Winnipeg Arts Council

Curiouser & Curiouser: Dichotomies in a Canadian Context

Although my work is primarily representational and features hints of the surreal, at the centre of all that I try to accomplish artistically, is to produce a measure of personal identification in the viewer.

My pieces are presented with buried narratives; unclear stories that will often be translated differently by each individual.

I try to accomplish this by introducing dichotomies and visual metaphors, such as minstrels strumming while basilicas burn, curling rocks made from jam cans, and tumbling umbrellas and vermillion bedsheets that twist through wind-whipped skies above darkened neighborhoods. Through this exhibit, it is my goal to evoke the emotional memories of those who see my work, and to challenge them to look more carefully at their own worlds.


David Colvin is an incurable people-watcher. Of note, is his fascination with aspects of the human condition. This has been a constant throughout his adult life… as an artist, playwright, parent, husband, and clinician.

Although geared toward a future in visual communications and illustration art, his life took a decidedly different trajectory that ultimately led to a long and satisfying career in the behavioral health field. As such, he chooses to reflect human emotion through his artwork. Specifically, he focuses on nostalgia, and childhood longing in his pieces.

Fleshing out these emotional memories are key to the examination of Colvin’s art. Given that yearning is said to be a blend of the primary emotions of love and sadness, this is no small task.

Dave draws inspiration from the Early Netherlandish painting schools and the Pre-Raphaelites, and creative sources as diverse as the outsider work of Henry Darger, the narrative compositions of Pieter Bruegel, and the single-panel, darkly comedic cartoons of Gahan Wilson.

His quasi-realistic pieces are also driven by dreams, psychedelia, and too many hours poring over Graphis magazines in Commercial Art class.

Colvin’s commission works hang in private collections across North America and the UK. He has also been short-listed multiple times in the Manitoba Society of Artists open juried competitions.

Currently, atypical watercolour is his “go-to” but any combination of water-soluble media including acrylic, acrylic pen, India ink, and gouache is fair game in his world.