Upon first viewing, David Foley’s landscape paintings may appear somewhat chaotic and abstract, but it is the fractal quality of his work that produces his unique style. These elements of randomness, self-similarity, and variation of scale are inherent in all of his work. Each composition is held together with an energetic pattern that permeates the entire surface.
The active, energetic surface of a Foley painting is stimulating and draws the viewing into the environment of his work.
In the book “Landscapes Of New Mexico”, Suzanne Deats explains: “Foley’s painting technique is as action-packed as the finished work of art. He prepares very carefully, mixing the acrylic paint beforehand and laying out the intricate outlines on the canvas. He places the canvas flat on sawhorses, then goes to work with speed and spontaneity. Using a variety of brushes an painting sticks, many home made from various materials, he throws the paint on, marks it, pushes it, and delineates the image. Dragging color through another color with a stick may produce the knots and seams on a tree trunk; a strong swipe may become a vivid leaf on the ground. He distributes certain colors around the canvas to set up a visual interplay.”
This concept of repetition and the layering of paint embody a complexity that enhances the aesthetic appeal. It is the quality of detail, the intensity of color, the relative dissipation of shadow and light that are the essence of Foley’s work.
“I am trying to create a sense of the unfamiliar, to inspire a feeling of awe,” says Foley. “People will stand in front of one of my paintings and say ‘I like this…I really don’t even know why’. That’s good. I want them to enjoy looking at it for a very long time.”