Works on Paper


David Kroll uses a repertoire of lush backdrops of sepia-toned landscapes fore-grounded with isolated objects such as vases, fruit and birds. These still-life elements are held in place with the febrile register of sentient life in the form of minutely detailed fauna and insect life that give a sense of arrested motion to all of his pictorial imagery. Kroll's paintings are of internal worlds. They are of private memories trapped, as if in amber, within a time of glowing solitude--- a proto-Romanticist's recollection in a moment of tranquility. Within that solitary moment the hushed expectancy in Kroll's paintings settles over scale shifts in which fore-, mid- and background space mesh as a seamless whole. Each painting is the stage for the artist's deliberately conflated landscapes, still-lifes and naturalistic imagery. It is where a sense of the fragility of life, ever-present, is a recurring motif and in which the perpetual suggestion of mortality and evanescence predominates over the artist's naturalistic scenarios. 

Kroll's mysterious paintings can be seen as hybrid works incorporating both plein-air allusions placed paradoxically within the suggested confines of staged mis-en-scenes. In these confines hovering bees, fluttering butterflies, scurrying salamanders, atavistically cautious and alert egrets and myriad other fauna give the sensation of restrained movement in restricted spaces. This sensation intensifies the suggested visual trope that is set in place by the artist in all of his works: an internal world suddenly exposed. In this world a curtain of vision has suddenly been pushed aside to unveil for the first time a particular type of dramatic pictorial eloquence that commands attention from the viewer.

David Kroll has exhibited widely throughout the country and is in many important public and private collections including: The Gund Collection, MA; Microsoft Corporation, WA; Philip Morris, NY; Prudential, NJ; MacArthur Foundation, IL.


This exquisite 112 page book published by Marquand Books features essays by James Yood and Linda Tesner and includes 72 color plates celebrating the life and work of David Kroll. 
To purchase a copy please contact the gallery at info@littlejohncontemporary.com

'Koi and Blue and White Vase',  2015, oil on linen, 60x60

'Koi and Blue and White Vase',  2015, oil on linen, 60x60

“I paint personal refuges and interior landscapes - places to visit for solace and sanctuary. Much of my work is intuitive.  My paintings are imagined, invented moments that touch upon human's complicated, perplexing relationship with nature. I try to create an emotional and intellectual connection - however fleeting - between the viewer and the power of landscape, the web of life, the idea of nature itself. I think about the natural world not as an expendable resource but as a past home, once abandoned and forgotten, now the subject of our longing and our dreams. Increasingly what remains is an idea or memory of nature, rather than nature itself. This has been a central theme of my work for many years. My blank canvases are approached without a predefined image and the painting is developed in a slow, organic way. Painting in refined layers allows me to discover the narrative and emotional content of each composition over time. Using this method, I try to express why a sunset fills us with wonder, why a certain quality of light can make a busy day suddenly still, and why the momentary sound of a bird call can seem - for that instant - like the most important thing in the world.”

David Kroll (American, b.1956) is a contemporary Surrealist artist whose powerful use of color and blend of styles has gained him fame and recognition as one of the leading Postmodernist painters.  Kroll paints personal refuges and interior landscapes - places to visit for solace and sanctuary. Much of his work is intuitive, his paintings are more than visually interesting compositions of creatures, objects and environments.  They are imagined, invented moments that touch upon man's complicated, perplexing relationship with nature.  Each painting reveals more paradoxes than resolutions inviting the viewer to contemplate how disconnected we are from nature.  David Kroll creates an emotional and intellectual connection between the viewer and the power of landscape, the independent web of life, the idea of nature itself.

Kroll’s brief stay in Chicago and subsequent move to Vashon Island, WA, played a great role in his connection to nature. His works mostly feature birds, fish, small animals, and insects, juxtaposed in still life with magnificent European and Asian vases, bowls, and cups. Executed with the technical expertise of a Dutch master, the paintings combine the realism of nature morte with the lively presence of brightly colored birds, insects and fish to create surreal, entrancing interior landscapes.



David Kroll was born in Phoenix, AZ, and received a BFA in Painting, Drawing, and Printmaking from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1980, and an MFA in Painting and Drawing from the School of the Art Institute in Chicago in 1986.He taught at School of the Art Institute of Chicago for almost 20 years.  He has had numerous gallery and museum exhibitions. There have been several articles about David Kroll, including 'Seattle's Grover/Thurston Gallery moves, marks 20 years' written by Michael Upchurch for The Seattle Times in 2011.