Celebrating the Western Myth and the American Dream
David DeVary is the first to acknowledge that his paintings are not historically accurate depictions of cowboy life in the American West in the 1900s. "In actuality, cowboys led a rough, dangerous and anything-but-glamorous existence," he says. The frontier that this artist explores draws more on the western movies of the '50s, starring matinee-idol cowboys like Roy Rogers and Gene Autry; his upbringing as a Catholic which "gave me the idea of creating modern icons of the figures we hold sacred"; and a highly successful, thirty-year career in the advertising business. It helps to know his history.... David DeVary came to the painter's life rather late in life. He grew up in southern Illinois in the 1950s, the son of an uneducated sheet-metal worker whose mantra was "You don't want to be like me." But David idolized his father, to such an extent that when the senior DeVary would leave for work in the morning, his mother would strap David into a harness and hook him to a clothesline to keep him from following his dad. Uneducated in the formal sense of the word, Lee DeVary, David's father, tried to make up for his lack of schooling by exposing his kids to "culture." When David showed an interest and talent in drawing at an early age, his father drove the family north to visit the Chicago Art Institute. It was a trip that would prove to be as formative as it was informative.