(above: Untitled (Stop Me) 2007, courtesy Armand Bartos)

David Kramer is a dreamer. He is also a storyteller through his paintings, poetry, performances, sculptures, videos and set designs. He is definitely very process oriented and extremely productive. I had the opportunity to meet David at the press preview for his solo exhibition “Seems Like We’ve Been Down This Road Before” curated by Sarah Murkett at Armand Bartos Fine Art. The exhibition spans a 20-year period of Kramer’s career, and are full of symbolic and nostalgic Americana images that are reminiscent of 70s advertisements (e.g. cowboys, Whiskey bottles, a motel sign, and baseball players). A bygone American dream replaced by present day hyper-consumerism, where one rarely gets to reflect idly on life.
It’s impressive that even though he works in a diverse range of disciplines, the underlying tone of voice has a solid consistency that that in itself deserves an applause. The Sky is the Limit seems to be his motto. He goes so far as to hand make the furniture set to go along with the video installation, mimicking a mod sixties environment for the viewer. As Kramer continuously challenges himself as an artist or storyteller, his playful spirit remains (i.e. a classic Neo-Pop blinking sign that flashes the word APPLAUSE).

Although his most recent work is full of wit and charm, it lacks the rebellious quality that is embedded in his earlier collages. I was immediately drawn to David’s earlier more experimental cut and paste collage works which demand closer inspection. With each frame, I move on to the next, like turning the pages in a book, being mesmerized by his choice of words, the casual paste-up of images, hand-letterings, and compositions. It’s remarkable that these older collages are shown along with his more recent finished pieces. As Kramer puts it, he is constantly evolving in his choice of medium, but his process does not change.

Seems Life We’ve Been Down This Road Before is up until July 30, 2010 at Armand Bartos Fine Art.