David Shrigley

Artist in Residence: February – March 2015

David Shrigley is best known for his distinctive drawing style and his satirical treatment of commonplace human conundrums. Acerbic, weirdly profound, while at the same time universal, his quick-witted drawings and hand rendered texts are typically deadpan in delivery, yet stirring in their effect. Posing eccentric moral dilemmas through his trademark combination of figure and wit, Shrigley’s playful absurdity draws on familiar reference points that the viewer can easily locate; tropes from advertising, asides and personal refrains mingle with a cacophony of oblique observations and socio-political critique. Extending a storyteller’s hospitality to other points of view, Shrigley draws naïve observations and the perspectives of creatures, aliens and objects into his orbit, laying bare the mirth, ambiguities and pathos of everyday life.

While drawing remains at the centre of his practice, Shrigely’s artistic exploits are rich and varied. Over the course of his career the artist has worked across an extensive range of media including animation, installation, painting, photography and sculpture.

For Shrigley the interesting aspect of his 2015 residency at Two Rooms in Auckland was the opportunity to use the substantial studio environment to paint in oils directly onto stretched canvas – for the first time since he graduated from the Glasgow School of Art in 1991. ‘Sixteen paintings in sixteen days’ was the risky and challenging project he set himself, with the compositional possibilities of responding to different materials in a different time, place and context. Oil paint takes a long time to dry so, unlike his intuitive process of drawing spontaneously with acrylic paint on paper, Shrigley had time to make decisions, to finesse the image.