DAVID SHILLINGLAW: REMOTE CONTROL
VERNISSAGE FRIDAY, JULY 10, 7–11 PM
EXHIBITION UNTIL SEPTEMBER 4, 2015
David Shillinglaw’s art explores themes of identity and the human condition, whether a complex anatomical diagram or simple stick man. Drawing on ideas from ancient mythology as well as popular culture, the artist creates a dialogue between the historic and the contemporary. Shillinglaw often paints directly onto found objects, forging a candid relationship between himself and his shifting environment.
Shillinglaw was born in the Middle East, which may explain his thirst for travel. Since graduating from Central Saint Martins in 2002 he has exhibited in galleries in Japan, China, and throughout Europe, making his mark in key cities such as New York, Paris, Istanbul and Cape Town. . Shillinglaw’s work moves between street and studio, from small hand made books, to paintings on canvas and large-scale wall murals.
About the exhibition, words by David Shillinglaw:
We switch between channels, a stream of digital consciousness, mixing the most important moments, with trivial junk, spammy pop-ups. Where once we held photographs, books and maps in our hands, now we download, save and back-up to an external hard drive or imaginary cloud of data. We are becoming comfortably detached, much of what we do happens as if by magic; we consume food we have no idea where it was grown, we flush away waste and have no clue where it will go, we send each other endless megabites but have no knowledge of where its all stored. Many of us are blissfully unaware of the origin and departure of our consumption, in turn consumed and distracted by what is happening elsewhere, online, in remote, virtual reality.
The once futuristic, sci-fi ability to zap a remote control and make something happen from a distance is now so very domestic and normalized. Children tap and swipe pictures in books, treating analogue objects with the same command as a digital display. We are in danger of losing touch with traditional craftsmanship and authenticity, in favor of convenience and immediacy. The handy devices we use, become an extension of ourselves; helping in all our daily tasks, as an alarm clock, a calendar of reminders, a telephone, a camera, access to the internet, an all-in-one control panel that aims to make our lives easier. They guide us, they hold our hand, these tablets record our thoughts and conversations, we trust them with our most personal information; a hand-held satellite, our very own personal Black Box.
My work investigates the relationship between technology and nature, and Man's position between these two forces. I champion the Human Spirit over technique and technology. I want to celebrate the human touch, complete with all its imperfections; The Human Condition is now framed by technology, most of which I don’t fully understand. I want to make things that reflect Human nature, and the need we all have for everyday spirituality; we worship objects, we give our animals human names, we talk to plants and feel lost without our lucky charms. I see this as a form of modern shamanism or animism, and a way of making sense of our place in the universe. I believe our relationships with animals, inanimate objects, and natural phenomena are an insight and subtle but important reminders of who we are and where we come from. Somewhere between religion and consumerism, we all use objects and signs to reflect who we are as individuals and in turn they becomes keys to how we fit into the bigger picture.