story based on it. She chose Cradle, and said she imagined there was a man lying in the boat, that he had been there a long time, and whether he was alive or dead was something of a mystery. I felt Cradle conveyed a sense of strange mystery as well, so hearing what she said was encouraging.

Thoughts and especially emotions are something I’m trying to conjure when someone looks at my art, so people’s interpretations of my paintings – learning what kind of thoughts and feelings they have when they engage with it – that’s always interesting.

Study for Cradle

Study for “Cradle”, 2010, graphite on paper, 14 x 16.5 in., by David Jay Spyker

“Copley to Kentridge: What’s New in the Collection?” is on display 9/14 – 12/1, 2013 at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, 314 S. Park St., Kalamazoo, MI 49007.


2012 Jul 11, 1:25pm
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Cradle Wins 2nd Place at Box Factory for the Arts

The Box Factory for the Arts is an interesting facility housed in (you guessed it) a former box factory in St. Joseph, Michigan. The old brick and heavy timber building houses a number of artist’s studios, features classes, and shows stage events as well as visual art exhibits. The 10th Michiana Annual Artist Competition opened June 15, and David Jay Spyker’s painting in acrylics titled “Cradle” won the second place award. In addition to Cradle, the artist is showing two other pieces – Amputee and Inlet.

"Amputee", 2011, Acrylics on Canvas, 18 x 24 in., by David Jay Spyker

Cradle also recently won first place at this year’s annual competition at the Carnegie Center for the Arts in Three Rivers, Michigan.

"Cradle", 2011, Acrylics on Canvas, 13 x 49 in., by David Jay Spyker

“Cradle”, 2011, Acrylics on Canvas, 13 x 49 in., by David Jay Spyker

After the close of the exhibit at the Box Factory, Cradle will travel back to the Carnegie Center for the Arts to be included in a two month solo exhibition of David Jay Spyker’s work (opening august 19). Once that show closes, the painting will go to its new home at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts where it has been accepted into their permanent collection as a gift of the artist’s father, David John Spyker, in memory of the artist’s mother, Mary Spyker (1945-2011).

The MAAC closes July 27; if you wish to visit the show, the Box Factory for the Arts is located at 1101 Broad St, St Joseph, MI 49085. http://www.boxfactoryforthearts.org


2012 Feb 11, 7:12pm
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“Cradle” Awarded First Place at the Carnegie

At this year’s annual competition at the Carnegie Center for the Arts in Three Rivers, Michigan, the painting “Cradle” was awarded the first place prize. This installation of the exhibition was judged by artists Jim Markle and Dennis O’Mara.

Cradle, by David Jay Spyker, 2011, Acrylics on Canvas, 13 x 49 in.

Cradle was executed in 2011 using acrylics on canvas, and is painted with techniques that could be said to lie somewhere between those of oils and tempera with a bit more slant toward the latter.

CCA Competition, Three Rivers, MI - "Cradle" 2

Images of the opening reception:

CCA-2012-Competition-Opening1

CCA-2012-Competition-Opening 2

Also showing at the annual exhibition are the paintings “Inlet” and “Northbound”.

"Inlet", by David Jay Spyker, 2011, Acrylics on Canvas, 14 x 18 in.

"Inlet", by David Jay Spyker, 2011, Acrylics on Canvas, 14 x 18 in.

The show is open through February 22nd, 2012 at the Carnegie Center for the Arts in Three Rivers, Michigan.


2009 Apr 13, 12:10am
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“Vessels”

I started work on “Vessels” in 2006 not long after completing the painting “Flow”. After a few months I pulled it from the easel to store face-against-the-wall (sometimes you just need to do this with a particular painting), and it wound up staying there for all of 2007, and some of 2008 while I dealt with the worst part of a long term, cornea-scarring injury to my right eye. When I finally put this piece back on the easel I worked at it on and off until it was finally finished in December of 2008. Sometimes a painting just comes together almost as if it’s fulfilling a mystical destiny, and occasionally it’s like pulling the teeth from a running wolf.

"Vessels", 2008, Painting in Acrylics on Canvas, 30" x 42", by David Jay Spyker

"Vessels", 2008, Acrylics on Canvas, 30" x 42", by David Jay Spyker

I have been entranced with waterfall images lately – by “lately” I mean the last few years – and the idea of this space surrounded by an impossibly long and meandering wall of plummeting, rushing water was something I couldn’t get out of my mind. The myriad boats swirling and bobbing about in the swelling waters of this basin symbolize us – humanity as individuals, and as a whole. Each of us is in our own boat (we are the boats), and we all drift about together in the same dangerous and beautiful flow of life.