Figurative painting unavoidably evokes a notion of imaging and implicitly, a plurality of realities. There is not a single interpretation of reality but as many realities as there are artists’ visions.  The imagination of David Kessel does not fit in any art movement because it writes its own codes. Originating in the publishing world, with an incursion in advertising with drawings and illustrations, it was not long before Kessel made the act of drawing a founding block of his writing and, the figurative its utmost axis of support. He could have been in line with his generation in adopting paths of expression along the abstract, the fantastic or hyperrealism, painting landscapes or in adopting the figurative of the obvious. But based on his own experience and emotional response he opted to depict all spectacles ingrained in the world, transposing them through his perception and palette of colors. He did not paint the universal “all the world’s a stage” drama, often shown with unbearable pathways to the artist’s inner self, but rather, he took us to a lighter world, popular or sophisticated and, simultaneously introduced us to music, the circus, the city and the street. Let us not forget about the kingdom of the Havana cigar that, as a declared epicurean, he likes to share.

His characters are always very much voguish, taking us to the universe of the fabulous twenties filled with extravaganza put on equal footing by the artist with representations of hard labour conditions prevailing at that time. A typology of his work reveals: fashion, flower shaped moustaches, urban landscapes or privy places, hats or caps, dandies and aristocrats, apaches and ladies of the evening, evoking Robert de Montesquiou or Brumell on one side and “Casque d’Or” on the other. All then submerges us in a differed reality and also reminds us that, like Radiguet said: “this old world is not a day older than when it began”. Such is the atmosphere, slightly melancholic, that the artist creates with happy fondness, tinted with lament. And this atmosphere, with a flavor of his personal making, filters out the very contrasted range of human feelings, over a certain time.

Now on a more formal note, what immediately strikes the eye among his multi-colored compositions, normally filled with various characters, is the pronounced thick line outlining them, emphasizing a detail, revealing a smile.

Rigor is also detectable among this abundance of lines. Faces with staring eyes are angled slightly, as if detachable like a mask. Backgrounds are never neutral. Finally there is the coverage provided by fragmented chromatic paints, illuminating the whole of their balanced nuances, singing harmonics in tune with titillating pigments. Painted with a brush that is both alert and accurate with the help of small or large recurring strokes, respecting the overall structural narrative of the painting, each small scene is a self-contained explanation of the essential but, taken as a whole, produces a domino effect with the next one. By depicting scenes in sequential form, like in short storytelling, the painter becomes the reporter of a unique fleeting moment captured by an emotional account and bestowed on us. What results is not an artefact but a privileged moment of truth transcended by the act of imaging expressed by a modern storyteller with an engaging sense of humour. David Kessel does not attempt to provoke neither to confuse. His paintings are simply a dream about happiness.