David Austen Installation+shot+22

David Austen Darkland (2004)

PEER, London

2 September to 18 October 2004

David Austen has made a large body of drawings and approximately 150 of these will be shown at Peer. All executed on paper with Indian ink and using Japanese brushes, they stand as an album of intense but fleeting thoughts – the kind of images that may pass through one’s mind on the way to sleep or while waking up. Unlike the painstaking control apparent in his painting, there is a sense that these works may be the by-product of some kind of irrepressible desire. These drawings are quickly produced and the results are at times both disturbing and beautiful.

Like a dreamscape, specific themes and images recur to create disjointed narratives. There are flowers, trees, abstractions (perhaps from nature), images of brutality, dark impulses, tenderness, love, and the artist too appears in various guises. As in Austen’s delicate watercolours the body plays a central role, but here the execution in thick black brush marks is more extreme. Singly, coupled, sometimes engaged in a sexual act, sometimes heaped in piles, sometimes a detail – these bodies inhabit an altogether harsher world.

To accompany this exhibition Peer has produced an artist’s book, Stood Up. The title is taken from a short text commissioned by the artist from novelist Rupert Thomson. The publication includes seven drawings reproduced actual size alongside six further fragments of text from postwar novelists. In an edition of 1000, the first 200 copies of the book will be signed and numbered by both David Austen and Rupert Thomson. Click here to buy a copy.