Drawing Biennial 2015

Exhibition: 5 March – 30 April · Auction: 16 April 10am – 30 April 9pm


Bidding has now ended for Drawing Biennial 2015. Click here to see if you have any winning bids.

David Austen

Balancing Act

Year 2015
Medium Colouring pencil on paper
Dimensions 29.6 x 21.1 cm
Bidding Open Thu 16 April, 2015 at 10:00am
Bidding Ended Tue 26 March, 2019 at 9:30pm

David Austen:

Born 1960 Harlow, David Austen lives and works in London. Graduated from the Royal College of Art (1985).

Austen's work explores love and yearning, loss and grief, memory and dream, and the unreliability of these things. He makes his work with exactitude and attention; it's what the world deserves.

His work is held in public and private collections including Tate, British Council, Arts Council England and the UK Government Art Collection.

Selected solo exhibitions include The Last Great Trapeze Artist, TOTAH, New York (2021); Underworld, DCA, Dundee (2019); The Drowned, Matt's Gallery, London (2018); The stars above the ocean... the ocean beneath the stars, TOTAH, New York (2018); Black Heart, Museo d'Arte Contemporanea di Cogliandrino, Basilicata (2015); Papillon, Anthony Reynolds Gallery, London (2011); End of Love, Modern Art Oxford (2010); End of Love, Stanley Picker Gallery, Kingston University, Kingston-upon-Thames (2009); and My love, I have been digging up my own bones in the garden again, Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh (2009). Selected group exhibitions include Everything Else is Everything Else, an exhibition of Jack Kirkland’s collection curated by Abraham Cruzvillegas, MK Gallery, Milton Keynes (2021); The Shadow, TOTAH, New York (2020); The Aerodrome. An exhibition dedicated to the memory of Michael Stanley, curated by Jonathan Watkins, George Shaw and David Austen, IKON Gallery, Birmingham (2019); NEUE HORIZONTE 2030, GEIST, Berlin (2019); These Rotten Words, Chapter, Cardiff (2017); Cosmic Connections, TOTAH, New York (2016); The Nakeds, Drawing Room, London (2014); Slow Learner, Timothy Taylor Gallery, London (2014); Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing?, New Art Centre, Salisbury (2013); Language Games. An Introduction to The Art of Our Times, Fundación Helga de Alvear, Cáceres (2013); With An Apple I Will Astonish, Large Glass, London (2012); Artists for Kettle’s Yard, Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge (2011); and Watercolour, Tate Britain, London (2011).  

See David Austen's profile in our Directory

" I am known for the multifaceted nature of my work. It ranges from abstraction to figurative and incorporates painting, photography, film, hanging sculpture, watercolour and gouache. Each medium has its own peculiar logic and makes me behave in a certain way in its making. Making drawings with colouring pencils brings out my obsessive side. I like, in fact I have to, fill in the entire page with
coloured pencil marks until completely covered. This drawing is called Balancing Act. In it we see a naked woman with arms and legs outstretched standing on the feet of an upside down similarly exposed man. We don’t see the top of her head and his head and arms but presume he is doing a handstand; this also lends the feeling that life goes on outside the page. They are surrounded by black, a dark nocturnal world. I collect circus photographs of high wire acrobats and trapeze artists from the thirties and forties. I find these images of trust and gravity very moving; the spot lit figures against the blackness of the canvas roof often find their way into my thoughts and drawings. I was also reading at this time, Nightmare Alley, a delicious ‘Carny’ novel written in 1946 by
William Lindsay Gresham about a trickster couple on the make." 
David Austen, April 2015