For more than forty years David Pontbriand has painted the American landscape, from the coast of Maine to the desert Southwest. Alongside the landscape paintings, he has painted various series of abstract paintings since 1975. In both formats he has developed and refined an unique and personal vision.
The artist is best known for his thirteen-year study of the Arizona desert. His Sonoran DesertWorks (1985-1997), widely exhibited throughout the southwest and across the USA, have been recognized for their brilliant expressive color and lyrical stylization.
Informed by the landscape paintings, his abstract works peel away the objective subject, to reveal the artist’ s engagement with the pure elements of color and form.
Born in Marlborough, Massachusetts in 1951, Pontbriand developed, at a young age, a deep feeling for the landscape and a taste for solitude. He first learned to paint directly from the landscape, working outdoors in all seasons and every kind of weather. The artist studied design and color theory, and then painting, under John Bageris and Ann Wallace at the former Hudson Institute, earning a Certificate in Fine Arts in 1971.
The artist turned his attention to the local landscape, and to a related series of large-scale abstract paintings until 1977, when he moved his studio to Portland, Maine. Paintings of the Maine coast dominated his work for the next three years.
Pontbriand then turned his attention to Arizona in 1980, first producing a distinctive Grand Canyon series. For the next fifteen years, the artist explored and painted the deserts of the southwest United States, and Mexico’s Baja peninsula. His discovery of the richness of the Sonoran Desert region, in 1985, marked a turning point leading to the evolution of the the Sonoran DesertWorks.
David Pontbriand has also been active as a performing musician since the 1960’s. As an American Sitarist, since 1973, he has performed, recorded, and taught the music of the sitar throughout New England. In 1997 he presented a multi-media exhibition entitled The Sea.....and The Light featuring his mural sized painting of Portland Head Light, with controlled lighting and the artist’s own music compositions, to create a meditative atmosphere for viewing art.
While he continues to work periodically from landscape, since 2000, the artist’s has focused more on the abstract paintings, which represent the distillation of forty years’ investigation into the expressive power of the language of form and color.
The artist continues to reside in Portland Maine, with his wife Suzanne.