The world is all about colors: in the city- store displays, cars, clothes, in the countryside- trees, flowers, soils, all is colored… If by any chance you were to enter in a strange artist studio on rue de Presles in Paris, the den of painter literally, physically, dazzled by an explosion of reds, greens, yellows, ochres, blues, against which colors you had passed on the street would be pale and faded in comparison, expired.

And the first thought that comes to mind, even before truly seeing, is that this is not normal, it is too much…and you are facing a demonstration of strength, a force of joy, like a reaction, close to a manifesto; a response to dark forces of the night. And this joie de vivre explodes even more, mocking hatred and murder along, “We are still standing, but nonetheless, we are telling the world about our joy, and we are gloating because we like to let life’s stream flow through our veins…”, is what crazy colors would seemingly chant…

And then you are thinking, still before seeing, that these are only colors. And indeed they are so clear, so accurate and their composition is so brilliant, so constructed that it probably suffices… And then you put David Kessel in the “abstract painter” category. You are getting closer, in the sense that you are slowly beginning to “see”, and then you realize that these colors have shapes. That these colors are symbolizing doors, keys or chairs, staircases or rabbis, clowns or Amerindians…And then you conclude that Kessel is a figurative painter.

But you will also find, a bit later and simultaneously (perhaps this is what is meant by seeing), that disguised as labyrinths, these forms’ colors (unless it is the reverse) balance themselves, talk back, match each other. Shapes correspond to colors first and, then they evoke clown faces or rabbis, staircases or keys (nobody can go up or down these staircases, and if the clown were to slash his wrists, paint would come out of them for sure)…

Again, you find yourself thinking that Kessel is not that figurative nor, a bit earlier, was he that abstract…Kessel or: Painting as in capitalized “P” is all about paint…

What Kessel paints, will you find yourself thinking, is not such cigar or some Dandy, no, what Kessel paints is the act of representing them. Kessel does not paint objects, scenes or “pictures”, he paints, building with pigments as media, luminescence. And all that is made possible with paint. Even the painting’s frame gets its share of paint as it is invited in the picture in a sort of reversal of roles with obscured boundaries. Paintings are freed or unframed that way…(To David, paintings are doors onto which they are being painted).

With recourse to inserted vignettes, like in art books electing to emphasize a particular “detail” in a painting, Kessel does not show, contrary to cubists who would draw all sides of a dice, or the hidden side view of a face, what we cannot see but rather, what we see. What we really see when we are seeing. In other words, the same face or the same glass, shown differently at the same time. Different images that share the same instant. Tremors in reality caused by some sort of quintessential wave. A happy face is displayed with its sinister counterpart concurrently (a living creature is seen dead, or the opposite, and a door is presented both closed and opened).

But painting that other face took time; wouldn’t you agree? That is what Kessel reveals, he includes many paintings into one, many frames into one (he never stops breaking frames in the construct of “reality”), and in particular many time frames of the same moment are presented.

Kessel is best defined as the painter of time flow in the act of painting.

What first appeared as just joy, exultation, laughter and innocence was in fact covering up a deeper understanding of painting images. That’s the real true enemy of darkness. Kessel’s bright colors illuminate the night.  Not objects or faces in the night, that as a bon vivant he would flood with light; annihilating the night momentarily.

No, no. Kessel shines on…the Night. Night itself, he shows; happily, playfully, luminously, the creature of darkness (and she hates it).

Kessel is the dark side of the force’s greatest enemy.