David Teeple & Lessons in Art


David Teeple is a good friend of mine. We met on a tour with the Whirling Dervishes in Istanbul. David is a visual artist, creating huge installations from materials that require tools as delicate as a pair of tweezers to one as big as a million dollar laser cutter. Installing them often requires huge moving machines. On a trip to the East Coast one year, I flew up to his studio in Massachusetts, and my lessons on conceptual art began.

His passion for and the intrinsic knowledge he holds and shares about water has filled up hours of conversation between us. Descriptions of his latest ideas for installations, or talking over how he would complete a piece he was commissioned to do, materialized in my imagination due to his ability to detail all the aspects of each piece so precisely.

David patiently taught me about abstract art. Of course, I have viewed a lot of abstract art, but most of the time it was with one eyebrow lifted up in an expression that said basically, “Huh?” His quest one week walking the galleries of NYC, was to educate me to the nuances of abstract art and see and/or hear the message or story the artist was portraying in each piece. He was so proud the day we viewed an installation and I actually spent time viewing it from different perspectives to see what the artist was trying to share. “And you didn’t raise your eyebrow once!”

We worked together on a project, one that required 800 hours of planning and implementation for a proposed piece of art for the new convention center in Jackson, Mississippi. (Photo left conceptualization of how the model would be held by the space.) Being in on the process as he developed a piece of this magnitude, listening to the conceptualization on the phone, seeing his progress, and finally taking the model out of the box: priceless.



David was recently commissioned by the City of Northampton, MA, to create an installation to express his passion for water. The work in Jackson inspired this sculpture, tracing the route of the Connecticut River.

The piece is titled “Water Music“. (Photo right)

His latest show “Thinking Water: Poetry, Systems and Politics; Series: Dialogue with a Collection“,
opened at the University Museum of Contemporary Art, UMass, Amherst, MA (February 1-March 16),  featuring yet more pieces on his water theme. The piece that reflects what I know best of David’s work is featured lower right. The title of the exhibit encompasses the many dialogues we had regarding the nature of water in our current cultural, environmental and political system.

“Increasingly, water is an important political factor in local, regional, and international negotiations. The management of and the access to water is becoming increasingly relevant as climates change and populations explode.

“David Teeple’s artistic approach to the subject is understated and conceptual, which leaves the viewer to draw insights into his thoughts and to explore the relationships of various systems. At the same time Teeple’s works, often reduced to essential qualities, have poetic resonance and quiet lyricism as he takes the exhibition space into consideration, creating a site specific installation.” Catalog statement by Eva Fierst, Curator of Education, UMCA.

David’s work shares knowledge that expands my understanding of my relationship with humanity and my environment. I encourage all of you to Google David Teeple and begin a dialogue that changes how you see yourself in relationship with humanity and your environment.

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