Dave Martsolf was born in 1949 in Manhattan, Kansas. He traveled with his mom and dad as the first of three children, all sons to the Beaver Valley in western Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh at the age of one, and at age 12 moved again to New Hampshire where he lives to this day.
Martsolf’s father and grandfather were professional architects. His mother was a professional photographer before marriage, but opted for housewife as the family grew.
Martsolf attended MIT to study architecture, later transferring to UNH where he earned a degree in Fine Arts.
Dave’s early work was influenced by the masters of spacial representation and human expression, Raphael, Vermeer, Rembrandt, Rubens, Velasquez, et. al., as well as the Impressionists, post-impressionists such as Miro, Mondrian, Matisse, Kandinsky, Klee, Picasso, and the surrealist Salvador Dali. Architectural instincts present in his works developed due to his close association with architecture in his youth.
Martsolf’s style is a continual evolution and exploration of his love of many styles. He places his highest regards in what he calls rational surrealism (see Artist’s Statement), while also continuously being drawn to abstract, organic and architectural drawing styles and design roots.
At heart, Martsolf is a visual and intellectual Rubik’s Cube who delights not only in the simple solution, but in every other combination of idea and conception. His first love are those arrangements that tear apart and rebuild our concept of reality in ways that make us question our daily life assumptions. In so doing Martsolf bring us to secret doorways that invite passage to a higher state of awareness.
Martsolf describes himself as both a rational and irrational surrealist. He has stated that when we speak of rational surrealism we are talking about the conscious choice of juxtaposition of subject matter that seeks to not only ‘shock and awe’, but intends to present itself as guided in its formulation by an intelligence that desires to show the observer something new about the world around him, or to consider some paradox generated by the unquestioned acceptance of past descriptions of our shared reality.
In truth, Martsolf has and continues to employ both branches of the surreal tree, depending on the work. Martsolf’s major canvases have tended to embrace his rational surrealist doctrine, while smaller pieces and drawing works are often irrational expositions of subconscious exhuberance. Martsolf has referred to some of these works as automatic drawings. They base themselves on the self-effacing principle of emptying one’s mind of conscious thought and letting pure, almost Brownian motion energy flow out of the moving hand with its seismic recorder lightly connected to the drawing instrument, guided by some deep emotional upwelling bumping into the ghosts of past forgotten experience.
- Location: New Hampshire