Visions for a better future


What: "David Syre: Envisioning a Better Future"


WHEN: 11am-4pm Tues.-Thurs., through Nov. 7

Cost: Gallery Syre, 465 W. Stuart Rd.


Wednesday, September 2, 2020

The first time David Syre was quarantined, he was 4 years old and had been diagnosed with polio—a debilitating disease from which he eventually recovered, although he first had to relearn how to walk.

More than 70 years later, a global pandemic necessitated another forced quarantine for Syre, a former lawyer and real estate developer who during the last decade has metamorphosed from a suit-wearing, globetrotting businessman into a bohemian artist who spends a significant amount of time flexing his creative muscles. Consequently, when coronavirus restrictions kicked in last spring, he was up to the challenge.

As Syre sheltered in place at his family’s longtime property near Everson, he used the downtime to his advantage. In addition to spending plenty of time in his studio creating the more than 60 new paintings and drawings that are currently being highlighted in the “Envisioning a Better Future” exhibit on display at Gallery Syre, he also continued to read, study and investigate topics of personal interest—such as spirituality, ancient wisdom and personal evolution.

“The works that Syre created during this time have their very own language and message for a better future,” a recent press release furthered. “Mostly abstract and painted with powerful colors, these recent canvases inspire people to take a leap into the unknown, to think about new forms of living together, and a new world in which humans can coexist with nature again.”

With titles such as “When COVID-19 is Finished,” “George Floyd #15: Love Matters,” “Danger,” “Elephant,” “Beyond the Sun…A Parade,” (pictured, full credit below) “A New Planet: Discovered in Nooksack Sky,” “Coronavirus Departure,” and “Formula for Love,” the captivating paintings draw attention not only to current events, but also to the artist’s belief that even though change can be painful, it’s also necessary.

“I want people to experience transformation,” Syre says in a quote that is repeated on walls throughout the exhibit, and also in a short video that sees him following his muse everywhere from Burning Man to the beginnings of a “Peace Trail” located at the southernmost tip of South America, and on his own property abutting the Nooksack River.

A walkthrough of the expansive, eye-catching show—which also includes paintings and sculptures from years past—reveals that Syre’s current incarnation as a full-time artist may in fact be his life’s true calling.

As evidence, the show opens with an untitled watercolor on paper he painted when he was 7 years old—after he’d survived polio, and learned once again how to put one foot in front of the other. It’s a lovely, nuanced landscape of what looks to be fir trees bending in the wind, and evokes the place where he’s spent a significant amount of his life. It also makes clear Syre’s artistic talent was always there, even if it was latent for decades.

Image credit: “David Syre: Beyond the Sun… A Parade, 2020, Acrylic on canvas, 30x40 in.—Everson, WA”

More ...
Coming Attractions
Whatcom Artist Studio Tour

During last year’s Whatcom Artist Studio Tour, my perennial plus-one and I spent a blue-sky Sunday afternoon popping our heads into a number of studios in Bellingham’s Sunnyland neighborhood and surrounding environs. We got a close look at the creative spaces of a number of painters,…

more »
Barn Show
Return to Fir Island

The “Barn Shows,” an annual Fir Island event from 1987 to 2003, featured works by Skagit Valley artists. Many lived between river and tides, catching salmon for supper, collecting driftwood for fuel and earning a meager living at manual work.

John Simon was the spark plug. He had been…

more »
Fund the Future
The art of adaptation

For the Museum of Northwest Art, 2020 was destined to be one for the books. In January, the longtime La Conner-based creative hub on First Street was operating in the black for the first time in a long time, and its mission was intact to collect, preserve, interpret and exhibit arts created…

more »