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David Risley Heads

David Risley
Heads, 2022
Water colour on paper

The reformed gallerist David Risley (UK) is now an artist, well he paints things, mainly his friends and the stuff around him - Blinky, his dog, his partner lying asleep, a bathroom mirror, a vase of flowers, the everyday, without a filter. For 'Cover Versions' he has painted a series of heads on shelves, this time not from life but found images online, but still without a filter. Odd couplings emerge, half remembered faces, names, memories, all mixed but arranged and contained, a catlogued system even he doesn't quite understand. 

Risley writes about his work' In my head all art, (painting, literature, music, film etc) exists in the same place at the same time, in a kind of idea space. It’s activated by thinking about it or looking at it.

The first ‘heads’ painting I made was of a storage shelf of old, out of favour heads at Madame Tussaud’s. Ex-politicians, sportsmen, celebrities and royalty who were no longer a la mode. Then I started collecting heads. I have a folder on my phone containing over 2000 images of every kind of representation of a human head I can find, all styles, cultures, periods, materials. Ancient Greek sculpture, Thai shadow puppets, rubber horror masks, family photos, modernist doodles.

I’ve been reading a lot of fiction and theory about time. Ideas about time, past, present and future all existing at once. The quantum idea of time, that there is no such thing as now. I was recently diagnosed with inattentive ADHD, one of the symptoms is time blindness, an inability to understand and function in relation to time, they say people with this syndrome understand two times - now and not now. That’s how I think of these head paintings. All of the different people, times, styles, waiting somewhere that’s not now, until we think of them and suddenly they’re all now. I think of them as all existing equally. A line drawing from an artists imagination or four smudges of colour in the background of a painting that suggest a face in shadow are as real a presence as a person in a photograph. The shelves of heads are how I see Idea Space.'

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David Risley Heads
Heads, 2022
Watercolour on paper



Hapi Khnum
Heads, 2022
Watercolour on paper
David Risley Heads
Heads, 2022
Watercolour on paper

COVER VERSIONS

A group exhibition curated by Anthony and Graham Dolphin
1 April - 1 May 2022, Abject Gallery, 27 Fawcett Street, Sunderland
9 July - 4 September 2022, Exeter Phoenix, Gandy Street, Exeter