Recognised for his vibrant abstract paintings, Fremantle-based David Spencer has exhibited around Australia and collaborated locally with Aloft Hotel, Xanadu Wines and Black Brewing Co. His work has also gone international: Spencer beat out more than 500 other artists to win a 2014 FIFA World Cup competition that got his artwork on McDonald’s fries packets around the world.
Mirror, Spencer’s 14th solo and collaborative exhibition, has him teaming up with Margaret Heenan, a Perth glass artist who also favours colour in her work. The idea for the partnership came from Gallows Gallery director Kathryn Stafford. She wanted to exhibit two artists of different ages and genders, and who work in different mediums, alongside each other.
“It’s a tricky business meeting an artist willing to collaborate, because personalities have to be in complete sync from the very first beer,” says Spencer. “I once had a dual show with Johnny Romeo [a self-described “bombastic neo expressionist pure pop painter with a lot to say about modern life”; Spencer and Romeo staged a joint show in 2010]. We did our own thing, but there was an underlying fight for colour supremacy. It’s unusual to collaborate unless it’s the same medium, but that's what made it interesting for Margaret and I. She was also seeking a challenge and I think that’s clear in her body of work.”
In a bid to keep his art life interesting, Spencer’s colourful creations are “constantly changing”; he’s inspired by the need to not repeat the same experiences.
“In a sense, a canvas is my home. I’m familiar with it, as you are with your lounge room, but every time I start a fresh piece, I have the same feeling as someone who wants to renovate,” he says. “I try to go beyond the expected and produce work that is unique and fresh. Inspiration isn’t a thing I can explain. It is easier to describe it as a feeling to drive change, to make something new, to always push away my point of satisfaction and reset the boundary before I get comfortable.”
The exhibition is a celebration of colour with Heenan’s kiln-formed glass sculptures creating synergy with Spencer’s paintings.
“Come and tell me what you see,” he says. “Come and be critical. Come and meet me and tell me about how you feel when you look at a piece, I am interested to know. I am as excited as you to see and learn about my work from a different perspective.”
Mirror *is showing at Gallows Gallery from August 9 to 26.
53 Glyde Street, Mosman Park
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Tue to Thu 10am–4.30pm
All other times by appointment