Verdad Magazine Volume 11
Fall 2012, Volume 13
I work with the idea that art gives form to experience. My projects wordlessly declare: "This is beautiful. This matters".
During my son's early childhood, my family and I visited zoos in various parts of the world, seeing rare and beautiful animals which I would stop to photograph. As I recently began to make prints again following a long hiatus, I decided to use my photographs of Sababu, a female black rhinoceros I photographed in the San Antonio Zoo, as the basis for an engraving. Over the four months I spent cutting her image into a copper plate with a burin, I became entranced with the beauty of this magnificent animal. When I did some research to learn more about her, I learned that Sababu had been put down after a long illness. I later learned that Barus, the male Sumatran tiger, which I chose for the subject of my next engraving, had also passed away. The unidentified gorilla in my third large engraving is happily still alive and well at the Bronx Zoo.
When I began to use animals as subject matter I thought of them as examples of their species, or universal types rather than individual creatures. I did not know their names, and I did not expect my admiration of these animals to be mingled so quickly with sadness at their mortality.
For 29 years I've lived in Brooklyn, where I find the majestic trees that also appear in my drawings and prints. For all the abuse they receive, they often thrive in the compact soil of the parks and curbsides. Their wood has a doughy resurgence as they grow to mend themselves from sheared-off branches and exposed heartwood. They each have the striking presence, and the imprint of experience, that makes them individuals.
BIO: David Barthold was born in 1959 in New York City. He studied printmaking at Oberlin College, and in Paris with Stanley William Hayter. He has worked in numerous and varied trades, including edition printing, construction, cabinet making, portrait painting and dental technology. For 15 years he designed and manufactured ceramics in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, producing ware for the interior decorating trade and the retail market. In 2011, David returned to printmaking after a hiatus of nearly 30 years. He is presently a member of the faculty of the Restorative Dentistry program at New York City College of Technology, and lives in Brooklyn with his family.