Signal by Ian Davenport
30.03.2023
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Custot Gallery Dubai invites everyone to visit Signal, the solo show of British contemporary artist Ian Davenport. One can look at his latest artworks until 19 May 2023.

Signal is Davenport’s first show dedicated to his works on paper. Lockdown restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic gave Davenport a perfect opportunity to focus on a different series of artworks: it allowed for his practice to be done isolated in his London studio. His paintings usually require the help of studio technicians, while the lighter works on paper enabled him to maneuver them easily on his own.

LEFT: Ian Davenport, Finale (Grey), 2022. Acrylic on paper. 185 x 145 cm. RIGHT: Ian Davenport, Girandola, 2022. Acrylic on paper. 185 x 145 cm.

The exhibited series of 13 paintings, bright and pleasing to the eyes, was inspired by pyrotechnical visuals: rocket fireworks, explosives, and illuminations. Using acrylic paint, Davenport managed to skillfully replicate the firework marks on canvas. Then, he thoughtfully developed and explored relationships of colours: some of the artworks show multiple layers of reworking. 

About the artist

Ian Davenport (born 1966, Kent, United Kingdom) is one of the most famous abstract painters and a former Turner Prize nominee (1991) who lives and works in London. In 1985, he graduated from Northwich College of Art and Design, Cheshire, UK, and in 1988 received his BFA from Goldsmith’s College of Art, London, UK. 

Ian Davenport, Viridian and Acra Magenta, 2019. Acrylic on stainless steel mounted onto aluminium panel. 150 x 200 cm.

Fascinated with the materiality of paint, Davenport creates his paintings by pouring precise lines of gloss acrylic paint down a surface. Then, he lets gravity do its job so the paint lines pool at the bottom, or he tilts the work himself. This way, the artist explores complex arrangements of line and colour. He contemplates the colour harmonies of each composition, each has their own visual sense of timing, rhythm, interval, and accent. By the way, gloss paint used by Davenport allows the viewer to see their own reflection in the works, which adds another dimension to the paintings.

For Davenport, the action of painting is his subject matter: “how to paint” became “what to paint”. Using different tools — watering cans, electric fans, nails, syringes, etc. — to create his art pieces, he investigates the paradox between control and chance. In 2008, he came across an illustration of this paradox: the poured paint which pooled into puddles on the floor embodied a contradiction between controlled lines that then merged freely and autonomously. The artist has incorporated the puddles into his Puddle Paintings.

Ian Davenport, Detail of Giardini Colourfall, 2017. Acrylic on stainless steel mounted on aluminium panels (14 panels). 380 x 1400 x 100 cm. Photo by Todd White Art Photography

The list of the solo and group exhibitions which have displayed Davenport’s art is extremely long: it includes “Sequence,” Kasmin, New York, NY (2020); “Synesthesia,” Luca Tommasi – Arte Contemporanea, Milan, Italy (2019); “Horizons,” Dallas Contemporary, Dallas, TX, USA (2018); “Giardini Colourfall,” Swatch Pavilion, Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy (2017); “Doubletake,” Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York, NY (2016); “British Artists,” Galerie Andres Thalmann, Zürich, Switzerland (2015); “Summer Exhibition,” Royal Academy, London, UK (2014); “Royal Academy Summer Exhibition,” Royal Academy, London, UK (2013); “Duchamp and Cage: 100 Years Later,” The Aldeburgh Beach Lookout, Suffolk, UK (2012); “I Promise to Love You: Caldic Collection,” Kunsthal Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands (2011); “ART,” Haas and Fuchs, curated by Michael Craig-Martin, Berlin, Germany (2010); “Setting the Pattern,” Koraalberg Contemporary Art, Antwerp, Belgium (2009); and many others.  

Among the public collections that features Davenport’s artworks are Arts Council Collection, Hayward Gallery (London, UK); Borusan Art Gallery (Istanbul, Turkey); British Council (UK); The British Museum (London, UK); Centre Pompidou (Paris, France); Dallas Museum of Art (Dallas, TX, USA); FNAC Fonds National d’art contemporain (Puteaux, France); The Government Art Collection (London, UK); Museum of Modern Art (La Spezia, Italy); Museum of Modern Art (New York, NY, USA); and many others.

To learn more about the Signal show, please visit its official web page.

You might be interested in visiting Raise Vibration at Infinity des Lumières.