“Light moves across a landscape like the dancer moves through space, I am a painter of transient things”. photo: Eric Alexander
David Cottingham is a London-based artist who has developed a unique body of work on the themes of Dance and Landscape Abstraction in the media of Painting, Drawing and Sculpture.
David studied at St Martins School of Art, London, under Philip King RA, William Tucker and Sir Anthony Caro.
He has exhibited international including New York, Chicago, London, Beirut and Rome.
His work is also held in various private collections worldwide. The above photo shows the Dining Room at
D Contemporary Gallery for the “Made Visible” Exhibition 2017.
The artwork ranges from landscape-influenced, abstract paintings to large figurative, dance-inspired, works on canvas and Sculpture. Also limited edition prints and drawings in all media.
My paintings are abstracted improvisations on the two themes that most inspire me, the human body in motion and the spirit of place.
I try to evoke and capture the essence of these but the paintings are also adventures into unknown territories and I hope to create something unpredictable, beyond the subject. I like the work to evolve its own life and meaning, the main aim being to uncover ever deeper inherent structures, forms and emotions in the idea and by using the language of paint on canvas in a very spontaneous way, reveal unconscious worlds and possibilities.
My work has its roots in sculpture, which I originally studied. I apply the paint in a layered, almost carved way which then creates its own unique forms. The other primary technique I use is drawing, particularly in the Dance pieces, where fluid lines are used to delineate multiple movements. That approach combined with my other strand of more abstract painting and along with the colour ideas which it generated, gradually became fused into my current figurative style. The recent large scale, bolder, Dance work was then made possible by a move to my current London studio.
I now continue to work on these strands of painting and sculpture simultaneously as I find they inform each other and grow together.
Recent Show “Made Visible”
Made Visible New Paintings by David Cottingham: D Contemporary Gallery Mayfair, November 2017, Curated by Vanessa Clark of VCArt
“Dancing is Music Made Visible” George Balanchine
The paintings created for this show have a very particular history. My previous Dance-based work has been either on large wall length canvasses or much smaller drawings and mixed media works on paper.
When Vanessa and I were planning the work for these walls, we were determined to present the scope of the larger pieces at a smaller scale, but one that still captured the intensity and freedom of the larger life-size paintings.
To do this I returned in part to oil painting, which offered new possibilities both in fluidity of brush work and also, more importantly, the use of richer colour to denote space and volume. This gave a breakthrough for me to use my linear drawing style to express the movements and at the same time to use colour to overlay or obscure the ambiguous background areas.
I was born and raised near the Ashdown Forest in Sussex.My artwork has been influenced by that particular light and landscape and also later the Kent coast near Margate.
At school I studied art history in depth, copying from Raphael, Turner, Degas, Rodin, Matisse and Picasso, then when I was old enough I attended Life Classes at the local Art School.
After studying Sculpture at St Martins School of Art, where I had been making welded metal dance-like structures, I returned to working with the figure more directly, particularly Drawing.
In time, my love of both music and dance pointed my art in a new direction, towards creating paintings with professional dancers in an improvisational style. After experimenting with different techniques I eventually adopted a linear rhythmic and collaborative approach.
That approach combined with my other strand of more abstract painting, along with the colour ideas which it generated, gradually became fused into my current figurative style. The recent large scale, bolder, Dance work was then made possible by a move to my current London studio.
I now continue to work on both these strands of painting simultaneously as I find they inform each other and grow together.
I have also worked with photography and design professionally and this informs the way I use images to underpin the creative process.
“Hallelujah” Dance Drawing inspired by the Leonard Cohen Song