Born in Manchester, David's work ranges from portraiture to mixed-media collage exploiting textures, materials and fabrics to 3D or accidented effect, often seeking to explore the porous divide between abstraction and representation.

Much of his work interrogates the contradictions and inspirations of religious spirituality, political conflict, and themes of redemption and renewal.

He is inspired by those artists whose output constitutes a statement against oppression: Max Beckmann, Marlene Dumas, Francis Bacon and their successors. These are practitioners whose stance is often implicit rather than explicit, disrupting or questioning the space their work occupies. As he addresses the conundrum of separate planes on a two-dimensional surface, his aim is to involve the viewer with contradictory perspectives, gestural colour, and challenging themes. Tied to this is his fascination for gestural marks and damaged surfaces: the Parisian photographer Brassai's brilliant work on graffiti, for example, is a constant source of ideas, with its demonic archetypes crudely and hurriedly gouged into plaster.

The current graffiti series has sparked his ambition to go further into the possibilities offered by pure "materiality", that is, to concentrate on the inherent appeal of these surfaces, their punctures and wounds, and the beauty of their fault-lines. For example, there is a hermetic quality about the work of the Catalan artist Antoni Tapies, and his ability to remove the "third person" from the equation and challenge viewers to confront a material for its own sake, and to locate themselves within the space it occupies.

David McGrath

Contact David McGrath
© Copyright David McGrath 2015