David Austen

Green Tree 18.11.20

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Year 2020
Medium Pen and emerald green ink on paper
Dimensions 29.7 x 21 cm

About the work

This is a drawing of a woman metamorphosing, or closer still, erupting into a tree. There is a sense of upward pulsing movement. She is unlike the pursued Daphne transformed into a laurel, or the unfortunate souls enclosed in Dante’s petrified forest. She is not rooted to the spot.

Drawing is a record of a moment in time and more than any other medium or form captures at once what is both inside the artists thoughts and the marks and traces of its making.

This drawing is very much about the joy of dipping a steel nib into ink and drawing lines with a controlled abandonment. In this case the ink is of a wonderful emerald green made in Leipzig, Germany, from a small dark bottle with a beautiful printed label and glass shape.

It makes me feel a bit sad when I think one day I won’t be around to visit a shop that sells art materials and buy a little bottle of ink.

About the artist:

Born 1960 Harlow, David Austen lives and works in London. Graduated from the Royal College of Art (1985).

Austen’s work explores love and yearning, loss and grief, memory and dream, and the unreliability of these things. He makes his work with exactitude and attention; it’s what the world deserves.

His work is held in public and private collections including Tate, British Council, Arts Council England and the UK Government Art Collection.

Selected solo exhibitions include The Last Trapeze Artist, TOTAH, New York (2021); Underworld, DCA, Dundee (2019); The Drowned, Matt’s Gallery, London (2018); The stars above the ocean… the ocean beneath the stars, TOTAH, New York (2018); Black Heart, Museo d’Arte Contemporanea di Cogliandrino, Basilicata (2015); Papillon, Anthony Reynolds Gallery, London (2011); End of Love, Modern Art Oxford (2010); End of Love, Stanley Picker Gallery, Kingston University, Kingston-upon-Thames (2009); and My love, I have been digging up my own bones in the garden again, Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh (2009). Selected group exhibitions include Everything Else is Everything Else, an exhibition of Jack Kirkland’s collection curated by Abraham Cruzvillegas, MK Gallery, Milton Keynes (2022); City, works from Arts Council Collection, Leicester Museum and touring (2022); The Shadow, TOTAH, New York (2020); The Aerodrome. An exhibition dedicated to the memory of Michael Stanley, curated by Jonathan Watkins, George Shaw and David Austen, IKON Gallery, Birmingham (2019); NEUE HORIZONTE 2030, GEIST, Berlin (2019); These Rotten Words, Chapter, Cardiff (2017); Cosmic Connections, TOTAH, New York (2016); The Nakeds, Drawing Room, London (2014); Slow Learner, Timothy Taylor Gallery, London (2014); Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing?, New Art Centre, Salisbury (2013); Language Games. An Introduction to The Art of Our Times, Fundación Helga de Alvear, Cáceres (2013); With An Apple I Will Astonish, Large Glass, London (2012); Artists for Kettle’s Yard, Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge (2011); and Watercolour, Tate Britain, London (2011).

← Conrad Atkinson

Sylvia Plath’s Shopping Trolley

Sam Austen →

Head Floating in a Volcanic Sea (after Blake)

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