Wonder Ball | David Huffman


David Huffman
Born 1963, Berkeley, California
Lives and works in Oakland, California

Ouroboros, 2007
Aquatint, spitbite, sugarlift, and softground etching with black light – sensitive areas on Somerset white paper
46 ½ x 36 inches
Trial Proof C
Courtesy of the artist and Paulson Bott Press, Berkeley, California
Retail Price: $2,500

In his work, Oakland-based David Huffman creates psychological worlds that meld science fiction, socio-political history, and personal identity though narrative, symbolic compositions.  He frequently mines stereotypes and icons of African American experience; basketballs and minstrel figures in astronaut uniforms, or “traumanauts,” are recurrent motifs. Ouroboros (2007) is filled with symbols of personal resonance for the artist, such as the image of a liquor store near his studio; Jackson Pollock’s studio, a space Huffman reveres as “culturally sacred”; and a space marked by a baobab tree, a gathering place in certain African rituals. Huffman is as inspired by comic books and vernacular culture—areas of the Pollock cabin windows glow under black light—as he is by art-historical precedents. BBQ sauce, mixed into areas of printed wash, nods both to Ed Ruscha’s experiments with edible “inks,” and to stereotypical signifiers of African American experience. Huffman combines languages of abstraction and figuration, using aquatint wash to create a tenuous ground, or “mental mist,” as he says, in which the symbolic narrative plays out. 

David Huffman received his MFA from the California College of the Arts in 1999. His work has recently been featured in exhibitions at the Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco (2015); The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2013); Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco (2013); and the Museum of Biblical Art, New York (2013). His art is in the collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, University of California, Berkeley; Oakland Museum of California; Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, California; and The Studio Museum in Harlem, among others.

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