David Shillinglaw: Happy Place

Date: Friday, Nov 15 2019 - Friday, Dec 20 2019
Venue: THAT Art Gallery

David Shillinglaw’s art mixes abstraction, still life and has recently included references to land or seascapes. It may seem playful, but it’s extremely considered, incredibly personal and is a conscious reaction to what David refers to as a ‘Happy Place’ – which he considers both universal and individual.

This body of work is autobiographical and invites you to explore various corners of the artist’s personal narrative. David is a prolific artist and draws ideas from a vast array of sketches, drawings and written observations. Unlike previous paintings, there are no words in this body of work and very few ‘figures’ to help guide you.

Recognisable ‘signposts’ direct you through a doorway, towards a horizon from a universal symbol, to an iconic form. The pictures are of imagined spaces, informed by real life, but coloured with the freedom and utopia of the imagination.

The recent introduction of an extremely reduced colour palette is striking. A spectrum of blue dominates the work, sometimes verging on green or touching on black, but always saturated in blue. The artist’s decision to strip back the colours helps to clarify the imagery and allows the viewer to focus on the composition.

By forcing himself to work within this limited palette David feels that he’s now able to unite all his work in one oeuvre. Blue has been a recurring theme in Shillinglaw’s work for many years, referencing the sky and the sea but has now become so much more pertinent in respect of his late mother, whose maiden name was Blue.

Nov 15-Dec 20, That Art Gallery, 17 Christmas Steps, Tue-Sat 11am-6pm. Preview Nov 14, 6-9pm. For more info, visit

By steve wright, Monday, Oct 28 2019

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