Solo Exhibition

Bonner David Galleries, New York

April 4 - May 4, 2024

Looking at the paintings in DEFYING GRAVITY, I see visual echoes from my past—stained-glass windows in my mom’s church; the colorful box kite I flew with my dad; Peanuts cartoons playing on the TV.

They also recall the reproductions of Picasso, Calder, Moore, and Van Gogh which hung in my childhood home. Clearly, the playfulness in their work has found its way into mine.

Some of the paintings take me even further back—to a building toy called Playplax: brightly colored, translucent plastic squares. As far back as I can remember, I was making abstract color structures.


But painting is not about communicating a pre-conceived idea; it’s a process of discovery. Like my artistic heroes, such as Miro, Diebenkorn, and Calder, I believe that the act of painting is revelatory. As Robert Motherwell said, “The subject does not pre-exist. It emerges out of the interaction between the artist and the medium.” 1

I never know what a painting is about until it is finished, and often, even then, it can’t be expressed in words. In this way abstract painting works very much like music.

A painting is finished not when it says what I meant to say, but when I feel it calm my body and mind; when it suddenly “breathes,” becoming a harmony that sparks the imagination and lifts my mood. This moment is always a bit of a shock.

Life’s uncertainties and burdens are a fact of life. But a painting that conveys soul, and love, and even joy, is a gift that enables those who enjoy it to momentarily defy gravity.

- David Michael Slonim


(1) Robert Motherwell, "A Process of Painting," The Collected Writings of Robert Motherwell, ed. Stephanie Terenzio, New York, Oxford University Press, 1992, p. 139

Play Plax building toy, introduced in 1967

Don Quixote by Picasso.  This print hung in our kitchen when I was a kid.

Kite-flying with my father connected bright planes of color with love.

A replica of Alexander Calder's fish mobile hung in the kitchen when I was growing up.

In the living room when I was young, we had a Henry Moore coffee table book.