Fri 6 Oct 2023 to Sat 11 Nov 2023
Mon-Fri 10am-6pm, Sat 11am-6pm
Artist: Ian Davenport
Opening this autumn, a new exhibition by British painter Ian Davenport (b. 1966, Sidcup, Kent) includes the artist’s largest ever wall to floor installation, alongside new and recent work. Two immense paintings installed in the heart of the gallery, Lake 1 and Lake 2 feature lines of poured paint that flow down the length of the wall, and into a pool of colour that extends over eight metres across the gallery floor.
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Developed over several months in Davenport’s studio in Peckham, south east London, these two large scale installations are a natural progression for his work. In recent years Davenport has been working on an ever more ambitious scale: in 2017 he was invited to invited to make a 14-metre long painting for the Giardini at the Venice Biennale; 2022 saw the opening of a site-specific installation on the steps of the Chiostro del Bramante in Rome, as part of an exhibition curated by Danilo Eccher. Of this new work in London, the artist says: “Working on a large scale, flooding the gallery with colour, brings out certain themes in painting that interest me. I can allow the paint to behave more like a sculptural entity: it is manipulated by me but also by gravity, and the work has a pronounced relationship to the floor, much like a sculpture”.
The use of unconventional methods to apply paint is central to Davenport’s practice: spanning a career of over three decades, his paintings have been created with syringes and watering cans, or with paint poured directly from its tin. In this exhibition, Davenport’s more recent paintings of poured lines reveal a greater sense of symmetry, and a technique whereby the pooled paint is pushed back on itself, creating a new optical effect which evokes a tide of colour. Whilst retaining his original sense of calculated rhythm, the overall effect is now one of mirroring. The colours are selected instinctively, indirectly inspired by sources as diverse as medieval stained glass and Saturday morning cartoons.
The exhibition at Waddington Custot will mark Davenport’s tenth show with the gallery, beginning with a debut in 1990 after his graduation from Goldsmiths as part of the YBA generation. Davenport’s first exhibition at Waddington Custot, then Waddington Galleries, in 1990, was described as an ‘extraordinary debut’ by critics who compared the singularity of his distinctive approach to painting with that of Barnett Newman and Jackson Pollock. A coinciding exhibition of selected works on paper will be on show at the Burton Art Gallery and Museum in Bideford, Devon.