Frestonian Gallery is delighted to present its first solo exhibition of the work of David Price.
The pathway to this current series of highly energetic and dynamic paintings by Price has been many varied. Beginning as a student of drawing at Edinburgh College of Art he went on to an MFA as a somewhat anarchic sculptor at the University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. He subsequently immersed himself in the highly ordered and technically precise practice of etching, undertaking an MFA at the Royal College of Art. Whilst there he produced an astonishing body of work that was recognised by his selection for the prestigious Bloomberg New Contemporaries, and which has since entered the collection of the V&A Museum. Continuing to push himself into new forms of making, Price then began to formulate a technique that translated the meticulous methodologies of both etching and screen-printing into painting, resulting in exquisitely detailed works built up of multiple lightly applied layers of colour. Over time, this method morphed and transformed, loosening up and expanding in scale until the small, delicate panels bloomed into the large, vivid, and multi-layered canvases comprising this extraordinary new body of work.
The paintings themselves are an amalgamation and synthesis of subjects, techniques and influences befitting of Price’s wide practical and conceptual experience as a student of both art and art history. The central motif of the ‘vase (or urn) and flowers’ has served as a reliable and repeatable subject from Vosmaer to Van Gogh to Hockney – and so Price too finds endless scope for variation and invention within this oft-explored trope. Price states that in setting the still-life as the basic scaffolding he was seeking to find a single subject that was “instantly recognisable ‘as a painting’ and would unquestionably stand endless repetition and abstraction from the original”.
Other notable influences on the current series include the (otherwise wholly different) paintings of Leon Kossoff that created direct discourse with art-historical sources (most poignantly for Price in the 2000 National Gallery exhibition ‘Encounters: A Dialogue with Art from the Past’). The etchings and drawings of English horticulturist Robert Furber (1674-1756) too provided a jumping-off point for much of the imagery, specifically his much admired ‘Twelve Months of Flowers’ (pub. 1730). In Price’s works Furber’s imagery retains its representational integrity, and is set amongst swirling, abstracted forms and layers of colour and texture. Myriad other artistic and literary influences can be found, guessed at, identified and miss-identified (an element of Picasso here, perhaps a nod to ‘Leda and the Swan’ there), but in essence they appear as the most basic of frameworks – touchstones over which Price has constructed a hugely inventive, vibrant and personal language, that speaks – or rather sings – forth from each of these joyful paintings.
David Price is a graduate of the Edinburgh College of Art, the University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne and the Royal College of Art, London. He is a Tutor in drawing at the Royal Academy, and at Central St. Martins, He teaches in Printmaking at London Metropolitan University and was made a Junior Fellow of the Royal Academy in 2009. His work is held in private collections worldwide, as well as the V&A Museum, The Royal College of Art and Royal Academy (London). Recent exhibitions include 'Gardens of Ideas' (with Bob & Roberta Smith RA & Jessica Voorsanger) & 'The Green Fuse' (2019 & 2020, Frestonian Gallery, London) & 'Ridiculous Sublime (2021, Schiff Fine Arts, New York).