David Austen Blue Boy David Austen

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition (2020)

Summer Exhibition 2020
6 October 2020 — 3 January 2021

David Austen
Blue Boy, 2020
Oil and charcoal on flax canvas
167 x 152 cm
Courtesy the artist and Ingleby, Edinburgh

David Austen works in a range of mediums, including painting, sculpture, printmaking and film, making both figurative and abstract work. Poignant and whimsical, his imagery has a bittersweet quality and a sense of otherworldliness. Cigarette-smoking moons, shipwrecked sailors, and kissing couples inhabit the worlds that he creates in his work which draw on a wide range of influences including film noir, ancient mythology, literature and art history.
The stylised figure appears regularly in Austen’s practice often as a lovelorn character; drawn or painted naked, pictured falling, lost, or inhabiting an empty space. Blue Boy is a comparatively large-scale work for Austen; the vivid celestial blue colour with its religious symbolism is also evocative of a melancholy state of mind – but Austen’s work is not lacking in humour. There is a sense of otherworldly magic running through his practice even in his most deceptively simple imagery and a tender understanding of what makes us human.

Austen graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1985 and has exhibited widely since in the UK and abroad; most recently a solo exhibition Underworld at DCA, Dundee. His work has been featured in several international group projects and is held in collections including Tate, British Council, and the Government Art Collection.

Images