David Thorpe

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David Thorpe
Kings of The Night, 1998
Paper Collage
149 x 168cm

David Thorpe’s work is concerned with the relationship between objects and their makers, with a particular interest in the role of craft and labour in handmade design and art. “I’m playing with certain associations,” he has said, “slightly New Age, slightly Space Age, slightly threatening…I’m absolutely in love with people who build up their own systems of belief.” This idea is reflected in works that variously reference modernist principles of object-making, utopian social architecture, Japanese woodblock prints, and Victorian paper-cutting.

David Thorpe
Endeavours, 2010
Wood, ceramic tiles, steel
309.2 x 262.3 x 120 cm

In the past Thorpe has made elaborate collaged paintings, but his more recent work explores the actualisation of pattern through unusual three-dimensional renderings that highlight the tension between exquisite decorativeness and the aura of DIY home-craft manuals.

David Thorpe
Private Lives, 2010
Plaster, leather, light system, wood stand
107.3 x 106 x 106 cm, Wood stand: 70.5 x 93.3 x 93.3 cm

The works shown here all make reference to an interconnectedness between ideology and lifestyle. I Am Golden (2003) is a miniature temple-like structure that also doubles as a plant stand. Endeavours and Private Lives (both 2010) allude to the aesthetics and theories of the Arts and Crafts Movement of the late 19th century and the democratising art ideals of William Morris and John Ruskin. Thorpe’s large pattern-covered objects have been executed with the collaborative assistance of skilled artisans trained in recreating labour-intensive medieval recipes for making paint and ceramic moulds.

David Thorpe
We Never Sleep, 1998
Paper Collage
90 x 176cm

The mesmerising repeated motifs of Endeavours are inspired by William Morris’s elaborate title page for John Ruskin’s famous essay ‘Nature of Gothic’, which defines the artist as ‘a Naturalist’ who seeks true beauty by illustrating nature and the human being ‘in its wholeness’.

David Thorpe
Covenant of the Elect, 2002
Mixed Media Collag
63 x 111 cm

Labour in and of itself stands as the central, distilled idea behind Thorpe’s object, whose functionality is deliberately unclear. Private Lives, a plaster form resting on wooden legs, is similarly adorned with stylised leaves and vines made of carefully cut leather. Emanating from it is a light that imbues the sculpture with an almost devotional symbolic charge of self-sufficiency.

David Thorpe
Do What You Have To Do, 1998
Paper Cut-Out
142 x 170cm

David Thorpe
Forever, 1998
Paper Collage
136 x 144.5 cm

David Thorpe
The Quiet Voice, 2004
Mixed Media Collage
42 x 52cm

David Thorpe
Fragile Resistance, 2004
Plaster and Leather
59 x 15cm

David Thorpe
I Am Golden, 2002
Mixed Media Installation
Dimensions Variable


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