The modern abstract artist Ian Davenport, who was born in Kent in 1966, has collected a multitude of accolades throughout his lifetime for his work. Best known for the carefully poured acrylic paint pieces that pool at the foot of the canvas. The artist briefly attended the Norwich College of Art and Design, before going on to graduate from Goldsmiths College of Art in 1988. As one of the Young British Artists of that generation, Davenport participated in the 1988 exhibition: Freeze, organised by Damian Hirst to develop these young talents. Two years after his graduation, Davenport held his first show in London, at the Waddington Galleries. In 1991, he was the youngest ever shortlisted Turner Prize nominee, and in 1999 he won the prize for the John Moore Exhibition in Liverpool. His paintings are composed of an extensive amount of colour being individually dripped down canvases, boards, and aluminium panels. Gravity moves the paint down the tilted surface, making Davenport’s control over the final product of work limited. The artist emphasises experimentation, negating the idea of theoretical meaning in his work, instead opting for spontaneity. Large scale puddle paintings that pool on the floor, emulating rainbows flooding together, are probably his best-known works, with the scale of his larger works alone being impressive. Davenport has exhibited across both the United Kingdom and worldwide. This includes some major shows at venues such as Dundee Contemporary Arts in 1999 and Dallas Contemporary, Texas, in 2018. At the Tate Britain, in an exhibition titled ‘Days Like These’, he created a 42-and-a-half-foot-long mural made by dripping lines of paint down a wall using a syringe. Through his career he’s been commissioned to create a roster of works, one of which was ‘Poured Lines: Southward Street’ in London, a 48-metre-wide painting on a bridge. In 2017, an art installation of over 1000 painted stripes were commissioned by Swatch, together with a custom watch. 2016 saw Davenport hand-paint a collection of porcelain plates for Meissen, as well as a special edition for Christian Dior’s Lady Art project. Several Ian Davenport’s paintings have been acquired by many collections across the world, such as the Arts Council of Great Britain, the Tate Gallery, and the Weltkunst Collection in Zurich. As well, the first monograph of his work was published in 2014 by Thames & Hudson. Currently residing in London, the artist has been experimenting with screen-printing and etching over the past 10 years, building a portfolio of graphic work that resembles the elegant lines in his drip paintings. This kind of work Davenport has been delving into replicates the look of his paintings, however the texture is completely different. In recent years, he’s also being experimenting with different starting points of colour dripping, with his 2017 pieces letting gravity control the movement of paint from dots scattered on a canvas in different colours, rather than his typical stripes.
Artworks by Ian Davenport
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